Dongho Chang said his new job as Seattle’s City Traffic Engineer is a “dream job,” and he’s excited about streets that help people biking and walking.
“I want to build a community where people can get access to what they need to,” he told the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. And though he has extensive experience making roads efficient for motor vehicle travel, he said cars should not be mandatory for people to get around.
Chang takes over the lead traffic engineering position vacated by Eric Widtrand in July. While the city employs many engineers, Chang will be a key advisor to senior city staff and will report to the SDOT director (currently Peter Hahn). Road design changes (like, say, adding new bike lanes or rechannelizing dangerous roadways) ultimately go through the City Traffic Engineer.
A Seattle resident, Chang has spent the past several years as the City Traffic Engineer in Everett, where he helped make the Swift bus rapid transit routes a reality. He expressed pride in that system, saying it was a relatively small investment that made a big impact on community.
As a traffic engineer for 21 years beginning with WSDOT, he said it is exciting to work in the city where he lives.
This won’t be Chang’s first time getting involved with Seattle’s transportation issues. He was a volunteer member of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board before getting the job in Everett. His time on SBAB coincided with the creation of the Bicycle Master Plan.
“To come to this board after sitting on the other side, it’s a little surreal,” he said. He stayed for the whole meeting.