CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein resigns, will return to Washington

November 1, 2013 5:26:56 PM PDT
Gabe Klein, the secretary of transportation in Chicago has resigned. Klein championed alternate modes of travel and developed the city's bike sharing program.

Wooed to Chicago shortly after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected, the former Washington, D.C. transportation boss Gabe Klein already had a reputation as a bicycling promoter.

"I've been biking before the bike lanes so I love that I can go back and forth like this," said Barbara Figgins, biker.

Klein supervised the construction of Chicago's bike lanes including those two-way lanes on one way streets.

"I've seen accidents that probably wouldn't have happened if this is a one way bike lane," said Kyle Fowler, biker.

Klein also is point man for the new speed cameras and a strong believer in automated traffic enforcement.

"There's a lot of data out there that shows that its working and its working right here in Chicago," said Gabe Klein, Chicago Transportation Commissioner.

Klein also helped bring the Divvy bikes to Chicago. Mayor Emanuel wrote: "His ideas and leadership have changed the way we approach transportation."

"Commissioner Klein and the Mayor are trying to make the city, I think, an easier place to get around giving people more transportation options and improving safety," said Ron Burke, Active Transportation Alliance.

"There were some hurdles that he was trying to overcome. We were working with him on those hurdles," said Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward.

But Klein was not popular among some aldermen who thought the bicycle lanes were dangerous, the Divvy bikes a nuisance and speed cameras a revenue grab. Transportation committee chairman Beale says the mayor does not have to look far to find Klein's successor.

"Hopefully, we can look from within the department for the next commissioner because there are a lot of talented people within that department already," said Beale.

Gabe Klein-- whose wife never moved to Chicago-- will return to Washington, D.C. to work in the private sector.

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