SEATTLE’s loss is TORONTO’s gain as BARBARA GRAY becomes this city’s new General Manager of Transportation (operating budget $400-million). At a time when pedestrian deaths are climbing, gridlock is an hourly occurrence and a battle royal is underway between bicyclists and motorists, Mrs. Gray will have her hands full. <PHOTO ABOVE – Mayor John Tory introduces Barbara Gray to the press>
Some random thoughts from our new GM – “You can’t expect that everybody is going to travel by car.”
“If you can find a team of planners who think like engineers, and engineers who think like planners, you can accomplish quite a lot.”
“In SEATTLE, our approach has been really effective when we’ve had a strong partnership with enforcement. We’ve been pushed, which is a good thing, by our advocacy groups wanting safer streets. We have a robust education program to change the nature of the dialogue around safety. TORONTO is a gorgeous city. I got here a week ago with my husband and we walked a ton, all over. It’s a much bigger city than Seattle. Lots of public space and options to get around.”
Barbara Gray is a pro-cycling, pedestrian-minded, streetcar-loving individual who believes “you design the streets and the city to support people being able to move, whether they want to walk, bike, take transit or drive their car.” TORONTO (population 3.5-million) will be a tough nut to crack after SEATTLE (684,000) with its gentle climate and willingness to invest in public transit, property tax levies and affordable housing. Good luck, BARBARA!