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This is L.A.'s Transit Leader: 'I Wish We Were New York & Could Magically Make Things Happen'

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Photo by RobeRt Vega via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by RobeRt Vega via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
While Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making popular headlines for his transportation plans, his appointed head of the Department of Transportation, Rita Robinson, is not doing so well. She came in strong a few years ago, after a great success from running the Bureau of Sanitation, but what she's done with the country's biggest urban landscape of roadways is sad, to say the least.

To top it off, last week she told a City Council committee that she wishes "we were New York and could magically make things happen."

That got LA Streetsblog writer Damien Newton in a huff, arguing that good transportation planning is not magic. "There's no magic involved with what's going on in New York. It's happening because the Mayor and DOT are dedicated to changing the way business is done when it comes to transportation. In fact, the leadership deficit in L.A. is exactly because our LADOT is busy wishing for things and defending their turf rather than pushing the envelope to free our streets, clean our neighborhoods and get things moving. If she wants to change transportation in Los Angeles and, do it without a magic wand or flying broomstick, she can."

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Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's appointed head of the U.S. Department of Transportation Ray LaHood today gave kudos to New York City for increasing bicycle commuting by 28% over the last year. Here in Los Angeles, Robinson's bicycle staff are constantly mired in controversy.

Is it time for Villaraigosa to bring in a new transportation leader?