Your Q and A with Jon Kirk Mukri

You asked, he answered. Moments after going on hiatus for the holidays, I received an email from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation with answers from the “Reader Q and A” with interim LADOT General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri.

Photo: ##http://laparks.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html##Department of Rec. and Parks##
Photo: ##http://laparks.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html##Department of Rec. and Parks##

Jon Kirk Mukri took over as interim general manager on December 1, taking over for Jaime De La Vega. There is no timeline for a permanent replacement to be announced, but for the time being the department appears to be in good condition. Mukri also serves as General Manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks.

While there’s not a ton of new information to be gleaned from the answers that we didn’t learn from his presentation to the City Council Transportation Committee, some of the internal management decisions at LADOT and Rec. and Parks points to Mukri staying in the LADOT G.M.’s chair for more than just a couple of weeks or months. After all, it took New York City less than two months to replace Janette Sadik-Khan and Jaime De La Vega’s departure was announced well before new New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio even took office.

1) As we understand it, you’re general manager at two departments. How does that work on a day to day basis?

Although I will be assisting on issues with the Department of Recreation and Parks I am focused on things here at DOT.  Michael Shull has been the General Manager of Recreation and Parks. 

2) You mentioned in your City Hall testimony that you use a variety of transportation options (Red Line, DASH, bicycling, driving). Has your perspective on these choices changed at all since you’ve been at LADOT?

Before this appointment I experienced these things as a user.  Now, as a manager, I see how much planning and input go into making these options work.  I am amazed and humbled by the breadth of areas this department works on.

3) You also talked about the backlog of road restriping. Does the same issue exist with either crosswalk or bike lane striping or re-striping? Is fixing these backlogs, if they exist, as high a priority?

Whether it is crosswalks, bike lanes or travel lanes striping and pavement markings are all done by the same staff.  Part of my goal of improving customer experience is to make some changes to their processes and increase some of their resources so these projects are delivered faster.

4) There’s rumors that CicLAvia is going to hold an event in the San Fernando Valley next year. If you had final say on a route where would you put it? This is more of a “what would you do in a fantasy land” question than one requiring a look at the engineering.

The Valley has a lot of great options: Ventura Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard all come to mind.

5) We always ask the same question at the end. If you could change one thing about transportation in Greater Los Angeles with the wave of a magic wand (no public hearings, full funding falls out of the sky, etc…) what would it be?

I think it would be great if there was a subway or light rail that connected the San Fernando Valley to West LA and the Airport.  That would really facilitate a lot of economic activity and connect two vital parts of the city.

  • Guest

    Would have liked to have seen some bolder answers/questions. No specific goals and how they’ll be reached, no innovative project ideas, etc. No personality either. No use of the words walkability, bicycle, safety, or Garcetti’s Great Streets initiative (which one would this is closely tied to the LADOT). His magic wand answer is to build rail projects already in the planning phases…this doesn’t scream “ambitious,” especially since Metro, not DOT, is the chief agency in charge of rail.

    Nebulous sentences such as “Part of my goal of improving customer experience is to make some changes to their processes and increase some of their resources so these projects are delivered faster.” What does this mean? Customer experience? who are the customers? What are their needs and wants? does customers = general public?

    There should be a round 2 of questions…with answers that give us some substance and a flavor of what Mukri wants to accomplish.

  • Who Cars

    What a waste of everyone’s time.

  • Joke

    What a geee oke.

  • Commute

    Writing while visiting San Francisco, this is pathetic.

  • Who Cars

    Garcetti doesn’t care about transportation like Villaraigosa did. In his mind, he’s got the “green” vote locked down. Why bother with what he thinks is a politically insignificant block of voters for between 1980 and 1995 who do not accept standard issue road planning as normal.

    Livable streets issues are not “environmentalist” issues because the politically engaged environmentalists are older, car driving, technofantasits – i.e. emotionally unhinged from the changes that matter deeply to the generation living through the collapse of economic system the environmentalists have floated on top of for 50 years.

    eCars, natural gas “for 100 years”, and solar panels are how shmucks like Garcetti think we’re going to deal with the issues headed our way. Yet when a grassroots movement starts up to deal with these same issues but without the big corporate lobbying dollars behind them and without our palms outstretched for subsidies and tax breaks, we get ignored.

    So here is how we make a difference: turn our movement into a racket. Demand big money subsidies and tax breaks for issues we care about. And never, ever, ever, let some stooge like Mukri take over the TWO departments responsible for the largest public land holdings in the county.

  • Mukri is an interim General Manager. Expecting sweeping pronouncements is nonsensical. It is a good sign Team Garcetti felt the need to bring in someone to provide stability and leadership in the wake of Jaime de la Vega. It would be useful in any follow-up q&a to know if he sees any systemic administrative problems that he feels need addressed. Sacred cows that need slayed are what a Interim can usefully deal with leaving the new GM a clean slate.

  • This seems out of proportion to the actual piece. And the “solution” seems counter-productive. It would be nice to have something a bit positive and or visionary offered instead of simply railing against an alleged status quo.

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