Mayor Murray names Kubly as SDOT Director
Mayor Murray names Kubly as SDOT Director

Office of the Mayor blog:

“Scott is a transportation visionary,” said Murray. “He has a proven track record in Chicago and Washington, D.C. of advancing innovative solutions that address the full range of transportation needs of residents and businesses. He’s also a transportation renaissance man who’s virtually done it all: he’s worked on bikes issues, car share programs, traffic management and pedestrian safety strategies, rapid transit and street cars; he’s done long-range budgeting, strategic planning, cost reduction, major capital project development, and performance measurement and accountability. Scott is the transportation leader this city needs to take us to the next level in creating more livable, walking communities.” 

Kubly worked as a lieutenant to Gabe Klein, who recently ran DOT in DC and Chicago, both cities that have done interesting things to improve the multi-modal experience lately. Streetsblog has a good retrospective of Klein’s tenure there, in which Kubly played a major role as Deputy Commissioner.  Kubly is currently serving as acting president of Alta Bike Share, which operates bicycle sharing programs in many cities, soon to be including Seattle.  See more coverage in PubliCola and Crosscut.

14 Replies to “Scott Kubly Named New SDOT Director”

  1. This man will probably be an excellent official. But I do wonder about the current general unquestioning acceptance of contracting out public service to private companies. It’s not that I doubt these entities can handle this work competently. I just wonder if this does not reflect a general agreement that we the people can’t.

    As I’ve said before, I would like to see how at least one worker-owned cooperative will perform in this kind of work. I doubt that Seattle’s pioneers from the Nordic lands would have had any problem with this.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Any chance we can get a question/answer session with Mr. Kubly? I’m thinking that people could post questions, and then maybe someone on this blog could moderate (group the questions).

  3. It would be nice to see him , the mayor and sdot make reducing seattles multi billion dollar maintance backlog thier number one priority. I support transit, pedestrians and cycling but maintnance and safety need to come first.

    1. Get them potholes fixed! My foot got stuck in one while crossing the street recently.

  4. It’s funny because I sometimes forget there is a SDOT!

    I had to look at their web page…strangely, its focus seems to be cars, and bikes, only.

    1. Yeah, where’s the pedestrian and transit work? Well, the city doesn’t “own” the transit agency like it does in many cities farther east, so a lot of that is county and ST business. Most sidewalks in most of the city are on private property, and a lot of that was developed when it was unincorporated. SDOT gets involved with transit and pedestrian issues sometimes, and it’s had significant hits and misses on both.

      I hope a new director, coming from outside Seattle, takes the opportunity to examine what we’ve left incomplete. Our agencies do so many projects that leave silly holes indefinitely into the future. RapidRide launches but no solution for Eliott/Mercer. U Link and the 520 rebuild are designed with horrible transfers in basically every permutation. Even if these aren’t SDOT projects, they’re transportation projects in Seattle. SDOT needs to have a strong vision that all these projects can work toward completing — if it doesn’t, well, they spin off in their random directions like they have been recently.

  5. He’s the Alta Bike Share President? …and Seattle signed contract with Alta for a bike sharing program? …and now he has the head SDOT job?

    That doesn’t pass the smell test.
    Puget Sound Bike Share

  6. Being Seattle DOT Director is not like being a financial budget corodinator or a consultant or advocate or an administrative project manager. It requires a leadership stature strong enough to bring lots of different kinds of opinions together for the good of the City.

    Thus, I actually have some reasonable doubts about this appointment. Much of his career has been as an “assistant” working in a strategic budgeting position and much of the time he has been Klein’s “assistant”. His tenure at Alta Bike Share has been only a few months, and accepting another job this quickly is quite suspect. While it appears that he would make a good staff addition for Seattle, he just doesn’t have the legitimacy that he’s going to need to inspire staff and wrestle with day-to-day wormy issues that he will face. He’ll have an uphill battle from Day 1 with managing staff. He would seem to be a great choice for managing finances and projects, but not running an agency of over 700 people.

  7. How much will the SDOT director have a say (formally or informally) over the ST3 process? (and what options will be discussed)?

  8. Yet another bad decision from the mayor by selecting an outsider that does not understand the dynamics of this city. At least find someone that has lived here many, many years or decades or a native that knows every inch of Seattle’s unique transportation needs and typography. He has a huge learning curve not being from this area and with very little management experience for a 700 person agency. I see stumble, fall, and repeat.

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