Monday, June 25, 2007

Outgoing Commissioner Rooney

I'm guessing Commissioner of Public Works Bob Rooney is only going to be called outgoing in the present context. As the TAB is reporting, Commissioner Rooney is leaving City Hall for Beacon Hill, to become Deputy Secretary of Public Works.

It has been tough to get a read on Commissioner Rooney. He hasn't been a vocal champion of traffic calming or bike accommodations, but he isn't exactly the vocal type. The recent record is a pretty good one.

He was the one to deliver the news to the Public Facilities committee that Woodland Road would get speed tables, without DPW looking for approval from the committee or the board. Ultimately, it's his team that will be delivering the goods in the year of traffic calming. He's been striping up a bunch of bike-friendly shoulders. He and his team turned a request for pedestrian safety on Langley into a bump out proposal in record time. He, City Engineer Lou Taverna, and Traffic Engineer Clint Schuckel demonstrated a flexible, problem-solving approach to traffic calming on Fuller Street. And, I got the feeling that he was genuinely interested in figuring out the problem of snow covered sidewalks.

On the other hand, he's also been cautious in getting share-the-road signs up. And, he's been sheparding Newton's request a waiver of the bike accommodation requirement on Walnut Street. Also, can I hold him responsible for the fact that some hedges on Jackson Street never got trimmed?

In our next Commissioner of Public Works, we could get a more pro-active advocate for liveable streets. But, we could much more easily get a bigger foe.

On a personal note, Commissioner Rooney strikes me as a good guy and a straight shooter.

So, to RRR (as he closes his e-mails) from NS&S, thanks for the good work and good luck in the new position.

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