New SDOT Director Meets the Press
New SDOT director nominee Scott Kubly faces the press at his first public appearance this morning.
As we were the first to report yesterday, former Chicago and Washington, D.C. deputy transportation director Scott Kubly has been tapped by Mayor Ed Murray to run the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Kubly, a protegé of Chicago and Washington, D.C. transportation department director Gabe Klein, is, Murray said at a press briefing today, "a visionary who I think will give this city the transportation leadership that it needs ... [and] a Renaissance man when it comes to transportation."
Kubly left the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in December 2013 shortly after Klein resigned as transportation commissioner. According to Streetsblog, Kubly was "central in implementing many of Klein’s progressive transportation initiatives, such as installing 50 miles of buffered and protected bike lanes, installing speed cameras, creating a new bike-share system, and activating underused plazas around the city."
During the interview process, TCC directer Johnson was impressed by Kubly's idea to create an all-purpose ORCA card that would work not just for Link light rail and buses, but for ridesharing companies like Uber and bikesharing services like Puget Sound Bike Share.
Rob Johnson, head of the transit advocacy group Transportation Choices Coalition and a member of the selection committee that picked Kubly, (that's him in the blue shirt in the back row on the right side of the photo above) tells PubliCola he was impressed by Kubly's idea during the selection interview process to create a sort of all-purpose ORCA card that would work not just for Link light rail and buses, but for ridesharing companies like Uber and bikesharing services like Puget Sound Bike Share.
"He has a really good civic resumé, and seems really into innovation," Johnson says.
After a similarly enthusiastic endorsement from city council transportation chair Tom Rasmussen (the council will have to approve Kubly's appointment), Kubly himself said, "preserving the great quality of life [in Seattle] means that we need a transportation system that can meet that demand [by including] bike share, streetcar, bike lanes, and light rail."
When PubliCola asked about the stalled tunnel project (WSDOT estimates that tunneling work might get back underway next March), Kubly said, "It's an incredibly important project, and I look forward to working with [WSDOT] Secretary [Lynn] Peterson and the state to make sure we can have a successful project" despite the recent challenges.
And he said that attacking snow, if it hits, is among his top priorities. (Former mayor Greg Nickels was ousted, in large part, because of his failure to respond quickly enough to a major snowstorm in 2009.) "It's early July now," he said, but "when I was approached about this job, the first thing out of my mouth was, 'What will we do about snow?'"