By Luke Thomas
September 1, 2010
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today swore in Cheryl Brinkman to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors during a swearing in ceremony at City Hall.
The former Board President for Livable City, a non-profit organization that promotes mass-transit and bicycle/walking-friendly neighborhoods, was appointed by Newsom to the seven-member Board because she is qualified and capable, Newsom said.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to serve on the MTA, but I don’t think there’s a better choice for someone to serve on the MTA than Cheryl,” Newsom said. “She’s just simply qualified and capable and she deserves this position and she’s going to do a great job and I’m absolutely confidant of that.”
In 2008, Brinkman and Livable City teamed up with the Mayor’s office to spearhead the implementation of Sunday Streets, a program that closes off streets to auto traffic in revolving, select neighborhoods to promote safe environments for recreational activities, as well as to promote a sense of community for residents. The highly regarded program is based on a similar program in Bogota, Colombia.
“It was thrilling and a bit intimidating, and a tough interview,” Brinkman told FCJ, referring to the interview process with Newsom Chief of Staff Steve Kawa. “He really has a good command of facts and figures and was not pulling any punches. I knew that my background was more grass roots and advocacy based than the current Board Members, so at each interview step I was thinking that would likely be the last step. I was excited to even be interviewed because it made me think that the Mayor takes the advocacy community seriously, that we have good ideas and bring value to the discussion of what kind of City we all want to continue to see develop.”
“I want to add value to the Board with my multi-modal experience, and my commitment to and knowledge of sustainable and livable streets,” Brinkman added. “I learned so much about what we can do with our city streets through my work with Sunday Streets, and I learned how open San Franciscans really are to having a city where all street users feel welcome. Top priorities for me are definitely revenue and increased safety, both on the transit vehicles and on the streets. I’m also really interested in transit priority lanes and streets. Doing more with less can be done if we continue to organize our streets and how they move people. I hear about enforcement and expansion of transit lanes a lot from people in my office at McKesson – so I hope that can continue to be a priority for us.”
In addition to Brinkman’s appointment, Newsom also swore in re-appointees Michael Garcia to the Board of Appeals, John Newlin to the Entertainment Commission, Jordon Shlain, MD, to the Health Service System Board, Todd Mavis to the Human Rights Commission, Rodney Fong to the Port Commission and Aimee Brown to the SFPUC Revenue Bond Overtsight Committee.