With two and a half years of service under his belt as the transportation commissioner — not to mention 300 bike-share stations — Gabe Klein announced that he will be resigning at the end of November.
A lot changed since Klein arrived. He oversaw a major reorganization of the transportation department, the creation of Chicago Forward, a two-year departmental plan, and the release of design guidelines and policies for complete streets and sustainable urban infrastructure. He said the culture that accepts speeding must change, while introducing automated speed enforcement. CDOT’s priorities and practices changed substantially during his tenure, with a strong emphasis on safety, multi-modalism, and livability .
Klein told the Tribune that he will return to the private sector after about five years working for Washington, D.C., and Chicago, to develop business plans “that promote transportation technology.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Klein immediately after the 2011 election to execute the transition plan that called for building 100 miles of protected bike lanes and the Bloomingdale Trail within four years, as well as bus rapid transit. All of those projects are well on their way, though the goal of 100 miles of protected (and now buffered) bike lanes will be tough to reach before the end of Emanuel’s current term.
While it seems like Klein was just getting started, he had the longest tenure of a transportation commissioner in recent memory. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley moved five people into the position within five years.
CDOT spokesperson Pete Scales said that Emanuel will make a succession announcement after Klein leaves the post.