Meet Dongho Chang: “Seattle’s chief traffic engineer is less concerned with how fast cars are getting through the city and more concerned with how people — on foot, on bike, in buses and cars — interact with the streets.”

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A boy can dream. I had such high hopes for Larry Summers, and maybe he’ll be able to rally, but in the end — so predictably, and so sadly — Jeff Gahan’s dull mediocrity corrupts everyone and everything it touches.

We could have been contenders, alas. Meanwhile, try to imagine our city hall functionaries walking or riding bikes.

Can’t do it, can you?

Perhaps they don’t feel safe. If only they had some way of correcting this fear …

Meet the man striving to make Seattle’s streets safer, more efficient, by David Gutman (Seattle Times)

Seattle’s chief traffic engineer is less concerned with how fast cars are getting through the city and more concerned with how people — on foot, on bike, in buses and cars — interact with the streets.

Dongho Chang’s Twitter feed is boring.

You want caustic political opinions or an endless cavalcade of bad news? Look elsewhere.

What you’ll get from Chang, the city of Seattle’s chief traffic engineer:

Pictures of plastic speed bumps outside a West Seattle elementary school. New crosswalks in Lake City. New curb ramps in South Park. Protected bike lanes all over the place.

Chang’s feed is a catalog of changes to Seattle’s street grid and urban landscape. Almost all those changes are small, but when taken together, they paint a picture of a city in transformation, one less focused on fast car travel and more focused on making streets safe and reliable for walkers, bikers, bus riders and drivers.

Seattle isn’t building many new streets these days. Chang, along with dozens of engineers and technicians, works to make the streets we have function better, rejiggering speed limits and lane lines, trying new ideas to make the streets more welcoming and more efficient.

The results, like them or not, are apparent: Seattle’s not getting easier for drivers anytime soon. But it’s one of the safest cities in the country for pedestrians. And while downtown neighborhoods have added 45,000 jobs in the last six years, the rate of drive-alone commuters has declined, and transit use has spiked.

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