Esquire Best & the Brightest: NYC DOT's Janette Sadik-Khan

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AGarcia's picture
Active member
Joined: Nov 4 2010

Recommended Read: Among the 2010 Best and the Brightest acclaimed by Esquire magazine: New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan


"...When overnight she shut down an entire turning lane on a busy avenue in Brooklyn so that pedestrians could cross the street in peace, the community thought she was a saint. But later, when she didn't so much as reply to a letter from Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz asking her to reconsider the addition of a bike lane that could slow traffic considerably, a lot of Brooklyn wanted to lock up her paint cans. But she didn't have to answer to him. She had the power to do just as she pleased.

The bike lane was painted in.

"She has this remarkable speed," says Sam Schwartz, who was the traffic commissioner from 1982 to 1986 and is now a consultant and transit columnist. "A speed the likes of which is unmatched." He readily acknowledges that Sadik-Khan has done more in the past few years than anyone did in the past fifty.

"She's preparing us for a future that will have fewer cars," says Schwartz."

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MSilver's picture
Joined: Nov 4 2010
" 'She has this remarkable speed,' says Sam Schwartz..."

It's easy for the Congestion Commissioner to make changes quickly when she doesn't need approval from any community boards or elected officials, but only from one person, her boss, the dictator of New York City.

RRosenthal's picture
Active member
Joined: Nov 4 2010
100+ Ride Leader
What I want NYCCers to know about Ms. Sadik-Khan

Thank you, Alfredo, for posting this. But for you, I would have missed this.

What I want club members to know about Commissioner Sadik-Khan is she IS accessible and responsive.

For example, two or three years ago, I called her office, spoke of the uplifts, depressions, cracks, and crevices in 177th St. between Ft. Washington and Cabrini, where we approach the bridge. The office sent someone to look at what I described. Before too long I was called back by the head of street paving for Manhattan who said that street would be re-paved...and it was.

I called her office to inform them of a large steel plate in Madison that was covering a massive construction hole which had become displaced, leaving a gaping maw that would all too easily swallow a bicycle wheel especially unseen in the dark. It was promptly replaced.

I procrastinated bringing the dreadful 142nd St. and Riverside intersection to the attention of the commissioner's office but did so a few weeks ago in conjunction with my asking her for a note of greeting from her I might read to the marathon bicycle escorts for wheelchair racers. She not only sent such a greeting, but I was told that intersection would be examined and repaired if found to be as I described it.

My sole point here is this: I hold no portfolio, special or otherwise, that gains me access to her; all I have is the interest in and commitment to improving circumstances for cyclists in the city. And, as it turns out that is enough to get me--and, more importantly, YOU--a hearing. You, yes, YOU, can single-handedly bring about change, if you want. You should want.

And that's my lesson for the day.

cycling trips