[Durham INC] Durham Announces New Transportation Dept.
Amy.Blalock at durhamnc.gov
Tue Nov 24 16:07:08 EST 2009
CITY OF DURHAM
Office of Public Affairs
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, NC 27701
For Details, Contact:
Beverly B. Thompson
Director, Office of Public Affairs
(919) 560-4123 x11229
(919) 475-2362 (cell)
Beverly.Thompson at durhamnc.gov <mailto:Beverly.Thompson at durhamnc.gov>
For Immediate Release: November 24, 2009
New City Department of Transportation Optimizes Transportation, Transit
and Parking Operations
Mark Ahrendsen to Lead New Department
DURHAM, N.C. - To put more focus on transportation and transit issues
facing Durham and the Triangle region, Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield
has announced the creation of a new Department of Transportation for the
City of Durham to be headed by long-time transportation manager, Mark
"This department strengthens the City's commitment to place a higher
emphasis on transportation and transit planning and development. It's
no secret that this is one of the major issues facing our region,"
Bonfield said. Creation of a Transportation Department completes a
restructuring plan that Bonfield began last year to realign and connect
City-provided services. In addition to traffic operations,
transportation engineering and transportation planning, the new
department also will house transit and parking services.
"I also am pleased that Mark has accepted this challenge, because he has
been at the forefront in Durham to help us reach our goals, with
examples including the planning and advocacy for the Durham Station
Transportation Center and the Durham Train Station," Bonfield said.
Ahrendsen currently manages transportation services and planning,
including traffic operations and development review, and the Durham Area
Transit Authority (DATA), all functions within the City's Public Works
"I'm excited and appreciative of the opportunity to assume a new
leadership role in the City's Department of Transportation," Ahrendsen
said. "As Durham continues to grow, our transportation challenges will
continue to grow as well - such as addressing congestion, maintaining
our attractiveness for new development, promoting alternatives to the
automobile, protecting our neighborhoods and the natural environment
from the adverse effects of traffic, and strengthening our relationship
with other transportation partners in the region. Successfully meeting
these challenges will be critical for Durham's future," he said.
Bonfield added that one of the City's key goals is to expand public
transit. "It is imperative that DATA expand to increase community
mobility, access, and connectivity," Bonfield said. "Public transit is
anticipated to continue to be an increasingly important subject as the
City stretches to reach sustainability goals," he said.
The new Transportation Department will continue to provide oversight of
taxicabs and other vehicles-for-hire and work toward fully integrating
the transit and commuter needs of a growing community. Parking
management, now housed in the City's General Services Department,
oversees contract operations of the City's on street parking enforcement
and the operation of City-owned parking lots. These functions will be
consolidated into the Department of Transportation and integrated with
the residential parking program for better alignment with the City's
vision for transit and downtown parking.
The City's Public Works Department, led by Director Katie Kalb, is
placing increased emphasis on roadway infrastructure maintenance and
improvements, and must now devote more attention to environmental issues
related to stormwater management, Bonfield said. "Without a doubt,
street repaving continues to be a major effort for the City, and Public
Works will continue to enhance our efforts in that area," Bonfield said.
"However, with recently expanded regulatory requirements regarding
Jordan and Falls Lakes, it is increasingly important that the City stay
engaged, remain vigilant and seek balanced alternatives to current and
future stormwater regulations that are intended to protect our natural
resources but could burden our taxpayers well into the future if poorly
designed and implemented," he said.
Ahrendsen has been an employee of the City for 21 years and has served
as manager of the City's Transportation Division since 1997. He serves
as staff for the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning
Organization (DCHC MPO) and has also been an active member of the N.C.
Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the N.C. Public
Prior to his position with the City of Durham, Ahrendsen worked with a
transit management company in Florida and Raleigh, N.C., with the City
of Wilmington, N.C., and with a regional planning organization in
Ahrendsen holds both a master's degree in Industrial
Engineering/Operations Research/Transportation and a bachelor's degree
in Engineering from the University of Iowa. His appointment is
effective January 1, 2010.
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