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It’s official: After City Council approval, Gia Biagi is now the new CDOT chief

Gia Biagi. Photo: ChicagoIdeas.com

At today's City Council meeting, alderman officially approved Gia Biagi as Mayor Lori Lightfoot's first permanent Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner, some eight months after Lightfoot was inaugurated. The mayor announced Biagi as her pick on December 10.

Biagi previously worked at Studio Gang, led by world-famous “starchitect” Jeanne Gang, Biagi specialized in urban design, planning and strategy on urban planning projects across several cities. She also worked at the Chicago Park District, holding jobs in planning and as chief of staff to the CEO, as well doing a stint with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Local advocates and experts, including representatives of the Active Transportation Alliance, the Metropolitan Planning Council, Equiticity, and DePaul's Chaddick for Metropolitan Development, have expressed optimism that she will turn out to be a good choice to help make the city's transportation network more efficient and equitable.

After Biagi's confirmation today, Lightfoot praised her as "the right person at the right time" for the job. The mayor praised her "proven track record" of more than 20 years of private- and public-sector experience in urban planning and design. "Gia will be charged with leading a comprehensive strategy for building modern infrastructure for the 21st Century. I know she's up to the task."

The mayor noted that the new commissioner will be responsible for studying and recommending solutions to address congestion, including a possible downtown congestion pricing system. Biagi will also work with the CTA to implement the $20 million Bus Priority Zone program to improve transit speed on high-ridership routes like 79th Street, Chicago Avenue, and Western Avenue. She'll also over see the department's support for investments in 10 commercial corridors in South and West side neighborhoods via the INVEST South/West initiative.

After thanking interim CDOT commissioner Tom Carney for his service, drawing a round of applause, Lightfoot said she looks forward to collaborating with Biagi. "Together we will implement our vision for equitable comprehensive urban planning and transportation that supports everyone in every neighborhood."

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