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The de Blasio administration has tapped Brooklyn Navy Yard Board Chairman and de Blasio donor Henry Gutman to lead the Department of Transportation, following former Commissioner Polly Trottenberg’s departure final year to be part of the Biden administration.
Gutman, a lawyer who additionally sits on the board of Brooklyn Bridge Park, will head the division for the ultimate 11 months of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s time period, throughout which he stated he’s dedicated to putting in 10,000 new bike parking racks throughout the town, and staying dedicated to its open-streets program.
“The mayor and I believe if you give people more and better alternatives to car culture they will use them,” Gutman stated. “Safe and equitable bike parking is a major part of that equation.”
A current Transportation Alternatives report discovered the town has failed spectacularly in maintaining with the demand in bike parking as biking has skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. The aim of 10,000 new racks is way extra formidable than the town’s earlier aim in fiscal year 2020 of simply 1,500 bike racks, which they failed to meet even half of, putting in only 642 racks.
Gutman, apart from serving on the mayor’s panel to deal with the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, doesn’t have any expertise as a transportation planner however has been a donor in native political races for many years, donating $18,375 to de Blasio’s campaigns by way of the years in accordance to marketing campaign finance disclosures.
Gutman will take the reins from appearing DOT commissioner Marget Forgione, a veteran of the division who will keep on as first deputy commissioner. When requested why Forgione was not elevated to lead the division, de Blasio stated Forgione “did not desire” the position of commissioner.
When requested why he appointed a non-transportation skilled to run the division, the mayor defended Gutman’s report.
“I’ve seen him deal with very thorny situations and really tough community dynamics and find common ground and move an agenda forward, but always with a sharp equity lens,” the mayor stated. “When I have someone who I know, I trust, I’ve seen in action, that’s the kind of leader I can depend on to make things happen.”
City transportation gurus referred to as Gutman a robust alternative to lead the division however stated he should aggressively commit to increasing the town’s bike and bus lane networks.
“The next DOT Commissioner must embrace, without reservation, that people and public transit are more important than cars and parking,” stated Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. “This means building more protected bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and open space for community use.”
The de Blasio administration is scrambling to cement the mayor’s imaginative and prescient zero legacy throughout his final year in office. The mayor’s aim of bringing site visitors deaths down to zero has stalled in recent times as highway deaths have climbed, with 243 people killed on New York City streets in 2020, marking the deadliest year for the reason that mayor introduced his signature avenue security plan in 2014.
Street security advocates expressed hope that Gutman would give you the option to convey this system again on observe.
“Commissioner Gutman is an experienced leader who can get Vision Zero back on track,” stated Amy Cohen, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets. “This must include restoring funding for the program, along with funding for the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program and the Streets Master Plan.”