Transportation director set to depart

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DC’s Department of Transportation has come along way, but many believe it still has a long way to go. Photo: Reginald Johnson

As Washingtonians prepare for the upcoming humidity of August, one DC agency is set to lose its director.

DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo is poised to leave his post. His resignation is effective August 11. He’s leaving city government to work on infrastructure asset management in the private sector with Louis Berger Group.

Along with leaving DDOT, he’ll be stepping down as an alternate member of the Metro board of directors. This comes as the third vacancy announced on the board in the last week. 

“It has been an honor to serve Mayor Muriel Bowser and the citizens of the District of Columbia,” Dormsjo stated in a letter to his staff on Tuesday. Bowser has been aware of the his intent to resign for the last week, and attempted to talk him out of it, to no avail.

Dormsjo touted numerous accomplishments over the past few years by saying, “It’s never a perfect time to transition, but we’ve accomplished a lot at DDOT over the last few years.” The DC streetcar on H Street, new infrastructural road projects across the District, expanding Metro Subway, and the Vision Zero plan are just a few successes.

The city’s Vision Zero plan aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024. This is set to be accomplished by adopting new strategies for enforcement, public education and street engineering. It also calls for an expansion of city sidewalks and bike lanes, along with bike paths. 

Michael Simpson, a DC resident, isn’t sad to see Dormsjo leave. 

“The way I understand it,” Simpson said, “he pushed to get higher traffic fines, and even tried to get the city to allow $1,000 tickets for super speeders. That’s real foolishness right there.”

While some thought the high fine was absurd, Dormsjo defended it with the belief the higher penalties were intended to deter dangerous behaviors responsible for many of the city’s traffic fatalities.

The outgoing director also has supporters, like city resident Catherine Hawthorne.

“I’ve lived in Washington DC for the last 11 years, and I’ve seen the city go through some serious changes when it comes to transportation. I’m pleased with the direction the city has gone, and hope Dormsjo has inspired others who will remain at DDOT to continue the trend,” she said in an email.

As Dormsjo sets to leave, DCDOT continues to move on. The city is continuing to revamp it’s unreliable Metrobus system; Metro bus has currently been at its lowest levels of reliability. DCDOT is continuing to move forward on taking over the management of the DC Circulator from Metro. Currently, the city pays for the service, but Metro manages the contract.

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