Gail Tait-Nouri, the bicycle coordinator for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, just retired. She has been a tremendous boon for bicycling in the county throughout her many years of service as coordinator. She’s advocated for cyclists within county government and served as an excellent liaison between DOT and the bike community. And she’s never been afraid to say or do what she thinks is right.
Her supervisor, Aruna Miller, is also supportive of bicycling, but she is currently on a leave of absence because she’s a state delegate serving in Annapolis for another month or so.
In the mean time DOT has assigned Robert Elder to cover for Gail as far as immediate work is concerned. (May 25 2012 update: Ms. Miller has been assigned as acting bike coordinator so bike matters should be directed to her instead of Mr. Elder.)
MoBike and many bicyclists have made it clear to the County Executive and Council that the full-time position must be re-filled as soon as possible. Likewise the Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group (MCBAG) must continue. MCBAG is the informal group of cyclists sponsored by DOT that meets on the third Thursday of each month. Anyone can be a part of MCBAG. At MCBAG, DOT aims to disseminate information (not always reliably) about projects with a bike component and facilitate discussion and input. It’s a good sign that the next meeting is going to happen as scheduled and Gail’s backup will introduce himself there. There is some discussion of whether MCBAG should take on a more formal role under which DOT must notify MCBAG of all projects with a bike component as they are developed (rather than after we see the traffic cones!). Now that the county’s official pedestrian/traffic safety committee has been expanded to include bikes (PBTSAC — Pedestrian, Bicycle & Traffic Safety Advisory Committee) perhaps that committee can contribute in that role.
Anyway, it will be sad to see Gail go (for us, maybe not for her!). She’s been a personal friend of mine as well as an advocate. Fortunately she’s landed on her feet and is now working for WMATA.