Bikes and Hikes LA would like congratulate Seleta Reynolds for being confirmed this week as the new general manager of LADOT. If Mayor Eric Garcetti is waging a war against traffic in LA, he has a new commander.
Seleta Reynolds currently works on the Livable Streets initiative of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. She has been instrumental in making San Francisco more pedestrian and bike friendly. LADOT, despite making enormous investments in transforming the transportation landscape in LA, has remained conservative in its approaches.
Seleta will bring a fresh perspective and an arsenal of strategies for realizing innovative street designs in the city. According to Mayor Garcetti, "Los Angeles is changing the way it looks at transportation... [Seleta] will bring to bear all the tools at our disposal, from better road design to transit to technoloty to bicyle and pedestrian improvements."
One of the biggest concerns with the city's plan to give its streets a makeover is the notion of "road diets," or taking away car lanes to add bus lanes and bike paths. Reynolds addressed this, noting that "I want people to have choices in how to get around. Transit won't always be that best choice."
Additionally, more than being a singular entity, Los Angeles is a massive quilt of diverse, disjointed neighborhoods. This is a key underlying issue holding back intiatives to better connect the city, but Reynolds seems to embrace it. She sees potential to implement smart growth strategies in LA to truly reclaim LA's neighborhoods. As Garcetti put it, Seleta "...has committed to applying her passion and expertise to revitalzing key community corridors across our city to improve neighborhood gathering places and generate economic activity."
According to Reynolds, "Streets are really the keys to so many issues that cities face in the 21st century. They must be organized, they must be safe. But they can also be huge assets to the community. That's really needed to be a great, world-class city." We couldn't agree more! We can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the coming years.