Atlanta names new transit department head, unveils strategic plan

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday announced that the head of the city’s infrastructure improvement program will become the commissioner of the new department of transportation. BOB ANDRES / robert.andres@ajc.com

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday announced that the head of the city’s infrastructure improvement program will become the commissioner of the new department of transportation. BOB ANDRES / robert.andres@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday announced that the head of the city’s infrastructure improvement program will become the commissioner of the new department of transportation.

Speaking during a press conference at City Hall, Bottoms also unveiled a comprehensive strategic transportation plan which is scheduled to roll out early next year.

Bottoms said Renew Atlanta general manager Joshua Rowan has been appointed commissioner of ATLDOT.

“Josh Rowan will lead this new agency as we work to improve mobility in every neighborhood,” Bottoms said. “Historically, we have had three departments working in silos from their own plans. Today, we have one team and one plan focused on building streets that safely serve every Atlantan, no matter how they choose to get around.”

The City Council approved the transportation department, dubbed ATLDOT, in June. It is expected to cost $750,000 to fund in its first year.


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The department has been in the works since March 2017, when a study was commissioned to assess Atlanta’s need for a transportation department.

Right now, the city’s transportation needs are scattered across three departments: the public works department, which repairs the city’s roads; the planning department, which designs them; and Renew Atlanta, which makes long-term investments in the city’s transportation infrastructure.

ATLDOT will combine portions of those departments that focus on the city’s transportation needs.

Bottoms also unveiled a strategic transportation plan on Wednesday that outlines 27 goals that will be carried out by the end of 2022.


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The plan calls for the city to work with MARTA to construct a comprehensive transit network; improve the city’s road conditions and street lighting; and adopt the national Vision Zero program, which focuses on reducing fatalities on streets.

A former construction firm executive, Rowan was tapped to head Renew Atlanta in March. His appointment to the transportation department is effective immediately. Rowan will lead Renew Atlanta while the city searches for his replacement, a city spokesman said.


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