Several newspaper bloggers released roundups of the year’s biggest transportation stories (like the Post’s Get There and the Transportation Examiner). One of the potentially biggest stories on neither list was the resignation of DDOT Director Emeka Moneme. A new Director could significantly swing our transportation policy for better or worse. And in the waning hours of this year, Loose Lips’ Mike DeBonis discovered that we finally have a nominee: Gabe Klein.
[Klein’s] biggest job in transportation is his four years on the job as regional vice president of Zipcar. That’s certainly a business that’s taken a progressive view of urban transportation and has more likely than not contributed to the removal of personal cars from city streets ...
Since he left Zipcar, he’s headed up On the Fly, the vending and mobile catering business that’s helped end the street-vending monopoly held by the half-smoke crowd.
DeBonis also notices what could be the best part of all: Klein signed our petition calling for a visionary leader for DDOT in the mold of Janette Sadik-Khan, Harriet Tregoning, or Michelle Rhee. Klein wrote,
I agree, love Michelle Rhee, Harriet Tregoning, and of course Dan Tangherlini. Lets bring someone of that caliber in to take over DDOT, a hugely important position in Washington. For instance, without Dan Tangherlini’s vision, carsharing would not be what it is in Washington (one of the top carsharing cities in the U.S.)
Sounds like something a former Zipcar Regional VP might say.
As the months stretched on without a DDOT nominee, visionary or no, I’d started to fear we’d end up with a move-the-cars operations focused administrator uninterested in reforming DDOT’s multiple-personality policies. I don’t know Klein’s opinions on most issues, and as DeBonis points out, he’s probably a Fenty loyalist above all. His background is more business than transportation planning or engineering, though that could be just what DDOT needs to develop clear processes and improve their poor customer service.
The bottom line: having a DDOT Director from the carsharing world, and who signed our petition, could potentially be the best news all year.