Commissioner Gia Biagi Announces Departure from CDOT
Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gia Biagi today announced the resignation of her post, effective Aug. 11, 2023. Biagi was appointed in December 2019 and led the department during a transformative period, delivering hundreds of innovative transportation projects citywide, creating a nation-leading strategic plan focused on safe, sustainable, and efficient mobility options and building equity into its daily operations.
“As commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, Gia Biagi has been instrumental in implementing transportation systems and critical public infrastructure that improves neighborhoods, connects residents, and promotes safe and sustainable mobility,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “I thank Commissioner Biagi for her efforts, and as a Chicago resident, I am grateful for her service. I wish her all best in the future.”
“It’s been an honor to lead an agency committed to creating safer access to opportunities for all Chicagoans, whether they walk, bike, drive or take transit,” said Biagi. “I am grateful to have worked with CDOT’s exceptional team, and I know they won’t stop in their critical work until they reach every person in every neighborhood.”
With more than 4,000 miles of streets, 2,000 miles of alleys, 300 bridges, 3,000 signalized traffic intersections and nearly 300,000 street and alley lights, CDOT manages one of the nation’s largest and most complex transportation networks. During her tenure, Biagi oversaw hundreds of major infrastructure projects and initiatives:
- Created Chicago’s Strategic Plan for Transportation, the nation’s first urban transportation plan developed in the wake of the pandemic, economic, and racial justice crises of 2020, building equity and mobility justice into internal processes and across city-wide initiatives.
- Developed the Mobility and Economic Hardship Index, analyzing where Chicago residents experience the highest levels of economic and mobility hardship. Index scoring is now a primary criterion to prioritize infrastructure investments.
- Expanded the bike network by more than 100 miles; the bike network has grown by more than 32%, while protected bike lanes have grown by over 60%, and neighborhood greenways grew by 250%.
- Expanded Divvy service to every Chicago neighborhood for the largest bike share service area of any city in North America and introduced e-bikes and scooters to the Divvy system. In 2022, Divvy hit a record high of more than 6.3 million bike and scooter trips, over 60 percent higher than 2019.
- Produced the Chicago Cycling Strategy and vision for the next 150 miles of bikeways, focused on low-stress options and filling gaps in the citywide network.
- Completed pedestrian safety projects at more than 1,000 intersections with a focus on community areas with high crash rates.
- Introduced Chicago’s Smart Streets Pilots, allowing automated enforcement of bus and bike lanes downtown.
- Advanced 30 miles of new streetscapes citywide into design, construction, or completion. This includes 20 miles of streetscapes initiated across 12 South and West side commercial corridors, creating more walkable streets that foster economic growth.
- Created a permanent outdoor dining program in collaboration with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), allowing restaurants to use city streets and curb lanes for service.
- Launched Chicago Alfresco, partnering with 15 neighborhoods to create active spaces anchored by outdoor dining and community-focused placemaking.
- Launched Open Boulevards with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, transforming Chicago’s historic boulevards into active community spaces.
- Planted more than 15,000 trees to support the Our Roots Tree Canopy initiative.
- Led the multi-year $3 billion Chicago Works Capital Improvement Plan, resurfacing more than 500 miles of streets and alleys, replacing nearly 3,000 streetlight poles, completing 19 bridge rehabilitations, and more.
- Completed the Chicago Smart Lighting Streetlight Modernization Program, which involved installing nearly 280,000 more reliable LED light fixtures on streets, alleys, and viaducts, and constructed more than 200 blocks of new street lighting.
- Completed several major pedestrian and bicycle bridge projects, including the 43rd Street Pedestrian Bridge, the Navy Pier Flyover, and the Irving Park Road Bridge, which completed the 312 RiverRun path.
- Implemented Jackson Park Mobility Improvements to support the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) and the Chicago Park District's updated South Lakefront Framework Plan. When these projects are completed, they will provide multi-modal access to the OPC and Lakefront, revitalizing Jackson Park, and strengthening the area.
- Broke ground on the new Damen Green Line CTA station, which will fill an important transit gap on the city’s near west side, and completed design on the State and Lake CTA station, which will replace the existing 100-year-old station.
Biagi’s career has spanned decades in urban planning and design, both in private practice and in public service, with an abiding commitment to Chicago. She will be pursuing new opportunities, to be announced at a later date.