After the press conference, Hausladen said the administration will push the state to put GPS devices on CT Transit buses so New Haveners are “able to reliably and effectively travel ” without “worry[ing] about whether the bus is on time or not.”
Yale’s shuttle system (which covers downtown and East Rock) has the devices; riders tap into phone apps for data on their buses’ locations. Shuttle ridership went up thanks to the devices, Hausladen said. He’d like to see the same happen with CT Transit buses. (Justin Elicker, whom Hausladen supported against Harp in last fall’s mayoral election, promoted the GPS idea during his campaign.)
Hausladen and Harp also spoke of pushing the state to increase bus service in general, including at night.
“How about a system that doesn’t end at 11 p.m.?” Hausladen said.
A state transportation department spokesman failed to return calls for comment before this story was published.
Hausladen, who is 31, is the current alder from downtown’s Ward 7; he will step down to take his new job. At least one candidate has already emerged to run for the alder position in an upcoming special election.
As an alder, Hausladen has been a leading proponent of “safe streets/ complete streets” campaigns to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, in the wake of two 2008 pedestrian deaths.
Mayor Harp and city economic development chief Matthew Nemerson cited that advocacy in welcoming Hausladen at Tuesday’s City Hall press conference.
Harp said Hausladen fits the mold of department heads she wants in City Hall: “People who will challenge the accepted way of doing things and put aside their own personal agendas”; “strong and determined managers” with “innovative ideas.” In appointing Hausladen, Harp extended her hand to supporters of the Elicker campaign, many of whom supported pedestrian- and cyclist-friendlier streets. Nemerson (at left in photo with Hausladen and Harp) called Hausladen a “fierce proponent” for pedestrians and cyclists and for better government use of technology. He also praised Hausladen’s “ability to drive everybody at City Hall nuts.”
An earlier version of this story follows. Note: The first 31 reader comments were posted to this earlier version.
Downtown Alder Doug Hausladen is about to take a new spot in City Hall—as the Harp administration’s new director of traffic and parking, according to several people familiar with the appointment.
Mayor Toni Harp is expected to announce Hausladen’s appointment to the $90,775-a-year at a City Hall press conference Tuesday afternoon.
He will replace James Travers, who left the transit chief post this month for a new job at United Way after overseeing a flood of “safe-streets” initiatives to make New Haven more walkable and bikeable. (Read about that here.) Hausladen is pictured above at an unveiling last August of a traffic-calming “bump-out” at Whitney & Audubon, which he helped make happen.
“Doug began his political advocacy to improve the safety of New Haven streets,” Harp said Monday afternoon. “He brings unparalleled commitment to this new role. I am pleased he has chosen to serve in my administration.”
The decision to appoint Hausladen represents an effort to reach out to supporters of Harp’s opponent in the 2013 mayoral general election, Justin Elicker. Hausladen supported Elicker’s campaign, which emphasized walkable and bikable streets. This month Hausladen also told the Independent that he supports a new breakaway Board of Alders “People’s Caucus” critical of Democratic Party leadership, although he ended up not attending its first two events.
In addition to promoting traffic-calming, Hausladen has led a fight against the federal government’s extended use of the plaza behind City Hall and the courthouse as a parking lot. Click here to say why he ended up climbing on a roof as part of that effort.
Hausladen did not return calls for comment Monday. His appointment will lead to yet another special election this winter, for Hausladen’s Ward 7 seat. The Ward 3 seat opened after Alder Jackie James resigned to take a post with the Harp administration; a special election for the 10th State Senate District seat is set for Feb. 25. If candidate Gary Holder-Winfield wins that election, then a special election will take place for the seat he currently holds, the 94th State House of Representatives seat.
Congratulations Mr. Hausladen! Thank you Mayor Harp, this is a great decision for the future of our city.
posted by: FacChec on January 20, 2014 4:04pm
Again, Harp talks jobs for residents, but never said, she meant jobs for political residents.
The wall of shame is being built.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 20, 2014 4:11pm
Yet Mayor Harp and the Unions will seek to replace Downtown Doug with a carpet-bagging Yale undergrad, a.k.a Ella Wood? How is that making peace with Ward 7 Elicker voters? Couldn’t we possibly work together to find an actual New Havener to represent Sohu and downtown?
Congrats though to Reyes and Nemerson for smartly giving Hausladen the chance to 1) finally sync downtown’s traffic signals, and 2) follow through on Travers’ one-way to two-way street conversions. Frankly I doubt Doug will rest until both needed changes become reality!
