Streetsies 2014: Civil Servant of the Year
10:10 AM PST on December 23, 2014
This year, we’re going to spread out the Streetsie voting over a couple of weeks, with some of the voting going live today, tomorrow and next week. Voting will close on Friday, January 2, 2015, at noon. Reader voting accounts for one-half of the scoring this year, with one-quarter going to staff voting, and another one-quarter going to a board vote.
For each category, we came up with around ten first nominees with the list being pared down to the last five “finalists” with input from the staff and board. Yesterday we posted "elected official of the year."
Without further delay, here are our nominees for civil servant of the year:
Alan Loomis - Alan is the Principal Urban Designer for the City of Glendale, California, where he leads the City’s Community Design and Outreach Studio, which is responsible for developing and enforcing design policies, guidelines and historic preservation programs, in addition to providing design advice to city boards, departments, and applicants. He also teaches urban design at Woodbury University in Burbank and created the DeliriousLA listing of Los Angeles area architecture and urban design events, now hosted and curated by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. As Glendale’s Principal Urban Designer, Alan is the guiding hand for the city’s effort to develop a freeway cap park [Space 134], planning transit-oriented development around the Tropico Station Metrolink Station and the Downtown Specific Plan, whose corresponding Mobility Study gathers best-practices to reduce auto congestion and promote multi-modal transportation.
Francie Stefan - Santa Monica's strategic planning and transportation manager, Francie Stefan has been one of the major motivating forces behind the city's vision for truly shared streets. Whether it is at the conceptual level, the community planning process, or in the implementation, Stefan has been a strong advocate for complete streets in Santa Monica including the popular MANGo project. Other projects she's been a critical figure in include the Colorado Esplanade, which will add wider sidewalks, a protected cycle track, and reduce motor vehicle traffic on Colorado west of the 5th Street Expo Light Rail station. And, thanks in part to Stefan's work, Santa Monica will likely be home to Los Angeles County's first public bike share system. As someone who often commutes by bus or bike, she understands how multi-modal transit works both as a planner and as a user.
Designer of the High Desert Corridor Report Cover - Nobody will tell me who this is, or even if it was just one person or a team. There is, however, no doubt that whoever created this highway EIR cover using clip art and color schemes from the 1970's is truly a visionary who deserves all the credit in the world.
John Jones III - Jones, a former nominee in the advocate category, was actually nominated by his office, the Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, which forwarded me a letter Jones wrote as an example of his internal advocacy for bicycle lanes in Watts. Jones is Council District 15's field staff member for Watts, but has become an informal bicycle ambassador between Buscaino and the community. Jones sends notes about routes as he experiences them and advocates for improvements along routes with bicycle lanes, consults on bike plans and legislation, such as the aforementioned ghost bikes legislation, and was part of the team that bought the Councilman a new bike for his most recent birthday. Jones, as leader of the East Side Riders and co-founder of the United Riders of South L.A., has also been active in getting the councilmember to experience Watts on a bike, first by providing a bike escort to the inauguration ceremony at the Watts Towers and, later, inviting the councilmember to ride in various community events with the clubs.
Tim Fremaux - Fremaux labored for years on the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT) bikeways team as the bicycle program emerged from the shadows into a functioning program, adding hundreds of miles of bikeways in recent years. Fremaux has moved on to LADOT's Hollywood Division Office, but advocates credit Fremaux as the go-to person for the best bikeway projects in Los Angeles, including 50 miles of road diet bike lanes and the MyFigueroa complete streets project (which Fremaux continues to manage). Fremaux was also lucky enough to represent LADOT at the North Figueroa road diet
charade community meetings held by Councilmember Gil Cedillo earlier this year where he spoke strongly about the need for bike lanes on the future Great Street. He wasn't invited back.
Previous Winners: Paul Backstrom, Jaime De La Vega, and Rye Baerg.
Honorable Mention: Valerie Watson and Margot Ocanas (LADOT's pedestrian team, responsible for People St program and more), Claire Bowin, L.A. Department of City Planning (always pushing high-profile plans in the right direction), and Stephen Tu (Metro staffer responsible for the agency's new media and Nextrip).
More from Streetsblog Los Angeles
Bus Rapid Transit Plans in SGV Get Clearer, and More Complicated
New concepts for rapid bus service across the 626 have ironed out the questions of where an East-West route would run and where demonstrations could begin.
Metro Board Approves $207 Million for 91 and 605 Freeway Expansion Projects
Metro and Caltrans eastbound 91 Freeway widening is especially alarming as it will increase tailpipe pollution in an already diesel-pollution-burdened community that is 69 percent Latino, and 28 percent Black