Saturday, January 26, 2013

Janette Sadik-Khan for Secretary of Transportation

UPDATE 1/30/ posted a video about the remarkable transformation of streets in New York City.  Here it is....

The key, as stated in the video, is to establish infrastructure for all ages and abilities.

 Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner, was instrumental in developing much of the impressive biking infrastructure seen in the video above.  A number of  commentators consider her a candidate to succeed Ray LaHood, who yesterday announced his resignation as United States Secretary of Transportation.  She has enormous popularity among cycling advocates, who strongly favor her for Secretary of Transportation over other candidates.  Given criticism of President Obama for the lack of women in his second term cabinet, Sadik-Khan should make the President's short-list.  Her accomplishments in New York are truly extraordinary.

As Sadik-Khan opined last week in Bloomberg's Businessweek, "In this day and age, companies can move anywhere. Creating a city that people want to be in and grow in and start businesses in, that’s what you need to be a success in the 21st century."

In another interview, in the magazine Grist, she said:
"It was an idea that people found counterintuitive, that we would take Broadway out of the system and pedestrianize it, and make traffic work better, make it safer, and make it [good for] business. And in fact, that’s what happened.  By closing Broadway between 42nd and 47th Street, we improved the travel time on 7th Avenue. [There's been a] 63 percent reduction in pedestrian injuries.  On the business side, retail rents in the pedestrian area in Times Square went up 71 percent in the last six months, which is the largest increase in the city’s history. You’re seeing five new flagship stores that just said they were going to relocate there."

She added:
"[Y]ou don’t have to have a big budget to have a big impact. We’ve done a lot of transportation on our streets with low cost treatments. Painting curbs, painting green plazas, planters, repurposed blocks from bridge reconstruction projects. You can do a lot to transform a street without a big capital budget. People are also tired of waiting years and years to see changes."
Sadik-Khan has a proven track-record of cutting through bureaucracy, improving traffic flow, improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, and enhancing economic development.  This is one candidate I'd like to see get the Secretary of Transportation job.  I sincerely hope that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has President Obama's ear, would not attempt to block such a nomination behind the scenes, even though his wife opposed the wonderful Prospect Park protected bike lane.  After all, Senator Schumer himself enjoys using Sadik-Khan's protected bike lane, too.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York.  (Photo credit: New York City Department of Transportation)