The Next Reader Q and A: Jon Kirk Mukri

It’s been awhile since we’ve published a reader question and answer article. With the arrival of Interim General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, now seemed a great time to bring back this old series. You pick the questions, we’ll submit them to Mukri through the LADOT press office.

Jon Kirk Mukri

Mukri took over as Interim General Manager of the department from Jaime De La Vega yesterday, and is widely seen as a caretaker until a permanent General Manager can be found. Mukri is also the general manager of the Recreation and Parks Department.

As we’ve done in the past, just submit any questions you have that are related to transportation or planning in the comments section by Friday and I’ll send the top ten to Leon. Once he responds we’ll post the answers here with minimal comment from me (and plenty of comment from you.)

You can leave questions in the comments section or by tweeting to @streetsblogla. Questions are due by Thursday morning.

  • Dylan

    I’d like to know what he thinks about the safety of Westwood Blvd. between the Expo Line and UCLA. Are we going to continue to “force people into their cars” on this street when it will need to become more bike friendly than ever?

  • Garth

    Do you get a whole separate pension aside from the parks and rec one?

  • Guest

    Many parks have outdated or nonexistent bike parking while offering several parking spaces for cars– what does it take to get some easy, convenient, and plentiful bike parking in city parks? Why can’t the Parks Dept. let the LADOT install bike parking in our parks?

    Some parks could easily incorporate bike paths to connect stress-free, utilitarian bike routes– will or can parks being planned and retrofitted in coordination with the LADOT to feature pleasant bike paths useful for utilitarian purposes?

    The current bicycle modal-share in Los Angeles hovers around 1%– what do you want the bicycle modal-share to be in five years and what will you do to reach your goal?

    Do you believe in the 8-80 philosophy, that our city should be safe and accessible to people of all ages? If yes, what will you do to embrace this? If no, why not?

    What accomplishments in the Parks Department are you most proud of?

    What have you previously done and what will you do in the coming years to make Los Angeles safer for people walking and bicycling?

    What do you want your legacy to be? What distinguishes you from the many other people who have served as general manager for the Parks Department or LADOT?

    Will you ever take public transit and/or ride a bicycle to work outside of Bike to Work Day? For environmental reasons, for your health, or simply to set a good example?

    Do you feel it reflects poorly on the LADOT that the majority of employees would never consider riding a bicycle for utilitarian purposes?

    What would it take for you to willingly ride a bicycle in Los Angeles for utilitarian purposes more frequently?

  • Juan Matute

    Have you ever seen the NBC TV show Parks and Recreation? If so, what do you think about it?

    It does seem to be one of the few depictions of local government on network television, including the local news.

  • ubrayj02

    (1) Does John Mukri know ANYTHING about the LADOT’s history, management culture, funding, official functions, or really anything about running a transportation agency in the 21st century?! Why not hire the janitors with 35 years experience in city hall? They, at least, know how to clean house.

    (2) Will you cave to the “dark side of the force” in the LADOT and become the transportation engineers show pony in council and committee meetings to show off how brain washed you’ve become listening to their pseudo-scientific lies and bullshit?

    (3) Pedicabs (don’t laugh) in parts of LA under a medallion system. Questions? Talk to Selwyn Hollis – he runs the finance operations for the department and also started the ONLY official pedicab licensing scheme on LA’s turf (at Ontario airport).

    (4) Will you start to slow-walk and kill bike projects that were fast-tracked by de la Vega?

    (5) When will you leave so we can hire Janette Sadik-Khan or Joe Linton to head the LADOT?

    (6) Will you promote any engineers of the black persuasion to an employment level higher than a Class III intern-level worker?

    (7) Any plans to publish an updated organization chart post-Jaime?

    (8) MyFigueroa – you need to hit the ground running with this or we will all hate you forever. When will it be done?

    (9) Will you challenge the Bureau of Engineering’s Bridge Improvement Program staff/leadership to a nerf/paint ball battle royale and please decide which agency is going to own up to the official legal responsibility that the LADOT has (“primary transportation planning agency” per the Administrative Code). This would help greatly since nearly 100% of the BIP’s bridges are in the 2010 Bike Plan with bike lanes and really ought to be designed from the outset with bikes and pedestrians in mind.

    (10) How long until you are pushed out by scandal or staff mutiny?

    (11) Bike lanes on Figueroa in NELA! Come on! Let’s do this!

  • ubrayj02

    Oh yeah – the General Plan update! WTF is Mukri going to do with that? Hah! From Parks and Rec. to the most significant recoding of LA’s public rights of way and the “zoning” we do to our streets. How could the staff revolt have given us this guy? There is nobody else who can run a top notch 21st century transportation agency in this country?! I find that hard to believe. Garcetti missed the wiffle ball with a tennis racket by going the “soon to retire sideways promotion city hall dept. head” stop gap to quell the disturbance in his campaign fundraising/voting force of the various unions in the LADOT.

    Garcetti, I can help you with that staff mutiny: hire the interns in bikeways and train and hire some bike lane stripers. Best investment you’ll make throughout your impish reign as mayor (by the way, you still have my vote in 20xx for whatever).

