She's done a hell of a job, and will be a tough act to follow. While it was hard to imagine we could do better, today Bill deBlasio announced her successor, Polly Trottenberg, and early reviews are promising:There are few legacies of the Bloomberg years as indelible as the reimagined streets — the sprawling plazas and painted roadbed instructions at turns celebrated as symbols of smart urban transformation and maligned as emblems of a mayor who meddled too much.Yet time and again, it was Ms. Sadik-Khan who won Mr. Bloomberg’s ear, or at least his tacit approval.She has become an international star, drawing adoring crowds for speeches in Sydney and São Paulo, though some of her projects, and at times her confrontational style, placed her at odds with top aides at City Hall.
I had an uphill battle convincing a number of my fellow transportation advocates to support Bill deBlasio over the last year - I am hopeful that this pick and the work ahead will demonstrate that this administration has its transportation priorities in order. I believe it will.At the Obama DOT, she’s been an architect of TIGER, the grant program that’s helped fill funding gaps for many multi-modal projects. She was also a proponent of giving official recognition to the progressive street design guidelines produced by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, which until recently was led by outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.Trottenberg’s policy credentials are top-notch, and advocates including Transportation Alternatives and the Straphangers Campaign greeted news of her appointment enthusiastically. The big question is how her deep experience at the federal level will translate to the rough and tumble of redesigning NYC streets.