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Polly Trottenberg Announces Departure from De Blasio Administration

November 23, 2020

Longest-serving Transportation Commissioner in New York City history led DOT through major transformations around safety, equity, accessibility, and expanded cycling & bus access

NEW YORK—Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg today announced her resignation from the de Blasio administration, effective in early December. Trottenberg has served as DOT Commissioner since January 2014, making her the longest-serving commissioner in the agency’s history and one of the longest-serving commissioners in the de Blasio administration. Trottenberg has been a nation-leading advocate for street safety and accessibility, and she has led unprecedented efforts to expand New York City’s streets for more sustainable modes like cycling and buses, with a focus on underserved communities.

“We all owe Polly Trottenberg a debt of gratitude for her incredible service to New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “She is a tireless and talented public servant who has made our city safer, fairer, and more accessible. I’m proud to have worked so closely with her, and I wish her all the best in whatever comes next.”

“I will always be grateful to Mayor de Blasio for the incredible opportunity to serve the city I love so much, and especially for the chance to lead the 5,800 dedicated public servants at DOT,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “I have been honored to work with them and see the passion, creativity and dedication they bring every day to serving New Yorkers, especially during the pandemic of the last eight months.  For now, I just say thank you, one and all.”

While Trottenberg has not announced new employment, she had been asked earlier this month to volunteer on the Biden-Harris transition team, advising around transportation issues.

Trottenberg spearheaded the de Blasio administration’s efforts around a range of transportation issues, including:

Pandemic Response

  • DOT has served among the City’s lead agencies addressing the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. New York City’s urban landscape has been dramatically transformed through major DOT initiatives, like Open Streets, Open Restaurants, Outdoor Learning and Open Storefronts. The Open Restaurants Program, with over 10,700 participating restaurants, is among the largest in the world.

Expansion of Cycling

  • Under the de Blasio administration, DOT has grown the city’s on-street protected bike lane network from 36 miles to over 120 miles, with a commitment to more under the Green Wave plan, creating key commuting connections and extending further into traditionally underserved communities. In recent years, one of every five protected bike lane miles in the country have been built in New York City, and cycling’s popularity has continued to grow rapidly.
  • Under Trottenberg’s leadership, Citi Bike is now one of the largest and most successful bike share programs in the world. Citi Bike is on a path to double its service area – including bringing docks to the Bronx for the first time – and triple its number of bikes to over 40,000 by 2023.

Better Buses and Mass Transit

  • As part of its Better Buses plan, the administration worked closely with MTA New York City Transit, committing to expanded access to buses, including an additional 64 more miles of dedicated bus lanes around the City since 2014, for a total of nearly 138 miles. The 14th Street Busway, begun in 2019 and made permanent this year, has received international attention for increasing ridership and decreasing travel times. This year, DOT has created a record number of bus-priority projects, including along Jay Street in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, and East 149th Street and E.L. Grant Highway in the Bronx.
  • Trottenberg served for five years as a Mayoral appointee on the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where she served as a voice for New York’s subway and bus riders and advocated for greater system accessibility.

Street Safety and Pedestrianization

  • Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, New York City was the first American city to adopt Vision Zero. DOT has served as the lead agency since 2014 for a multi-agency effort to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities through enforcement, engineering and education. Traffic fatalities in New York City have been recorded since 1910 — and six of the city’s seven safest years have happened since 2014.
  • As part of Vision Zero, Trottenberg was instrumental in successfully advocating for the State legislation that allowed the City to lower its default speed limit to 25 MPH and expand its speed-camera program to 750 zones and 2,000 cameras, making it the largest such program in the world.
  • Since 2014, New York City has undertaken over 700 street-improvement projects, making streets safer for all users. DOT has continued adding car-free pedestrian plazas citywide, over 70 plazas now covering over 20 acres of former street space.

Technology and Micromobility

  • In 2018, DOT instituted a major change that allowed parking payments for all 80,000 metered spots citywide to be made by cell phone via the ParkNYC or ParkMobile apps.
  • DOT has piloted or is currently piloting a range of other innovative and shared micro-mobility transportation options, including: electric-powered cargo bike delivery on city streets; dockless bike share pilots in neighborhoods outside of Citi Bike’s service area, including on Staten Island; beginning the first-ever on-street car share, which allowed spaces on streets and in municipal lots, relieving the need for City residents to own their own cars; electric scooter share, for which an RFEI was recently released; and a new connected vehicle pilot that will enhance safety by using technology to avert crashes.

Repaving, Signals, Bridges and Ferries

  • Since 2014, DOT has repaved and striped streets at an unprecedented pace, making them safer for motorists and cyclists. Nearly half of the 19,000 lane-miles of streets around the five boroughs have been completely repaved by DOT under the de Blasio administration.
  • Since 2014, New York City dramatically expanded traffic signals as a tool for safer and more efficient streets, through the use of: leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), which serve as head starts to protect pedestrians from turning vehicles; signal progression, where street signals are retimed to keep traffic moving at safer speeds, including 15 MPH “green wave” timing to favor cyclists on certain corridors; and transit-signal priority (TSP), which speeds MTA buses, as they communicate with DOT signals, holding green lights longer and changing red lights sooner.
  • DOT has continued to maintain and keep its 794 bridges in good working order while also constructing completely new bridges, including to City Island and along the Belt Parkway.
  • The Staten Island Ferry has maintained its strong safety and on-time record and pre-COVID-19 had reached record daily ridership of 70,000. The ferry has continued to serve Staten Islanders 24/7 during the pandemic, prioritizing the safety of passengers and the workforce with rigorous mask and social distancing standards. During the de Blasio administration, three new ferries were also commissioned, two of which—the Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis and the Sandy Ground -- are expected to be delivered in the next year.

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