Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to move away from the Washington area, but some people do, and that’s forcing us to lose some great people, including WMATA head planner Nat Bottigheimer and DC Council transportation committee head Jeremy Faust. Aaron Overman is also leaving DDOT’s transit group.

Bottigheimer, the Assistant General Manager for Planning and Joint Development, is moving to New Jersey because his wife has gotten an academic appointment in astrophysics at Princeton. Unfortunately, that university is somewhat higher in the pecking order than the University of Maryland, where she teaches now.

He and his team have done a lot of good at WMATA, including leading the long-term transit planning study currently underway. His division is in charge of bicycle and car parking, and spearheaded the new College Park bike garage.

Bottigheimer and former real estate head Steven Goldin advanced many significant projects for transit-oriented development on WMATA property, including at U Street and an agreement with GSA to develop around many suburban Metro stations, especially in Prince George’s.

While there have been many frustrating developments from the operations side, the work we’ve seen from planning has been almost universally terrific. Of course, many top-notch planners remain in the group, so we can expect much good work yet to come.

In a memo, CEO Richard Sarles announced the change. Also, Chief of Staff Shiva Pant is retiring, and current customer service head Barbara Richardson will take over. She will oversee a number of functions at WMATA including planning, while parking and real estate development will be under CFO Carol Kissal. Lyn Bowersox, head of PR, will take over Richardson’s job as Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications and Marketing.

Bottigheimer will continue to advise WMATA on the transit plan and real estate issues through the fall as well.

Jeremy Faust, who runs the DC Council’s Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation for Councilmember Mary Cheh, is leaving to move to Cincinnati. Jeremy became an expert on transportation policy very quickly once his boss took over the committee, and before that did great work on streamlining the government when running the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment.

Fortunately, Cheh recently also hired Will Handsfield, who as a Capital City Fellow helped roll out Capital Bikeshare, among many other things. Cheh will continue to get very good advice on transportation policy.

Finally, Aaron Overman is leaving DDOT’s transit group and will start working for Cambridge Systematics, where he will manage planning projects in the Washington region and around the United States. Overman helped push for better bus service and for a successful streetcar program at DDOT, and sadly losing him will force DDOT to find another person of high caliber to help keep its transit operations moving forward smoothly.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.