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.
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.