Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Bottigheimer, Faust, Overman leaving transportation posts

I'm not sure why anyone would want to move away from the Washington area, but some people do, and that's forcing us to lose some great people, including WMATA head planner Nat Bottigheimer and DC Council transportation committee head Jeremy Faust. Aaron Overman is also leaving DDOT's transit group.


Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.

Bottigheimer, the Assistant General Manager for Planning and Joint Development, is moving to New Jersey because his wife has gotten an academic appointment in astrophysics at Princeton. Unfortunately, that university is somewhat higher in the pecking order than the University of Maryland, where she teaches now.

He and his team have done a lot of good at WMATA, including leading the long-term transit planning study currently underway. His division is in charge of bicycle and car parking, and spearheaded the new College Park bike garage.

Bottigheimer and former real estate head Steven Goldin advanced many significant projects for transit-oriented development on WMATA property, including at U Street and an agreement with GSA to develop around many suburban Metro stations, especially in Prince George's.

While there have been many frustrating developments from the operations side, the work we've seen from planning has been almost universally terrific. Of course, many top-notch planners remain in the group, so we can expect much good work yet to come.

In a memo, CEO Richard Sarles announced the change. Also, Chief of Staff Shiva Pant is retiring, and current customer service head Barbara Richardson will take over. She will oversee a number of functions at WMATA including planning, while parking and real estate development will be under CFO Carol Kissal. Lyn Bowersox, head of PR, will take over Richardson's job as Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications and Marketing.

Bottigheimer will continue to advise WMATA on the transit plan and real estate issues through the fall as well.

Jeremy Faust, who runs the DC Council's Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation for Councilmember Mary Cheh, is leaving to move to Cincinnati. Jeremy became an expert on transportation policy very quickly once his boss took over the committee, and before that did great work on streamlining the government when running the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment.

Fortunately, Cheh recently also hired Will Handsfield, who as a Capital City Fellow helped roll out Capital Bikeshare, among many other things. Cheh will continue to get very good advice on transportation policy.

Finally, Aaron Overman is leaving DDOT's transit group and will start working for Cambridge Systematics, where he will manage planning projects in the Washington region and around the United States. Overman helped push for better bus service and for a successful streetcar program at DDOT, and sadly losing him will force DDOT to find another person of high caliber to help keep its transit operations moving forward smoothly.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

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Isn't Bottigheimer one of the people who was abusing the WMATA credit cards? We're going to lament the "loss" of someone who was stealing from us? Excellent etch-a-sketch moment Alpert. Are you sure you don't have an agenda?

by Pat on May 17, 2012 3:34 pm • linkreport

All I can say about the credit card thing is that I was able to find out more about what was going on than was reported, and based on that information, I don't believe Bottigheimer was actually personally abusing anything or doing anything unethical or illegal.

by David Alpert on May 17, 2012 3:44 pm • linkreport

Now that would be a piece of reporting that would be welcome. Instead we get nothing from metro and no follow ups from any of the local news outlets. Lack of information is one of the main drivers behind people losing faith in WMATA. That and doors opening on their trains...

by Pat on May 17, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

I can think of LOTS of reasons to leave the DC metro area. Poorly-performing Metro, high taxes, traffic, too many rats in the cage, insane and hateful drivers . . . gosh, the real question should be why don't we all move?

by Transplanted Texan on May 17, 2012 4:12 pm • linkreport

I moved here because of Metro, lower taxes, typical rates of rats, and so I wouldn't have to deal with drivers. Also: the squirrels. It's why I'm still here!

by Bossi on May 17, 2012 4:14 pm • linkreport

I'm with Bossi. So when you moving back to Texas Transplant? I came from there (DFW) in 1994 and haven't regretting coming to DC once!

by Ronnie on May 17, 2012 4:44 pm • linkreport

I actually love it here. Lots of culture, dining, entertainment. And I can live with the taxes and high costs, at least until I retire.

My problem is with the traffic and the "let's do anything but build a new road and let's start with building rail" non-solution.

by ceefer66 on May 17, 2012 5:26 pm • linkreport

come on david alpert. There are so many reasons to move away. Quality of life, high taxes, a new job, to be closer to family. for example moving to western MD or southern MD one is able to purchase a house and LAND for 300k while that will get on a small 1 bathroom rowhouse in DC.

also, please share what it is you know/what you read so we dont continue to think bottig is a thief and that thievery is the real reason he is leaving

by lilkunta on May 17, 2012 5:56 pm • linkreport

David: Thanks for the send-off. We’ve had our ups and downs this past year, but I remain most appreciative of your commitment to these issues, the voice you’ve given the progressive minds in the region, and most certainly the assistance you’ve offered to me throughout the process. Though it felt at first like drinking from the fire hose, I’ve been totally enamored by the world of transportation policy and planning. The Washington region, like many other areas the country and around the globe has some enormous transportation challenges to face. Was honored to be a part of that discussion over the past year. I wish you and the rest of the GGW world the best of luck in the days and month ahead. I’m confident that we all benefit from this forum you’ve created and look forward to continuing to monitor my new home in Cincinnati.

by Jeremy on May 17, 2012 6:09 pm • linkreport

@Jeremy:
Luckily for you, you have a splendid urbanist community out in Cincinnati. Nothing I've found is quite as great as GGW, but something is always better than nothing, especially in the rust belt. Good luck, godspeed!

by OctaviusIII on May 17, 2012 6:52 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure why anyone would want to move away from the Washington area

I encourage you to be curious. Maybe do a blog posting on it, from a definite point of view - municipals leaders: how long or short will they stay? People who have lived here a while know not to bank on the long-term staying power of head-hunted leaders.

by Jazzy on May 17, 2012 7:37 pm • linkreport

Yes, we moved here from Europe because I thought we wouldn't need to own a car. We mistakenly thought Metro would run as well as the German transportation system. Whoa, big mistake. It doesn't even run half as well.

In 4 years in Germany, I went to and from my job at the theatre 2x a day, mornings for rehearsal and evenings for performances. I used streetcar, bus, and train. I was late for work ONCE because of a transit problem.

I never had to pad my travel time because a 35 minute trip actually takes an hour -- if we're lucky.

As for lower taxes, compared to where? The taxes are going to drive us out even before the traffic.

The squirrels are very personable, though. They make me laugh everyday!

Bossi said:>> I moved here because of Metro, lower taxes, typical rates of rats, and so I wouldn't have to deal with drivers. Also: the squirrels. It's why I'm still here! <<

by Transplanted Texan on May 17, 2012 8:45 pm • linkreport

Fascinating to me that Sarles, Richardson, and Bowersox are all Amtrak alumni, and much of their work at Amtrak has been repudiated by subsequent administrations. Heaven help WMATA.

by David Gunn on May 18, 2012 11:04 am • linkreport

Please tell me that is the real David Gunn commenting.

Though something tells me at his age he doesn't spend a lot of time reading/commenting on blogs...

by MLD on May 18, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

The person in charge of customer service, communications and marketing (all of which WMATA is extremely poor at and showing few/no signs of improvement) is being promoted. And this is a good thing why exactly?

by Jacob on May 18, 2012 4:26 pm • linkreport

When David Gunn did the evaluation report for WMATA before Mr. Sarles became permanent GM, remember how the media coverage mentioned that Mr. Gunn doesn't use the Internet.

by Richard Layman on May 19, 2012 11:46 am • linkreport

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