New York City’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg is leaving her post of over seven years for an unannounced role elsewhere, formalizing her resignation on Monday.
Credited with leading the effort to improve the city’s surface transportation evolution to include bike lanes and bus lanes through the Vision Zero program launched in 2014, Trottenberg was recently chosen as a member of the Biden-Harris Transition team.
“I stand on the shoulders of my predecessors, former NYC DOT Commissioners Iris Weinshall and Janette Sadik-Khan. I’m so proud that this agency has been led by women for over two decades,” Trottenberg said. “I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to serve the city I love and work with some of the most dedicated and talented colleagues I have ever known… Together we have touched the life of every New Yorker and accomplished so much.”
In terms of how Mayor Bill de Blasio will handle yet another departure from his administration in the last year of his tenure in office and where he will find replacement talent, hizzoner said he would likely recruit from the talent pool already at the city.
“Every single one of our commissioners who have succeeded has succeeded because they have a strong team around them–their own talents, of course–but they had a strong team around them,” de Blasio said. “I remember the very beginning when [Trottenberg] and I talked about Vision Zero, and we knew it would be extremely difficult. Nothing like this had ever been tried in such a large American city obviously, but we believed and she did an amazing job with her team.”
Trottenberg’s last day as head of DOT will be in early December, according to the Mayor’s office, and her departure came with gratitude from transit advocates such as the Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum who acknowledged the often brutal blowback endured by de Blasio administration officials.
“New Yorkers owe Polly Trottenberg a sincere debt of gratitude. During her tenure, the Department of Transportation rolled out more bus lanes, traffic safety cameras, and other improvements citywide, often despite rabid NIMBYism and unfair resistance,” Plum said. “Now, entering his final year in office, Mayor de Blasio must cement a progressive legacy founded significantly on equity and safety on our streets. He should double the number of bus lanes rolled out this year, putting essential workers and transit-dependent New Yorkers first and giving private cars the back seat in public space.”
Whether or not Trottenberg’s resignation is simply a result of her volunteer position in the transition team or if there is a cabinet position in store for her in the White House under President-elect Joe Biden is yet to be seen.