Mayor Garcetti Nominates New LADOT Head: Seleta Reynolds

Seleta Reynolds (right) then serving as President of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) giving a 2010 award to Leslie Meehan of Nashville. Photo: APBP
Seleta Reynolds (right) then serving as President of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) giving a 2010 award to Leslie Meehan of Nashville. Photo: APBP

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has nominated Seleta Reynolds to be the new general manager for the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT.) From preliminary research on Reynolds’s background, this looks like great news. Reynolds currently works for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) where her focus had been livable streets, with a focus on building more equitable streets.

Reynolds’ Twitter feed @seletajewel celebrates great bike and walk facilities.  Reynolds is featured in Streetsblog San Francisco articles explaining Bay Are Bike Sharepushing Caltrans on standards for protected bicycle lanes, and arguing for better motorist education for bicyclist safety.

Updated: Read our follow-up post, including a brief interview with the nominee here.

Mayor Garcetti’s full press release follows after the jump. 

MAYOR GARCETTI NOMINATES SELETA REYNOLDS AS GENERAL MANAGER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti has nominated Seleta Reynolds of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency as the next General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT).

“Los Angeles is changing the way it looks at transportation,”  said Mayor Garcetti.  “Seleta is the ideal field marshal in our war against traffic who will bring to bear all the tools at our disposal, from better road design to transit to technology to bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  She is also a big believer in our Great Streets Initiative and has committed to applying her passion and expertise to revitalizing key community corridors across our city to improve neighborhood gathering places and generate economic activity.”

“Los Angeles is a world-class city that deserves excellent transportation choices,” said Reynolds.  “I’m excited to partner with the agencies and policymakers who deliver great projects on the streets.”

Seleta Reynolds has over 16 years of experience planning, funding, and implementing transportation projects throughout the United States. She presently works for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where she leads three teams in the Livable Streets sub-division responsible for innovation, policy, and coordination for complete streets projects citywide.  Her teams’ current projects include the launch of a pilot bikesharing system and construction of safety projects to help the city meet Vision Zero, a goal to reach zero traffic deaths by 2024.

“Seleta is the right person at the right time. L.A. is poised to expand transportation choices, improve mobility and design safer, more vibrant streets, and Seleta brings the innovative vision and strategies needed to lead LADOT at this critical moment,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, principal at Bloomberg Associates and former NYC transportation commissioner. Sadik-Khan helped support the search for a general manager, advising and assisting Mayor Garcetti and L.A. officials throughout the extensive selection process. “L.A.’s streets are its most valuable resource, and Mayor Garcetti’s selection is a key step toward making them great streets for walking, biking, living, and business.”

Reynolds’ nomination is subject to confirmation by the City Council.

“Seleta Reynolds is the perfect choice to transform LADOT and get Los Angeles moving again,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, chair of the Transportation Committee and a member of the interview and selection panel.  “Seleta has deep experience creating change, building projects, and removing the roadblocks to mobility.  I’m eager to work with her as she applies her skills and abilities to the implementation of the Mayor’s progressive transportation agenda.”

“With the selection of Seleta Reynolds, the city is bringing on proven expertise that will allow LADOT to explore both innovation in design and equity in implementation,” said Transportation Commissioner Tafarai Bayne. “Multi-modal transportation options are fundamental to improving the quality of life for all Angelenos, where residents in South L.A. can as easily walk, take a bus, train, or bike to work, the grocery store, or to school as easily as they could drive.  I look forward to working closely with LADOT and our new general manager as we continue to make Los Angeles one of the greatest cities in the world.”

Seleta currently serves on the Transportation Research Board Pedestrian and Bicycle Committees and the WalkScore Advisory Board.  She is a past president of Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.  Prior to joining the SFMTA, Seleta managed the San Francisco and Seattle offices of Fehr & Peers and worked for the City of Oakland Public Works Agency.  She graduated from Brown University.

“Seleta understands how cities work and she possesses an ability to get people both inside and outside of transportation to look at their streets differently,” said Ed Reiskin, Executive Director of SFMTA and President of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “San Francisco is losing a tremendously talented innovator but LA is gaining a skilled manager and planner who knows where the city needs to go in the 21st century.”

“Transportation is a regional issue, and Metro looks forward to working with Seleta Reynolds and the LADOT to find solutions to keep people moving throughout the L.A. region,” said Metro CEO Arthur T. Leahy.

