Silver Lining to the U.S. DOT Shakeup: Barbara McCann Joins the Team

The loss of Polly Trottenberg and John Porcari from U.S. DOT was a blow for livability advocates. But into the void has slipped Barbara McCann, an architect of the Complete Streets movement. McCann starts Monday as the new director of the Office of Safety, Energy and Environment in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

Barbara McCann, shown here talking to former Sec. Ray LaHood, starts work at U.S. DOT on Monday. Photo: ##http://www.bmccann.net/##McCann Consulting##
Barbara McCann, shown here talking to former Sec. Ray LaHood, starts work at U.S. DOT on Monday. Photo: ##http://www.bmccann.net/##McCann Consulting##

“That’s a mouthful,” she said in an email to colleagues, “but I’ll be responsible for overseeing the Department’s strategic planning process and will help set Departmental policies, plans and guidelines relating to safety and environmental sustainability (and much more).”

McCann helped popularize the term “complete streets” while working at America Bikes in 2003, and with several other organizations, started the National Complete Streets Coalition in 2005. She left the coalition in June 2012 to write a book about building political and community support for complete streets. The book, Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks, came out this fall. The new job at DOT will cut short her book promotion efforts, but the Coalition — now officially a program of Smart Growth America — will continue to use it.

There are now well over 500 complete streets policies in states, cities and towns around the United States. While these policies don’t translate into better walking, biking and transit overnight, they commit planners and transportation officials to at least consider non-motorized modes when engineering a street.

Transportation reformers and smart growth advocates can look forward to seeing a very friendly face when dealing with the Office of the Secretary at DOT. Let’s hope all of their hiring decisions during this upheaval are as wise as this one!

  • Jack Jackson

    do complete streets include space for trucks?

  • Mike Mills

    And her qualifications regarding safety, energy and the environment are what?

  • Barbara McCann is a leading strategist, organizer, and author for complete streets and for integrating transportation and land use decision-making. This is wonderful news for everyone concerned with transportation efficiency, environmental protection, and public health.

  • John Dough

    “New York’s loss is America’s gain.”

    http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=8561

  • DanPike

    Yes. Complete Streets plan for all modes.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Feds Want to Reform the Cult of “Level of Service”

|
“What you measure is what you get,” the saying goes. That’s certainly true for transportation policy. And for a very long time one metric has reigned supreme on American streets: “Level of Service,” a system that assigns letter grades based on motorist delay. Roughly speaking, a street with free-flowing traffic gets an A while one where […]

Reps. Matsui, LaTourette Introduce Complete Streets Bill

|
A bill to provide Americans with more transportation choices than just driving is one step closer to becoming law. Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH) just introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 [PDF]. The bill doesn’t have a number yet. The bill mandates the consideration of the “safety and convenience” of […]

US DOT Secretary Gets a Message on Pedestrian Safety

|
We’ve got a fine sampling of content from the Streetsblog Network today. First, Steve Davis at Transportation for America reports on the meeting T4A and several of its partners had with US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday. The meeting was to deliver a petition with more than 4,100 signatures gathered after last week’s release […]

Complete Streets Provision Eliminated From Final Transpo Bill

|
Transportation for America, the big-tent coalition for transportation reform, tends to be careful about the statements it puts out. Its folks are diplomatic, since they work with both sides on the Hill and a wide variety of coalition members. Yesterday, as details of the conference report were leaking out, they wanted to read the whole […]