Monday, January 12, 2009

Did developers slow naming of CDOT director?

Let's see, Charlotte Transportation Director Jim Humphrey left in late 2007. So why did it take until 2009 for the city to name a replacement? Today City Manager Curt Walton announced he was promoting Interim Director Danny Pleasant, who came to CDOT as deputy director in 2002.

A good source tells me one reason for the delay was nervousness in the development community about Pleasant, whose initiatives in the department have pushed the envelope for good community design. Apparently City Manager Curt Walton was able to get the City Council members comfortable with Pleasant as CDOT director.

As deputy director, he oversaw transportation planning that is putting more emphasis on walkable streets, bicycling paths, connectivity. One of his responsibilities was the six-years-in-the-making effort to rewrite the design guidelines under which streets widths and sidewalk widths and other such essential rules are written. Those urban street design guidelines came under criticism from the development community who didn't like the requirements for wider planting strips, required street trees and shorter block lengths.

Pleasant has a master's in urban planning, is a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the American Institute of Certified Planners and a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.


Anonymous said...

I am thrilled to see Pleasant at the helm. After many many years with engineers running the show, where have we gotten? I look forward to seeing great things from someone not afraid to put the manual aside and think pragmatically about solving issues.

mania = doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

Anonymous said...

Doesn't really matter----now that he's director, the developers will be in his ear constantly regarding modifications, variances and exceptions to plans, with "understood" assurances of a cozy advisory and lobbying arrangement after years of public service; this is the way real estate developers have greased the skids among Charlotte's public servants for decades, and it won't change.