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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Gabe Klein to leave D.C. transportation post

By Mike DeBonis

D.C. transportation Director Gabe Klein is the first city Cabinet official to publicly acknowledge that he is not being kept in his post by incoming Mayor Vincent Gray.

With his advocacy of bicycle and pedestrian amenities, promotion of public transit and unorthodox approach to traffic and parking, Klein has developed a devoted following among advocates of "smart growth," who have emerged as a potent political force. But he was also at the center of a significant political headache for Gray (D) during his campaign: the city's streetcar program, which was canceled then restored under pressure during council budget negotiations.

Klein, along with several other agency heads, received a termination letter Tuesday.

Klein thanked Fenty and his supporters in a brief written statement, which he read to reporters this morning in his Reeves Center office before taking questions. He said he was "not terribly surprised" by the decision, though he said he had not spoken to Gray directly about his job since the September primary.

He also expressed concern about a little-noticed move in yesterday's budget gap-closing session to eliminate a special fund that allowed the transportation department the ability to easily transfer funds to and from projects. Klein said the move would change DDOT "from an enterprise agency to a more standard type of agency." He called the change "demoralizing."

"It's probably not a good fit for me going forward," he said. "It makes it a more administrative type of job."

Without the fund, he said, popular initiatives such as the 15th Street cycle lanes, Capital Bikeshare and the Circulator bus system "would require a longer conversation" with the council and others.

Retaining Klein, along with planning Director Harriet Tregoning, had been the goal of broad campaigning among some planning and neighborhood advocates. But other groups called for Klein's ouster, criticizing him and his department for inadequate planning and community outreach.

Gray is expected to name his city administrator and chief of staff and discuss other appointments at a Reeves Center news conference later today.

By Mike DeBonis  | December 8, 2010; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty, The District, Vincent Gray  
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Gabe, be happy about a decision you knew was coming! Look at it like this: you would have been working with a bunch of losers.

Posted by: faineant | December 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

And if he kept you, you would have had to bear the hideous breath of Vincent Gray. My that man is touched with a serious case of halitosis. It really worked out for you Gabe, I'll say.

Posted by: faineant | December 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

And if he kept you, you would have had to bear the hideous breath of Vincent Gray. My that man is touched with a serious case of halitosis. It really worked out for you Gabe, I'll say.

Posted by: faineant | December 8, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Why anyone would want to work for Gray is beyond me.

Posted by: kenk33 | December 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Because he is a grown up and doesn't treat the city as his sand box.

Posted by: shepDC | December 8, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Is Klein the guy who made the decision raise parking meter rates so you need a roll of quarters an hour..and to make them active until 10:00 PM downtown...AND ON THE MALL? The, sir, is high-handed banditry, designed to ruin night time cafes and bars and to trap tourists. WHY ON THE MALL for Gosh sakes?

May Klein, if he is responsible for this heinous imperious act, roast in quarterdom he*l.

Posted by: wjc1va | December 8, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Gabe's DDOT is planning to take out the center lane of Wisconsine Avenue in Cathedral Heights and Glover Park.

Residents are scratching their heads asking "why?"

That plan alone is cause for termination.

Posted by: tcs1999 | December 8, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Klein's tenure was absolutely terrible for anyone who drives in DC. When he first got the job, I heard him give an interview on WTO -- when the traffic reporter asked him what his plans were to improve traffic congestion he said "Nothing, people shouldn't drive cars -- they should bicycle and take Metro". It's that kind of attitude that appeals to transient 20-something residents with no kids but shows little to no understanding of the realities facing real families in the city who plan to stay here for life. The attitude fit very well with Mayor Fenty's love of bicycle, which he thought he should force on the rest of the population. Meanwhile we have done some of the worst roads in the area -- cross into Maryland and suddenly the pavement is better, the bridges are better, and the traffic lights are timed right.

Posted by: commuter1971 | December 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Ask anyone who drives in the city for a living -- a taxi driver, a truck driver, etc. what they thought of Mayor Fenty, Gabe Klein and Harriet Tregoning -- just look what he did to 15th Street & Pennsylvania Ave. Those roads actually were among the few that really moved well. Penna. Ave is a total MESS now with lines put down, then restriped, you zig zag all over the place. Then count the number of bicycles in the median. One or two on a perfect day, while cars back up in all directions

Posted by: commuter1971 | December 9, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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