The Department of Transportation leads the planning, design, construction, and operations for transportation systems in the city of Los Angeles and partners with sister agencies to improve multi-modal service and infrastructure in the city and the region.  The Department currently has an annual budget of approximately $131 million and an authorized staff of 1,278 full-time employees and 272 part-time employees. The Department is also responsible for extensive federal funding in transportation-related grants and special funds.  For more information, visit ladot.lacity.org

  • Lorenzo Mutia

    I wonder if the LADOT under one will finally give transit priority to the Expo and Orange Lines.

  • LA None

    Unlikely but needed. The LADOT is main obstacle to getting lines moving at a reasonable speed. Blue line needs same treatment.

  • momomomomoney

    Meet the new boss same as the old boss. If they haven’t done it in the 20 years the blue line has been around I doubt they will ever do it.

  • SpikeNLB

    Alas the LADOT GM revolving door continues to spin.

    Wonder how long she will last, esp if she hold the whiney engineers accountable for showing up and doing actual work. De La Vega did that and soon after they whined to the Mayor and City Counsel and then came his resignation letter.

  • SpikeNLB

    Blue line moves at a reasonable speed between Willow and Washington Stations. Exclusive signal priority on either end would create a traffic cluster fuck, esp during the AM and PM commute hours, on both the LA and LB ends of the service.

  • Sad_in_SF

    Our loss is your gain, LA. Get ready for a new GM with vision and savvy!

  • Joe Linton

    I think a revolving door is better than a door that’s stuck (in the 1950s [referring to pre~2009 John Fisher era LADOT – it’s come some of the way forward since then]) ! Welcome Ms. Reynolds!

  • Lorenzo Mutia

    It’s just that if we want people to see transit as viable why must the train or bus carrying dozens of people wait for the car carrying one person? The future expo line will need priority and the blue line, from what I recall comes at most effective every 6 min at peak. I’d like to think people will adjust if there are delays on the street.

  • SpikeNLB

    Regarding the Blueline, Metro should have gone underground at Washington, they didn’t, and thus the service and it’s riders must share the limited intersection crossings inconvenience with the cars/trucks/buses. BTW, those who ride Metro rail, do so because they are transit dependent or it is a viable option. Making commuting outrageously inconvenient for SOV will not get more people on to public transportation if it is not viable for their commute.

  • Lorenzo Mutia

    I just don’t think an extra 15-25 seconds for a train or bus to pass is outrageously inconvenient. It may probably be even shorter than that.

  • LAifer

    Fantastic! LADOT needs this. LA needs this. Hopefully she can institute some departmental changes in a way that her predecessor could not. At this point, LADOT is a laughingstock of an agency, and it’s woefully negligent in serving the region.

  • CBrinkman

    Congratulations LA. Seleta is fantastic and I will miss her in SF.

  • momomomomoney

    BTW those who drive do so because they are brainwashed. Making commuters pay the true cost of their drive will get people on pubic transport real fast.

  • mike_napolis_beard

    Seleta is awesome … She’s got a great work ethic combined with a healthy dose of realistic expectations. She will be missed!

  • SpikeNLB

    So what you are saying it if there is no viable public transportation to get someone from their home to work and back, their need to drive means they are brain washed? Err, ok, whatever you say.

  • SpikeNLB

    At peak commute times, on heavily traveled streets, in particular those that feed to freeways, those 25 seconds makes a big difference when it comes to SOV back up and gridlock that occurs blocks away. What expertise in traffic mgmt. do you have that leads you to believe 15-25 seconds is not a big deal?

  • Worst dad of the year

    LA is lucky to get her as she’s been done a great job progressing safer streets against a torrential spewing of nonsense by the SF NIMBYs. We SF bike/ped advocates will miss her. May the LA NIMBYs be stuck in their own traffic on the way to the neighborhood meetings.

  • roadblock

    yes actually I think you could argue just that. committing the city money to transit is a political decision literally “driven” by masses of people brainwashed into paying $9k average a year to travel around the city. You HAVE to be brainwashed to accept life like this.

  • Expert Level Ninja

    no. it is not a big deal for people to add 25 seconds to their commute. I know. I am an expert in traffic mgmnt.

  • a guy

    I’m excited for what appears to be an embrace of open data and using data. hopefully she can deliver on it and find the right people (and get them to the right groups) to implement it.

  • Gayle Youlden

    Seleta, I’m so happy for you and as the family moves to LA we might actually see you all more often! All the very best…xxx Gayle Tony and Henri

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