Congratulations to Doug Hausladen for the appointment. It’s a big step up for him, and while he’s got enormous shoes to fill (we’ll certainly miss Travers), I suspect he’s up for the job.
Not sure why the accusations of carpet bagging area already going around, though. As far as I’m aware, the open Alder seat hasn’t been given to anyone just yet.
posted by: writewrong on January 20, 2014 4:27pm
I just canceled my subscription to ComCast. This is far more entertaining.
posted by: grounded on January 20, 2014 4:47pm
If Harp endorses Ella Wood or even allows 34/35 to run Ella Wood for this seat, it’ll undo any good will coming out of this appointment. The new Ward 7 alder doesn’t need to be an Elickerite (after all, it’d be nice if the new Ward 7 alder could actually get stuff done rather than just hold press conferences about how much stuff sucks) but please don’t let it be Ella Wood.
posted by: beyonddiscussion on January 20, 2014 4:53pm
This was a good solid pick. Hausladen is a nice, hardworking guy with good expertise and insight in this area. This is a very good fit.
posted by: LoveNH on January 20, 2014 5:02pm
This is a very nice gesture (and good policy, too) from Mayor Harp. I hope she continues on this path of reconciliation. On a lighter note, I want to see if the NHI confers on Mr. Hausladen Jim Travers’ title of “Traffic Czar” or if he has to earn it somehow. Big shoes to fill, indeed.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 20, 2014 5:38pm
I will now call New haven Monte Hall Politics.
“Let’s Make a Deal”
posted by: TheMadcap on January 20, 2014 6:12pm
Maybe it is, but it won’t matter much, Hausladen will have much more of an impact as traffic czar than he would on the board which already has a strong union backed majority, one more or one less isn’t going to make a difference. There’s nothing nefarious here, giving Hausladen the position is a good way to give a consolation prize to Elicker supporters while not having to actually do much, since the new urbanist approach is basically a consensus among most in office in the city now, some just have a higher importance level for it.
posted by: accountability on January 20, 2014 6:15pm
Good for Toni. The guy knows something about traffic and parking, and hiring political opponents because they have some subject matter knowledge shows real leadership.
It also holds out the prospect of starting to heal the divides from a bitter electoral campaign. Well done.
I’m not ready to believe that Doug was chosen solely or primarily for the purpose of opening up his BOA seat for a puppet candidate replacement. It would be unbelievably ballsy and stupid to pull something like that, but if Harp does end up endorsing someone like Ella Wood, my optimistic surprise will quickly turn into a facepalm.
posted by: Bill Saunders on January 20, 2014 7:43pm
Let’s scotch the term ‘traffic czar’ altogether. How about ‘Parking Pundit”.........
posted by: cp06 on January 20, 2014 8:20pm
Good for him! i know he had long complained of having many part-time jobs.
posted by: Eddie on January 20, 2014 9:10pm
Dear anyone who believes that this hire was a conspiracy to open up a BOA seat,
You’re insane. Take off the tin foil hat and put down the pipe. Doug is qualified for the job. Can we just accept the hire on its merits?
posted by: mstratton on January 20, 2014 10:02pm
To clear up any confusion, Doug was totally candid with me and members of the peoples caucus at our very inception weeks ago about his application for the job. You don’t play politics when it comes to hiring the best person to make our city streets safe and green friendly and Doug is clearly the best person. Doug has so many great ideas, and has the expertise to deliver. Mayor Harp deserves praise for widening the tent. It is a basic tenet of the peoples caucus that good policy be supported whether it comes from the mayor, yale’s union leadership, or from the community. Hiring Doug is good public policy.
The question remaining is who fills Dougs seat. This should be a concern for ward 7 and New Haven. Another yale union alder means one less voice on the board as this group speaks with one voice on behalf of a timid agenda filled with buzzwords but no meat. The peoples caucus provides a place for those alders desiring a more independent and open minded BOA. Dissent is welcomed as it generates the best results. Mindless opposition to Harp or the union alders on agenda items good for new haveners is not welcome.
