Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Meet the new boss

I think that it's good news that Alderman Stephen Linsky is going to be the chairman of the Public Safety and Transportation committee and, by extension, a member of Traffic Council. I would characterize him as one of the more pro-pedestrian and pro-bicycle aldermen we have, but not among the most vocally so.

He got a B from NS&S on his answer to the League of Women Voter's pedestrian and bicycle question — How would you encourage safe walking and bicycling in the city, especially during the winter? — mostly because his answer lacked the specifics that other alderman gave. Here's his answer in full:

PTOs at some elementary schools are now sponsoring initiatives to encourage safe walking to our schools, reversing the trend toward increased reliance on individual transportation. Not only does this help promote overall safety, but it also helps combat the rise of childhood obesity and reduce carbon emissions. Through participation with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, I hope to encourage safer biking and walking opportunities throughout the city, including and especially bike paths.

He strikes me as among the more thoughtful aldermen and not a big defender of the status quo. And, he's appeared at Bike and Pedestrian Task Force meetings!

Among Christine Samuelson's virtues as PS&T chairman and Traffic Council member were her strong technical grounding in traffic issues, her apparently good working relationship with the city Traffic Engineer and Transportation Planner, and her willingness to listen to community insight about the particulars of neighborhood traffic issues, although she could be a bit brusque to residents in meetings. (My read on her concern for the neighbors is not universally held.) I hope that Chairman Linsky follows former Alderman Sameulson's example in these regards, save for the brusqueness.

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