New commish named for Chicago DOT

Mayor Emanuel has selected CTA Senior Vice President Rebekah Scheinfeld to be the next Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Scheinfeld led the planning work at CTA, including major projects like the Red Line reconstruction and new Bus Rapid Transit lines planned for the Loop and Ashland Avenue. She also has law and MBA degrees.

Scheinfeld's transit experience should help bridge gaps that sometimes exist between CDOT and transit agencies, and she will be well-positioned to help complete a new rapid transit line on Ashland -- a top priority for Active Trans.

Her credentials are very solid for this job, and her professionalism and smarts tell me she can move up the biking and walking learning curves fairly quickly.

Scheinfeld is replacing Gabe Klein, who oversaw many exciting developments for transportation in Chicago. It's unfortunate that Scott Kubly, a key deputy to Gabe Klein, also left CDOT. He and Klein were change agents who deployed savviness, persuasiveness, determination and thick skin to reboot the city's perspective on transportation. Fortunately, Deputy LuAnn Hamilton is still on board, and she brings a strong appreciation for all transport modes, and she knows the ins and outs of CDOT better than anyone.

The biggest challenge for Scheinfeld is sustaining the arc of change at CDOT. There is broad support for mayoral goals like 100 miles of protected bike lanes, expanding rapid transit and calming streets to make them safer.

But will she stand firm when the vocal minority tries to stop progress, as we've seen recently with the Ashland rapid transit line? I'm optimistic she will, and Active Trans will help her solidify a new normal with Compete Streets that are safer and move people efficiently across all modes.

Photo of Scheinfeld courtesy of Ryan Griffin-Stegink, MPC

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