  • ubrayj02

    Will Mukri measure bikes in a bike count? Will Mukri monitor collisions? Will Mukri set bike ridership, DASH ridership, property tax gain, sales tax gain benchmarks to measure his policies?

  • ubrayj02

    Will Mukri fire the first engineer that holds an Engineering & Traffic Survey speed limit raising study without informing the local Neighborhood Councils and giving them a timely chance to interject. Heck – inform the bloody city council offices too while you’re at it!

  • ubrayj02

    Looking at LA’s parks, Mukri’s got a horrible record when it comes to managing maintenance obligations, labor esprit-de-corps, handicap accessible design, community relations, effective law enforcement and a whole host of other issues. Oh yeah, he once misplaced $75 million in parks money (thanks for finding that $ Wendy Greuel). Bouncing off of his bumpy ride in charge of LA’s parks, how will Mukri cope with the perturbed labor force that has long been at philosophical war with urban life and commerce that makes up a big part of the LADOT? Also, will he ever be able to get us some bloody Shoupista parking meter schemes?

  • ubrayj02

    His answer, “I have no idea what you are talking about but I will find a fake, but real-sounding, reason to reply but not really answer your question. My engineers on staff have assured me that any ‘parks’ built on city-owned and controlled street will result in West Nile Virus epidemics and the collapse of my favorite drive-thru chain restaurants.”

  • ubrayj02

    My off-the cuff (I am actually wearing a t-shirt) remarks about LADOT chiefs past and present:

    Gloria Jeff – Motor City Madness; The Audit Queen of the LADOT; also got the boot by disgruntled staff

    Rita Robinson – “What a nice smile!”; She went the way of the Pico/Olympic one way; Newsletters!; Dreadful pedicab update plans

    Amir Sedadi – “Never had a chance.”; “Shoulda been John Fisher”; Big porn scandal; fired truck loads of staffers; “Amir who?”; fall guy; Amir Sepuku; “Next!”

    Jaime de la Vega – Hummer Jaime; Bike Lane de la Vega; The Man; Jaime “Overtime With No Vacay” de la Vega; Generalissimo Villaraigosa Jr.; anyone on a bike loves this guy for actually being there and forcing through changes.

    John Mukri – “Nobody else in the cafeteria stepped forward”; “Why not?”; “He knows how city hall works!”.

    Please post your own fond memories or slanderous lies in response. Or let me know how wrong or right you think I am.

  • For what it’s worth, the Central City Association is actually working on developing variable-rate parking complete with a smartphone app for downtown. Dunno anything about timelines, but it’s in their “by 2020” plan.

  • Don

    A smartphone app for parking…. Lets ponder this folks….

  • Erik Griswold

    Who is Leon?

  • DMalcolmCarson

    1. What do you plan to do to expedite the process of removing peak hour parking restrictions in places that would otherwise be candidates for People St projects? Why not set the default as “remove them” unless a significant group of people come forward in favor of retaining them?

    2. What do you plan to do during your reign to prepare for and facilitate the use of ride-sharing services and driverless cars on LA’s streets?

    3. Is is possible to set as the default position that the resurfacing of any street that currently lacks a left turn lane/median and less than 25,000-30,000 cars a day will involve a road diet, and again, as above, let those who oppose that come forward with their reasons?

    4. Do you plan to work with Caltrans to dynamically meter freeway on-ramps within the City?

    5. What are your plans to ensure gender and racial fairness within the Department?

    6. Would you consider calling a moratorium on development-related street widenings?

    7. What do you plan to do about creating more cycletracks, i.e. protected bike lanes, within the City?

    8. What do you plan to do to improve the quality of bus stops and shelters within the City?

    9. What kinds of decisions to do think require public input, and what kinds of decisions don’t?

    10. What do you plan to do about improving safety for children walking and biking to school, and would you consider enacting Neighborhood Slow Zones to reduce speeds to below 25 mph around neighborhood schools and parks?

  • ubrayj02

    These are great questions.

  • ubrayj02

    The city spends ~$4 to 5 million per year for traffic cops at congested intersections – do you know about roundabouts and would you consider them on LA’s most congested intersections?

    At my kids school (and all the LAUSD schools I pass in the a.m.) car traffic is backed up for blocks, and people do crazy stupid things to save 3 seconds of wait time. Parents are encouraged to drop their kids off by a “Safety Valet” program that allows curbside drop off zones. Bike parking at schools is nonexistent, un-policed where it does exist, and rife with vandalism and theft. Bike classes are “be scared and wear a helmet” classes. For example, Lincoln High School actively discourages kids from skating or biking to school despite the obesity epidemic that has a stranglehold on kids in this community. It is a similar situation across LAUSD. Given the massive traffic back-ups, health, and safety problems will your LADOT work with LAUSD to convert as many kids as possible to a walking or bike riding or will you continue to let chaos, poor health, and danger reign?

  • Eric B

    Rec and Parks was one of the only city agencies with defined responsibilities in the 2010 Bicycle Plan that has completely failed to perform on any of them. How familiar are you with the 2010 Bicycle Plan and what are your priorities for implementing its projects and programs during your tenure?

  • Alex Vickers

    Scott Kubly just resigned from CDOT! Maybe he can come to LA

  • You secret booster.

    Ubrayj. I LOVE YOU.

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