Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gabe Klein Resigning as Chicago Transportation Commissioner at End of November

Gabe Klein, Chicago Transportation Commissioner
and South Loop resident (via Chicago Tribune)
From the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, best known for bringing bicycle-sharing and speed-enforcement cameras to the city and promoting alternative transit over vehicle travel, is resigning, effective at the end of the month, Klein told the Tribune on Friday.
Klein, 42, said he will return to the private sector, which was part of his original plan when Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed him to head the Chicago Department of Transportation in May 2011.

In our opinion Mr. Klein has done some great things for the city and really brought a fresh, progressive view to transportation.  While his legacy won't truly be known for sometime, many are praising the work he's done in the short period he's been around (from
In only two-and-a-half years, the commissioner racked up an impressive number of achievements. Rahm Emanuel’s goals of launching a large-scale bike-share system, constructing the Bloomingdale Trail and building 100 miles of protected bike lanes within his first term seemed far-fetched when first announced, but Klein accomplished the first one, and the other two are well underway. 
Bus rapid transit and the Chicago Riverwalk expansion are also on the horizon, and Klein will leave behind a legacy of many less glamorous accomplishments, from publishing new CDOT guidelines on multi-modalism and sustainability, to launching automated speed cameras. I contacted a number of heavy hitters in the local transportation scene to get their take on the commissioner’s departure.

Pretty impressive list if you ask us.

From a more local standpoint, Mr. Klein was a resident of the South Loop while living in Chicago.  I had the pleasure of anonymously running into him a couple times and even once at the Divvy station at 14th and Michigan.

I was standing at the docking station checking my phone and he rode up on a Divvy bike.  He immediately came over and asked if everything was ok.  Slightly surprised, I said "yeah, I'm just checking my phone".

I know this isn't a super interesting story (cue Hansel -  Zoolander quote), but in my mind it showcased his dedication to the program and willingness to ensure things were going as good as possible.

Proposed Roosevelt Road Streetscape Improvements
Beyond him being a South Loop resident, we would like to think that our neighborhood received preferential treatment for some of these newer, progressive projects.  While we don't have any hard data to support this theory, the South Loop has received some solid improvements - especially in the biking department (see Divvy stations, Dearborn protected bike lane, 18th protected bike lane, Wabash bike lane to name a few).

The other potential improvement could be Chicago's first raised bike lane on Roosevelt Road (among other improvement to the Roosevelt streetscape).

Anyway, job well done Gabe and hope you like the Sloop!

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