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The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done

While right-wing Republicans gridlock Washington, a dozen leaders are demonstrating just how effective government can be
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janette sadik-khan
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Janette Sadik-Khan
Transportation commissioner, New York City

What She's Done In four years, Sadik-Khan has installed 250 miles of bike lanes in the city, doubled bike ridership, transformed half of Times Square into a car-free urban oasis and created bus express lanes. Such measures have reduced traffic fatalities to lows not seen in a century. Dubbed the "high priestess of people-friendly cities," she's sharp-minded – using data to drive her decision-making – and sharp-elbowed, pushing for change with a with-us-or-against-us intensity.

Admirers Say "She's a clear leader with a transformative vision for New York," says David King, a professor of transportation at Columbia University. "Seeing people sitting at tables in a wonderful pedestrian plaza, it immediately seems as if Times Square couldn't possibly be any other way."

Enemies Say New York Post columnist Cindy Adams snidely praised Sadik-Khan – "the wacko nutso bike commissioner" – for "turning this great city into a bicycle lane."

Gives Us Pause Her take-no-prisoners style pisses people off. "There is a needless level of conflict," said Bill de Blasio, New York City's public advocate. "Even if one appreciates some of Janette's goals, it's clear the approach has been very alienating."

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