Michael Rogers, the city of Dallas' transportation director. (Courtesy: City of Dallas)

Transportation

Dallas Loses Its First-Ever Transportation Director

Michael Rogers is leaving Dallas City Hall for the greener pastures of Glenn Heights.

Michael Rogers, the first-ever transportation director for the city of Dallas, is leaving to become a deputy city manager in the southern suburb of Glenn Heights. Rogers was hired from Raleigh, North Carolina in 2017 and charged with creating the city’s first comprehensive mobility plan. According to a memo from City Manager T.C.  Broadnax, that plan is being finalized. Broadnax describes it as “a five-year mobility roadmap that will enhance the region’s implementation plans for transportation, economic development, housing, and job creation.”

It will do so by judging transportation investments on not just their ability to move people from one place to another, but their impact on land use, climate, and equitable development. It will also include a path forward for making Vision Zero operational, the city’s initiative to reduce pedestrian deaths to zero. Rogers wanted the transit plan to help inform how our streets, freeways, trails, and sidewalks all influence how the city develops. His department oversaw a citywide survey that helped chart its priorities.

Rogers’ job had him at the table with local and regional transportation agencies, like the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which directs federal transit dollars, as well as the Texas Department of Transportation and Dallas Area Rapid Transit. He was closely involved with planning a forthcoming hub for high speed rail near the convention center.

Rogers was a key figure in negotiating changes to Interstate 30 in the Canyon near downtown, as well as future phases that will change how the freeway looks as it heads east to Mesquite. That freeway tore neighborhoods apart; Rogers wanted to make sure the city vocalized its desire to bring them together through design, perhaps burying the highway and adding pedestrian bridges that would get people safely across.

“Stitching the community together was really what we wanted to do in a significant way instead of having a Dallas that’s north of I-30 and a Dallas that’s south of I-30,” he told me a year ago. “How do we bridge that gap?”

Rogers was also City Hall’s point person for the overhaul of its aging traffic signals, securing millions in bond dollars and state grants to help pay for it. Recently, he took some heat from mobility advocates and the mayor for abruptly pulling scooters from the streets, saying “a lot of people are still riding these scooters, and they seem to be up to no good.” Six months before he made that decision, the City Council had voted to keep the scooters.

He was a finalist for a top mobility job in Austin in 2019, but lost to the city’s existing transportation director. Rogers’ last day at City Hall was November 26. Assistant director for transportation Ghassan Khankarli will lead the department on an interim basis.

Rogers did not return requests for comment on Monday afternoon.

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