Gia Biagi : Gia Biagi is leaving as Chicago DOT commissioner. She is the latest to leave City Hall under Mayor Johnson.
Biagi’s exit notice on Monday marked the end of her four-year tenure as department head. During her tenure, concerns about pedestrian and cyclist safety led to increased advocacy for better citywide bike lanes. August 11 is her final day there.
Biagi is the third department head to leave since Mayor Johnson’s victory. Marisa Novara and Chris Owen recently left their jobs. The Mayor asked Lightfoot’s staff to stay temporarily after taking office.
In December 2019, Mayor Lightfoot appointed Biagi to be the head of the Chicago DOT. She oversaw 4,000+ miles of streets, streetlights, bridges, crossings, 400+ miles of bike lanes and trails,the Divvy bike-share system and e-scooters.
During her time in office, Biagi played a key role in Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to enhance growth and improve walkability and biking near public transit. Her decision to lower the minimum speed for traffic camera tickets was controversial, but aligned with the city’s vision. Critics said the city didn’t do enough to promote walking and cycling as alternative transportation.
Under Biagi’s direction, CDOT focused on expanding the city’s bike lanes and trails by over 100 miles. The City Council approved a pilot program with cameras to catch illegal parking in designated areas. Divvy bikeshare now serves all neighborhoods.
Biagi started a program in 2022 to donate 4,750 bikes by 2026. The program was popular, and Biagi had to reject people. After delays, her department started building a new CTA Green Line stop at Damen Ave.
Before becoming CDOT Commissioner, Biagi worked at Studio Gang Architects. There, he learned about urban design, planning, and strategy. She also worked for the Department of Planning and Development and the Chicago Park District.
When she left, there was a hole at the top of the Chicago Department of Transportation. Her replacement will need to work hard to improve transportation facilities and safety programs.