After nationwide search, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently announced he selected Gloria Jeff, former director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), as the new general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Jeff began working with the Villaraigosa administration on March 20, and will be charged with developing and implementing a traffic relief plan for Los Angeles.
“Gloria Jeff is a proven leader and manager, with a track record for relieving traffic congestion,” said Villaraigosa. “She also shares my vision for improving transit, supporting transit-oriented development and developing a goods movement strategy for Los Angeles. Ms. Jeff is a dynamic individual who has succeeded at all levels of government. I have the utmost respect for her and I am confident she will be instrumental in easing traffic congestion in Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa added.
After an extensive search to find the brightest and most innovative transportation leader, Villaraigosa selected Jeff, who has the strongest and most complete background for the position. Jeff has a track record of tackling traffic congestion, managing an operational department, developing transportation policies, completing major transportation infrastructure projects and securing federal and state funds.
In addition, Villaraigosa was impressed by Jeff’s focus on reducing vehicle accidents and improving safety on city streets and freeways. Experts estimate that 25% of all traffic congestion is related to accidents. Jeff is also an expert in goods movement and is committed to improving and expanding public transit alternatives.
A registered professional engineer and urban planner, Jeff has worked at the federal, state and local levels of government. She served as the deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) under President Bill Clinton, lead planner for the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority and most recently director of MDOT.
With Jeff’s appointment, LADOT—the agency that handles traffic signals, lane striping, parking enforcement and management, capital transportation projects, city transit and transportation planning—will have a new leader who is committed to easing traffic congestion, improving transit services, supporting smart growth and protecting the environment.
“Here in L.A. the big challenge is not just the rush hour, but realizing Los Angeleans live their lives 24 hours a day,” Jeff said. “I’m hoping to focus on a corridor approach…and not try to attack the whole elephant at one time.”
In 2005, with Jeff at the helm, the MDOT improved 27 miles of roadway streetscape, created 117 miles of pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, refurbished four roadside parks and preserved three historic bridges. In addition, Jeff managed the rehabilitation of 22.5 miles of track for the state’s rail system and oversaw the rehabilitation of 20 bridges.
Jeff also is known for her work in reducing traffic congestion in the nation’s busiest corridors. As manager of transportation programs at Parsons Brinkerhoff Inc., Jeff spearheaded a program to reduce traffic congestion on Georgia State Route 400, Atlanta’s busiest corridor that included road widening and construction of high occupancy vehicles lanes.
Jeff brings experience at the federal level from her tenure as deputy federal highway administrator for USDOT. Jeff adds another powerful leader in Villaragiosa’s administration who can help secure federal funds for transportation, transportation infrastructure and goods movement.
At LADOT, Jeff will succeed interim General Manager Frances Banerjee, a 30-year public sector management and transportation leader and former LADOT general manager. Banerjee was appointed by Villaraigosa in September 2005 to manage LADOT on an interim basis and oversee the recruitment of a new permanent general manager for the department. “Once again, Frankee Banerjee has been an outstanding, tireless public servant for Los Angeles and I cannot thank her enough for serving on and helping me build my management team,” said Villaraigosa.