Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has nominated a replacement to head the city’s Department of Transportation. Peter Hahn, currently deputy public works administrator for the city of Renton, faces confirmation by the city council.
This blog previously editorialized that the new Mayor should keep Grace Crunican, who has done an excellent job moving the city’s transportation department toward a sustainable, urbanist agency. She was a hot potato during the Mayoral election for her department’s troubles in responding to the 2008 snowstorms and announced her decision to resign last week. She will stay on board for three weeks after Hahn begins work at SDOT on January 19th to help transition the agency to its new leadership. Hahn is expected to actually head the agency beginning February 5th.
The scale of Snohomish County’s public works department — which Hahn used to administer — isn’t much less than SDOT, The Stranger reports. While SDOT has 750 employees and a $310 million budget, Hahn’s current group has about 650 employees and a budget of $200 million. Still, we don’t know much about Hahn’s views on public transit, complete streets, and other policy positions that are important to us. We for now safely assume that he will take his policy direction from the Mayor, who is no slouch on sustainable transportation.
A good sign is Hahn’s taste in women. The P-I reports that Hahn’s wife, Mary McCumber, is a board member of Futurewise — a progressive group focused on TOD and sustainable growth — supported the Surface/Transit Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement option when she was a stakeholder on that project and was executive director of PSRC for 12 years.