So I invite candidates for ward 7 and all readers here to the peoples caucus legislative retreat on Saturday January 25, 4-6pm at Springs Church. Come to hear the principles that guide us, how we plan to get our agenda passed, and help us craft a truly new haven resident focused agenda. Our politics should reflect and honor the wide array of experience and opinion that is New Haven.
posted by: Guido Brunetti on January 20, 2014 11:20pm
Inspiring choice Mayor Harp! Doug is worthy and it’s gratifying to know this has been acknowledged. Choosing Doug is exemplary leadership in action.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln -Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.
posted by: K Harrison on January 20, 2014 11:53pm
Good luck to Doug in his new job, hope for all of our sakes he does a good job; good luck to the voters of New Haven as we head into special-election season; and a baffled shake of the head to everyone who thinks this is a complicated scheme relating to last year’s Ward 7 election.
posted by: teachermama on January 21, 2014 7:57am
Glad the city is making use of a charismatic advocate for the hardest-working, most needy users of buses, bike lanes, and pedestrian access. We need a strong voice for these issues, to improve job access and the economic future of New Haven. Good choice Toni and congrats, Doug!
posted by: Westville voter on January 21, 2014 9:21am
So, a few months ago Harp and her Union backers thought (wrongly) that Doug was such a terrible alderman that they had to relocate a naive student to run against him. Now they see him (correctly) as the ideal person to run an important city department. The mayor and the UNITE bloc need to explain this change of heart, but they won’t. No wonder so many of us are so cynical! Good Luck, Doug!
Congratulations and thanks to Mayor Harp for a solid, forward-thinking choice to take over TT&P. Doug is well-qualified to lead this department and understands the myriad transportation issues facing the city.
posted by: robn on January 21, 2014 9:47am
Killing the messenger EDDIE?
I don’t begrudge Doug this job. I think he’ll be good at it and I think it was both a wise and strategic pick for Harp. If I’m not mistaken, the original 17 person union supermajority has taken quite a hit and needs reinforcements.
Departed from the BOA were Gabriel “no-show” Santiago and now Jackie James; the defections of Robinson-Thorpe and Foskey-Cyrus have put another chink in the coalition so more are needed to cement votes.
Mayor H (or should I say Bob Proto and Gwen Mills) running Ella Wood again would be lowly and cynical and I quite expect it to happen. Lets see if they surprise me. If they do, their candidate will undoubtedly be in their pocket.
posted by: Indigo on January 21, 2014 11:17am
Very happy to see Doug in this job. He’ll be great.
Yet to suggest that his appointment indicates that Harp heard the 9k+ New Haveners who voted for Justin Elicker is a joke. Elicker’s campaign did not “emphasize walkable and bikable streets.” It emphasized an end to pay-to-play politics and clean government focused on delivering solutions for the people rather than an endless cycle of political kickbacks.
Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Doug, pay-to-play is the name of the game in Harplandia.
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on January 21, 2014 11:22am
@Eddie: Well put.
@robn: I know something significantly more “lowly and cynical” than Ella Wood running again for Ward 7 alder: immediately proclaiming Hausladen’s appointment by Mayor Harp to be nothing more than a conspiracy to get Ella on the BoA. I would not be surprised if someone union-friendly did run for the seat, but that in no way supports the notion that it was Mayor Harp’s goal when making the appointment. TheMadcap is absolutely right that Hausladen has much greater power in his appointed position than on the BoA.
posted by: TheMadcap on January 21, 2014 11:43am
“Elicker’s campaign did not “emphasize walkable and bikable streets.”
I don’t think we followed the same mayoral campaign.
posted by: robn on January 21, 2014 11:52am
Picking off opposition Alderpersons with paid appointments is politics 101 and in this case, the coalition numbers point directly to intent.
posted by: HewNaven on January 21, 2014 12:38pm
Congratulations to Hausladen. He seems like a good fit for the job. I really hope that Ward 7 gets an experienced citizen to step up and replace him as alder. It would be sad to see the ward assaulted by the UNITE troops as it was last summer. I think most of us agree the Ella Wood debacle was a black eye for New Haven politics. We all deserve better than that. Wood, herself, deserves better than that. I can’t vote but I would support anyone who is autonomous and intelligent.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 21, 2014 5:11pm
I hope that as a last aldermanic act Doug will set up a meeting between the neighborhood’s ward committee, and Union leadership.
Is Gwen Mills and company dead-set on Ella Wood? Couldn’t we discuss alternatives? Why not a bona fide New Havener who might respect the majority’s agenda while serving as a long-term representative of the neighborhood? (Ella graduates in 16 months.)
posted by: P Christopher Ozyck on January 21, 2014 6:42pm
Congrats Doug. Now onto business. CT transit needs a lot of evaluation. Lets start with bus stops. They are dirty and a burden on adjacent property owners. Users of the bus also wait in mud and filth. Can we get ct transit to hire green team folks to ride to a stop clean catch next bus stop clean and so forth. Pave stops appropriately and add trees for shade.
