Leaving NYC's DOT, With Safer Streets as Her Legacy

Janette Sadik-Khan has served as NYC's transformative transportation commissioner for the past six years. With the Bloomberg administration coming to an end, Future Cities spoke with Sadik-Khan about her legacy, the city she leaves behind, and what she hopes to see the next administration focus on as she and Bloomberg leave their posts.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 06:00 EST | 8
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Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/2/2014 12:49:03 PM
User Rank Staff
JSK's successor
Just to update you all here, the NYC DOT has itself a new transportation commissioner -- her name is Polly Trottenberg, and she hails from the US DOT. It seems she is an advocate for multi-modal transportation and for keeping streets safe for all. Below is a statement from Ms. Trottenberg about her appointment:

One life lost on our streets is too many. We are committed to the maxim that safety— for everyone who uses the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists —is our top priority... From improving our roads, bridges and waterways to better serve our citizens and businesses, to connecting New Yorkers to jobs and opportunities through improved high-speed bus service, to expanding biking across the five boroughs, we can have a transportation system that is safe, efficient and accessible to all.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/30/2013 11:26:29 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Technology Legacy
@piratejulie, I agree with you there, yet it's hard to remember a time before we had those -- they make so much sense and truly make crossing the street safer for all.

12/27/2013 7:01:01 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Technology Legacy
Pedestrian count-down clocks are one of my favorite examples of how technology has made New York City streets safer.

12/27/2013 1:08:00 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Thanks for this tribute
To say that she has done a lot and pushed for a wave of changes is an understatement. Even though she's moved on from this chapter, I do hope she'll continue to inspire change wherever she's headed.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/26/2013 1:50:41 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Thanks for this tribute
I'm definitely sad to see her step down as well, Mary, but I am grateful to see that she and Bloomberg will continue to work together. The consultancy will be based in NYC, so I do hope you're right and that she will continue to influence this city. Bill de Blasio was quoted a while back as calling her a "radical" but I think his stance has softened since then and I hope he will call on her for guidance and input. We shall see!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/26/2013 1:43:39 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Certainly left behind a legacy
I fully agree that she has done a fantastic job and has left the mark of her hard work and leadership all over this city. I am concerned about the fate of the plaza in Times Square since de Blasio hasn't fully committed to keeping it yet... meanwhile, the DOT hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony there the other day, and it's been nothing but a success, so I truly hope the new administration does not reverse course there.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/24/2013 10:25:19 AM
User Rank Staff
Thanks for this tribute
It's sad to see Janette Sadik-Khan leave office, and I am so grateful to see this great video that discusses her legacy. She's just too young and full of energy to stop contributing in this area, and hopefully her work will continue as part of Michael Bloomberg's new urban consultancy.

Plus, assuming she lives and works in NYC, she's no doubt going to continue to influence former colleagues and others in the field, no matter who's in charge.

12/24/2013 8:56:11 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Certainly left behind a legacy
I have to say that in my view she has done a tremendous job. The city certainly has safer streets and the pedestrian-realm has been either been improved or implemented where it had not been before. She was very creative and innovative - one example being the closing of Broadway at certain cross-sections such as Herald Square or Times Square and turning the space into a pedestrian plaza with movable furniture. The way she accomplished this, which was technically "illegal" by federal and state transportation mandates, was by calling them temporary studies, finding a loophole in that it was just a "pilot" project. Still, the plazas to my knowledge are not legal and permanent, though with their success a policy change is likely forthcoming. 

Hopefully her successes in creating a multi-modal, inclusive transportation network are built upon.

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