Mayor London Breed has named her selection for the new director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and while very qualified he's also pretty hot.
Following the forced resignation of Ed Reiskin, announced in April and effective in August, Breed has finally announced her chosen successor to lead SF's troubled transit and transportation agency, and it's Jeffrey Tumlin. As the Examiner reports, Tumlin is a San Francisco resident with 25 years of transit experience, most recently working for transportation planning and engineering firm Nelson\Nygaard. He's credited with helping reform the Oakland Department of Transportation, and his staff page at the firm notes his work on a Silicon Valley bicycle infrastructure plan, and the San Mateo Sustainable Streets Plan.
"I've spent 25 years advising cities and transit agencies on clarifying their values and using transportation to make values manifest," Tumlin writes to Twitter today. "Now it's time to serve the city I most love."
As the Chronicle notes, Tumlin's selection is being announced Wednesday, but he will still need to be confirmed by the SFMTA board of directors before his scheduled start date of December 16.
It's been a tumultuous year for the SFMTA following more than a decade in which San Franciscans have mostly only complaints about Muni service, Muni meltdowns, the endless reconstruction of Van Ness Avenue, and the endless construction of the Central Subway. It's also a year in which the agency got a new director of transit, Julie Kirschbaum — following the previous director's sexual harassment lawsuit — and a year in which there were a disturbing number of fatalities involving pedestrians on the streets.
Reiskin's April resignation announcement came after Breed had publicly excoriated him and the SFMTA on several occasions, the last being over a broken Muni underground power line that hobbled the entire Muni Metro for over ten hours on April 26.
"Jeffrey Tumlin is exactly the type of forward thinking, results-oriented leader that the SFMTA needs and I am excited to announce his new role as Director of Transportation,” Breed said in a statement Wednesday. “I believe Jeffrey is the right person to improve our public transportation, continue making our streets safer, and ensure that our approach is equitable and serves all of our residents across San Francisco."
Tumlin sounds a note of optimism as he steps into the role, telling the Chronicle, "There is an unusual convergence happening [in SF]. We have an SFMTA board that is smart... and ready to bring San Francisco’s transportation system into alignment with San Francisco’s values. And we have the greatest collection of talent among any city department of transportation."
He says he has a transit-first mode of thinking, where cities should put buses and trains ahead of cars — moving the most people the fastest. Tumlin lives in Noe Valley with his husband of 25 years and says that he rides the K, L, and M subway lines when he isn't commuting by bike.
Tumlin's selection comes following a national search process by the SFMTA board, and it is probably to his benefit that he's lived in the city since 1991 and knows our transit woes all too well.
"It’s a very hard job," says state Sen. Scott Wiener, speaking to the Chronicle. "San Francisco is very crowded and there are a lot of conflicts that SFMTA has to manage. Our bus and train system is complicated. Our bike network is complicated."
In a statement to the Examiner, Tumlin says, "San Francisco is unlike any place in the world and I’m incredibly excited to help build a transportation system that serves all of our residents. I’m focused on putting people first and implementing solutions that work best for a diverse and ever-growing world class city."