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Polly Trottenberg, NYC's Department Of Transportation Commissioner And Champion Of 'Vision Zero,' Resigns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's the end of the road for Mayor Bill de Blasio's transportation commissioner.

Polly Trottenberg is quitting, perhaps to take a job with President-elect Joe Biden.

She is the latest key player to leave City Hall in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Monday.

For more than seven years Trottenberg was one of the mayor's highest-profile commissioners.

Trottenberg had a huge portfolio, covering all things related to city streets.

Now, she's hitting the road with 13 months left in the de Blasio administration.

"We all owe Polly Trottenberg a debt of gratitude for her incredible service to New York City," said de Blasio. "She is a tireless and talented public servant who has made our city safer, fairer, and more accessible. I'm proud to have worked so closely with her, and I wish her all the best in whatever comes next."

"I will always be grateful to Mayor de Blasio for the incredible opportunity to serve the city I love so much, and especially for the chance to lead the 5,800 dedicated public servants at DOT," Trottenberg said. "I have been honored to work with them and see the passion, creativity and dedication they bring every day to serving New Yorkers, especially during the pandemic of the last eight months. For now, I just say thank you, one and all."


Trottenberg told the New York Times she was not particularly close to de Blasio, and they didn't speak that often, but together they pushed through major projects, including "Vision Zero," with its speed cameras and pedestrian plazas, and the lowering of the speed limit to 25 mph.

There was also the reconfiguration of city streets, including the 14th Street busway and a tripling of bike lane mileage.

During the pandemic, she was successful in devoting more street space to restaurants and recreation.

"The real issue here is why is she leaving now? And why are so many de Blasio people leaving before we get close to the end of his term?" political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said.

Sheinkopf pointed to the mid-pandemic departures of Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot and Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who also served as food czar.

"You're in a pandemic, a fiscal crisis, and, frankly, a city management emergency. It's just not looking very good and de Blasio's future and his legacy will be judged by what happens now, not what's happened in the past," Sheinkopf said.

De Blasio said every departed commissioner leaves behind a capable team.

"We already have the best talent. We have a very deep bench," the mayor said.

As his time in office heads to the ninth inning, more are expected to leave Team de Blasio.

Advocacy groups such as Transportation Alternatives and Riders Alliance praised Trottenberg as a savvy commissioner who made a real difference.

"New Yorkers owe Polly Trottenberg a sincere debt of gratitude. During her tenure, the Department of Transportation rolled out more bus lanes, traffic safety cameras, and other improvements citywide, often despite rabid NIMBYism and unfair resistance," the Riders Alliance said in a statement. "While representing New York City on the MTA board, Commissioner Trottenberg was also a rare authoritative, independent voice for millions of public transit riders. New York is a safer and fairer city today thanks to her sustained efforts."

Trottenberg has been tapped to join the Biden-Harris presidential transition team as part of an 18-member transportation panel.

Her resignation is effective next month.

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