Could the D.C. transportation shake up mean better service?


Mary M. Cheh  is chair of the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

For those who follow transportation issues in the District, Tuesday brought a series of bombshells.

As The Post’s Aaron Davis reported, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) led with  a proposal to reorganize the various agencies that have a hand in how residents move from Point A to Point B. The goal of her plan is to make it easier for folks to navigate the system by creating one-stop shopping for transportation-related transactions.

Just a few hours after Cheh unveiled her plan (take note: the measure is co-sponsored by fellow council members Muriel Bowser [D- Ward 4] and David Catania [I-At Large], both vying to be D.C.’s next mayor), two top officials with the D.C. Department of Transportation — Terry Bellamy, the agency’s head, and chief engineer Ronaldo “Nick” Nicholson — announced that they would be leaving before the end of the month.  Neither departure appears to be related to Cheh’s plan, which would reorganize the way DDOT operates, moving responsibility to the city’s transportation systems to a new agency, the District Transit Authority. My colleague Mike DeBonis has more in his daily roundup.

Note for Metro riders: There also will be change on the board. Bellamy and Bowser both represent the District on the Metro board, so it’s likely we’ll see two new faces there.

The question remains –  will all this change make things better for D.C. residents who want to do things like adjudicate a parking ticket? (Somewhat of a nightmare if it involves the D.C. DMV.) It may be awhile before we know. But there seems to be some nice logic behind the idea of consolidating parking management, currently spread across three agencies — the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Works and DDOT — to a a single one, the Department of Parking Management, under Cheh’s plan.

If approved by the council, the reorganization will like happen some time in 2015.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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