Cool Job Alert: DOT Seeks Cannon Fodder for ‘Green Wave’

The department is hiring biking evangelists (um, community coordinators) and traffic engineers in its drive to extend the secure bike network. Got the skills and moxie?

Ready to make this your life? Photo: David Meyer
Ready to make this your life? Photo: David Meyer

Do you love safe streets? Like, really love them? Love them so much that you’re willing to represent the city at community board meetings and present the truth about vital life-saving street redesigns only to be asked if the city could just redesign all the roadways so there’s more room for SUVs?

If you’re still saying “yes,” then we have good news: the Department of Transportation has put out the Help Wanted sign for “planners, coordinators and outreach experts” in every borough to bring the Green Wave off of the page and onto the street.

The agency tweeted the want ad on Friday:

All “borough planners” (Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn) plus a community coordinator (the Bronx) will work with the respective borough commissioners to do community outreach for the de Blasio administration’s efforts to build a fully connected protected bike-lane network. The jobs involve being the “liaison between the Borough Commissioner, DOT’s planning, and community boards” and “will represent the agency at public meetings, Town Halls, and Task Force initiatives to discuss and report on traffic and transportation issues.”

You better believe that involves going to meetings where you’re going to be yelled at for destroying the “fabric” of a neighborhood, and by “fabric,” many community board members mean “unfettered access to every inch of public space by cars.”

Seriously, last year during the debate over a protected bike lane in Queens, Gary O’Neill, who owns the Aubergine Cafe, said that the city had destroyed “his little slice of heaven” by painting a green stripe against the curb, installing pedestrian refuges at all the corners and … not reducing an inch for drivers to get from place to place.

So, obviously, it’s going to take a bit of mental toughness to do the job, because don’t forget when you come meet the community, you also have to deal with questions from, well, the press, too (and most of the New York press corps isn’t as willing to listen to the case for livable streets as Streetsblog is). Still, for anywhere between $52,524 and $81,535 per year, it’s not a bad living if you believe in using the democratic process to make the streets safer for your fellow New Yorkers.

DOT also is hiring “traffic analysts” to extend the protected bike network physically; those jobs have civil-engineering requirements and pay much more than the borough-coordinator titles (for example, $ 72,476 to $106,222, per one job description); the department is offering a total of 14 “Green Wave” jobs this season, with more to follow, it told Streetsblog. (Hurry! The engineering-job postings end Oct. 15.) One can find the postings at the NYC Jobs portal.

So who will get this job? Let former DOT Director of Policy Jon Orcutt explain the basic skill set:

“You need to be an organizer, a politician and a street reformer — all rolled into one,” he said. “The ideal person relates to people well, but in these settings can say, ‘This is the city’s policy. We’re doing protected bike lanes and we want to hear from you’ but not make it seem like you’re steamrolling local opinion. It’s easier said than done.”

You’ll need to be able to work in public and behind the scenes well, Orcutt added, although the jobs will be slightly easier as long as officials, such as DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, keep talking about why the Green Wave and a network of protected bike lanes are so necessary.

Still, Orcutt warned, “You have to have some kind of ability to take getting yelled at, because you will get yelled at.”

Combat pay not included.


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