Well, leave it to Councilmember Tommy Wells to break the late night news: Scott Kubly, who has been in charge of the District Department of Transportation's Progressive Transportation Services Administration since 2009, is stepping down. Kubly is perhaps best known for his management of the streetcar, but his portfolio also includes the Circulator bus and Bikeshare programs. Wells wrote shortly after midnight:
News was streetcar czar Scott Kubly leaves DDOT.Big deal for us FOAMERs Scott's a Tangherlini type.Impatient creative & effective in gov't
To translate: A Foamer, Google tells me, is a railroad enthusiast. Tangherlini is Dan Tangherlini, the guy who started the streetcar program as then-Mayor Anthony Williams' head of DDOT before becoming WMATA's General Manager and then Adrian Fenty's city administrator. The rest is inherent in what Kubly has been in charge of doing: Although streetcar planning has had its issues and still faces big challenges (among them reaching a deal with Amtrak to terminate the H Street NE line at Union Station, which I have reason to believe is really holding up the project) the cherry-red new transportation options are the District's most creative and ambitious bid to change the way people get around in this city.
Mayor Vince Gray and Council chairman Kwame Brown showed their commitment to those projects by including full funding for the streetcar and Bikeshare in his latest budget, and keeping Circulator fares at $1 per ride. But taking the transportation committee away from Wells was not a good sign of the continuing bureaucratic support for those priorities.
I don't yet know Kubly's own rationale for leaving, or whether he was forced out for some other reason (for all I know, he's toying again with the idea of running for Council). Will update if I can get more.