We recently celebrated our one-year anniversary with SDOT Director, Sam Zimbabwe.
What a year! Sam joined us just two weeks after the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed and then was greeted with a record breaking month of snow. From the get-go he showed his calm, competent, and steady leadership.
One thing that stands out to Sam is the way our staff takes pride in our work.
“From bridges to sidewalks to signs, there is a high level of commitment among staff and people care about getting things done well.”
Sam likes to lead by example and he trusts his colleagues, asks tough questions, and challenges us to think bigger. He enjoys inserting humor and values his employees as individuals.
Let’s take a closer look at Sam’s first year:
Sam has five ambitious priorities for 2020 that guide all the work that we’re doing this year.
2019 may have been defined by the #SeattleSqueeze, but moving around the city is starting to get a little easier this year.
This past weekend we opened a new transit-only lane on Columbia Street that will improve commutes for the 26,000 bus riders traveling between West Seattle and Burien and Downtown Seattle.
Next month the Link light rail will go back to operating as normal after Connect 2020 construction concludes.
The Lander Street Bridge in SODO will open later this year providing a safe, reliable route for people and freight over the train tracks.
This year, we’re breaking ground on the Delridge Rapid-Ride H in West Seattle, the Bike and Pedestrian bridge in Northgate, and other Levy to Move Seattle projects across the city. We’re installing new bike lanes, new sidewalks, new transit lanes, and reducing speed limits across the city.
We’re also continuing to look for new ways to engage with our community around how we make our investments.
Sam is proud to be leading an innovative transportation department that is an example for cities across the globe.
We’re one of the few transportation departments that has a Transportation Equity Program that aligns with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and we will finalize a Transportation Equity Agenda in 2020.
We’re using data and predictive analytics to manage how curbside lanes are used including freight delivery, biking, transit, and parking.
We’re managing construction impacts on transportation with an innovative Construction Hub Coordination program.
Despite the challenges of building and maintaining infrastructure in a rapidly growing city, Sam’s first year was successful because of the day-to-day effort and teamwork of nearly 1,000 SDOT staff working to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities.