New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan '82 will speak on her innovative approach to improving mobility and safety in one of the world's busiest cities when she delivers the annual Dungan Lecture on Energy and Environment at Occidental College on March 18.
Sadik-Khan, who has reclaimed Times and Herald squares for pedestrians through the Green Light for Midtown plan and introduced the nation's first on-street protected bicycle lanes, will be presented with an honorary degree as part of the 7 p.m. presentation in Occidental's Keck Theater. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in April 2007, Sadik-Khan has implemented an ambitious program to improve safety, mobility, street maintenance and sustainable practices throughout New York City. Under her leadership, in 2008 the Department of Transportation unveiled a new strategic plan, "Sustainable Streets," which for the first time laid out a clear, detailed transportation plan for the city - one that promised a new direction.
Since then, the department has carried out a host of new initiatives, including completing the build-out of 200 miles of new bicycle lanes, implementing new roadway designs to improve safety, creating new public plazas, and bringing car-free summer streets and weekend pedestrian walks on some of the city's 6,000 miles of streets and highways. Last year, traffic accident deaths in New York City fell to an all-time low as bicycle commuting rose 35 percent.
"The department is not just reformed, it is transformed, and widely considered to be the leading example for transportation agencies in other U.S. cities to follow," says Aaron Naparstek, former editor-in-chief of Streetsblog.
Sadik-Khan came to the city from the private sector, where she was a senior vice president for the U.S. transit market for Parsons Brinckerhoff, a leading international engineering firm. She previously worked in Washington, D.C. as the deputy administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, where she managed the capital construction budget and federal assistance programs and policies. Prior to her tenure in Washington, Sadik-Khan served as director of the New York Mayor's Office of Transportation and special counsel and legislative director of the New York Department of Transportation.
A 1982 graduate of Occidental with a degree in political science, Sadik-Khan received her law degree from Columbia University. She is president of the National Association of City Transportation Officials and chair of the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Transportation Issues in Major U.S. Cities.