Can we get stops spaced out at three block on average instead of two. Most riders I talked to would like this. All the drivers following the bus will appreciate this and more space can be freed up for parking or bump outs.
More users of the bus system may cut down on the correlation between bus routes and crime spikes associated with these routes.
Great idea on later buses, at least on major routes.
posted by: newhavenboom on January 21, 2014 6:47pm
Awesome. Doug will do great.
posted by: darnell on January 21, 2014 6:50pm
Can someone please explain something to me?
Why when a black politician takes a job with the Harp administration it is the worst decision in the world, but when a white politician does the same, it makes Harp super smart?
posted by: darnell on January 21, 2014 6:51pm
And BTW, I think Doug is a great hire.
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on January 21, 2014 7:03pm
@robn: That may certainly be the case in some situations (i.e., Jon Huntsman), but it is a very far stretch to apply it in this case. Again, Hausladen will have significantly more power in this position, and it is far from certain who will win the special election to fill his vacant seat. If SOM administrator Abby Roth wins, according to your math that would be a loss for Harp, and run completely counter to your conspiracy scenario.
Oh, by the way, Harp-supporter Roland Lemar has already announced his support for Roth. Wanna fit that into your theory somehow?
posted by: getyourfactstraight on January 21, 2014 7:09pm
I think Doug maybe a good choice. Big shoes to fill after Jim Travers, but I think he can do it. If Woods runs again, shame on Mayor Harp! My gut is telling me that maybe the case and I am cringing because this has just got to stop with union influence every time one turns around. Not good for this city!
posted by: absolutmakes on January 21, 2014 7:55pm
A savvy political move by Mayor Harp. I think Doug will do a good job in this position.
I agree 100% with the idea of a GPS-enabled CT Transit system. Also like the idea of expanding service (in general) and extending operating hours.
It would be a shame if Ella Wood were to take the vacated BOA seat. I don’t know much about Roth, but at first glance she appears talented and capable.
posted by: robn on January 22, 2014 8:32am
The poll should have include the option, “abso-freakin-lutely”. BTW, why aren’t school busses equipped with GPSs also for the same reason?
posted by: Joe City on January 22, 2014 9:27am
To all of you people who think the qualifications for being the head of the probably the most technologically advanced department in the city are being bike and pedestrian friendly, you are completely lost. Doug Housladen has absolutely no qualifications or background for this position other than having complained about most everything. Does he know anything about dealing with the state DOT, the myriad of traffic systems used, about management, or even about getting along with the rest of B of A? No, this is another blunder by the Harp administration.
posted by: K Harrison on January 22, 2014 10:36am
BURN. Also, appreciate the perspective. Thanks. Like many here, I don’t know a ton about the details of this job (or many jobs, really) at City Hall, and your cranky insights are helpful.
posted by: Mike Slattery on January 22, 2014 10:54am
I am very excited to see what Doug will accomplish.
He’s a got a degree in SCIENCE!, so I’m confident he’ll grasp the reams of data as well as Jim Travers, a former tech exec, did. I’ve seen Doug master new tech for practical use. So while I doubt he’ll be programming routers, I trust him to properly evaluate whether longer yellow lights will tend to make my kids safer or not. I trust him to properly evaluate whether changing the bus stop interval to three blocks as mentioned above will work.
Doug’s managed commercial property, worked with corner stores, and lives where sidewalk and curb space are at a premium. As an alderman he’s heard all manner of access and parking and flow and safety issues. Given a planning or maintenance situation, Doug will be able to relate to many stakeholders and work a problem to a fair conclusion. I trust that Doug will help fill the gaps in the Complete Streets rules - namely that coordination among agencies is not spelled out, and is up to the agency heads involved in a claim.
Being bike and pedestrian friendly is just a plus on all that. For those who think that’s a luxury, I’d have to ask if you live downtown. That’s where the units are going up that will increase our tax base, and that’s where folks are going to want to get to work or errands or play (or their car) without needing to motor there.
So I’m saying to those that are hopeful and those that are skeptical, let’s not take anything away from Doug by assigning his hire to political chess. Good luck Doug!
Congrats Doug!! You are a good man for this position…
Sidenote.. Mayor Harp’s face in picture #1, PRICELESS!!!! (In Arnold’s voice from Different Strokes, What you talkin bout, Doug)
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on January 22, 2014 12:08pm
#1 on the agenda for Hausladen ought to be pushing for his guy Elicker’s plan to merge Yale Shuttles with CT Transit and desegregate New Haven’s transportation systems. Yale can take however much money it is currently spending running the shuttles and pay that to CT Transit for bus passes for its ridership.