Mayor de Blasio announced this morning that Henry ‘Hank’ Gutman will be the new Commissioner of Transportation.
Gutman is a lawyer, who clerked for Judge F. Dooling early in his career, and chairs the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. He has lived in Brooklyn Heights for over 35 years, was instrumental in creating the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and worked on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) panel, which evaluated options in replacing and reconstructing the aging highway.
Gutman is also a trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library, where he co-chairs the Digital Innovation Committee, and a member of the Board of St. Ann’s Warehouse, and previously served as the Board Chair for the then Brooklyn-Central YMCA and led the campaign to build a new facility for the now named Dodge YMCA. He is also Vice-Chair of the New York League of Conservation Voters. Gutman is also a longtime de Blasio supporter, donated over $12,000 to his two mayoral campaigns based on public records, and has “served shoulder to shoulder” with the mayor on many causes, according to de Blasio.
“I am very, very excited to turn to a new Commissioner who will take what we announced in the State of the City, bring it to life quickly and urgently, and then go even farther with the Department of Transportation leading the way as we build a more equitable city,” said de Blasio. Polly Trottenberg resigned in December, and a couple of weeks ago was announced as Deputy Secretary of Transportation in the Biden Administration.
“The Mayor and I believe that if you give people more and better alternatives to car culture, they’ll use them,” said Gutman. Gutman announced that among his first pledges is to build 10,000 new bike parking racks around the city, which will create 20,000 spaces for bicycles.
“Safe and equitable bike parking is a major part of that equation. And this announcement today, and what we’re doing in the next two years, will help transform biking in our city,” he added.
Gutman also announced that he will work to drive equity and deepen Vision Zero, a program de Blasio created in 2014 to reduce traffic related injuries and deaths per year. Gutman added that he will “double down” on the commitment to Open Streets and Open Restaurants, and the city has an “opportunity to drive transformative and permanent change in this city to fight climate change and drive a recovery for all of us.”
“Today’s plan to install another 10,000 bike racks across the city sends a powerful message that 2021 will be our best year yet,” said Margaret Forgione, Acting Commissioner and Chief Operations Officer of DOT.
When asked by a reporter if Forgione was offered the job of DOT Commissioner and turned it down, de Blasio said that it “was not her desire to take on this particular job of commissioner.” pointed He also pointed out the majority of ”our deputy mayors, when you look at commissioners and heads of agencies, consistently from day one, clear majority have been women.”
“Our Department of Transportation is going to help lead the way with absolutely extraordinary and yes, ambitious new initiatives that are going to help make this a better, a more equitable city,” de Blasio concluded. “And they’re going to help to fuel our recovery. And that’s a good thing for all of us.”