Author Gabe Klein: ‘Start-Up’ Cities can get projects done – quickly

City governments can borrow lessons from start-up companies to rapidly implement innovative transportation projects in spite of limited resources.

That is a central message of upcoming speaker Gabe Klein, former Zipcar executive, past transportation commissioner for the District of Columbia and the City of Chicago, and author of “Start-Up City: Inspiring Public & Private Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun.”

“We can talk, we can plan, we can talk some more, we can shelve a plan, and we can create new plans, but if you don’t get it done, it didn’t happen, right?” Klein writes in the preface to his book. “With seemingly insurmountable environmental problems created just since the Industrial Revolution, compounded by an ever expanding population, and a culture that accepts an unacceptable death rate on our streets, the time to act is now.

Klein will speak in Iowa as part of The Tomorrow Plan 2016 Speaker Series on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines. A reception starts at 4:30 p.m., hosted by the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) in celebration of its 10-year anniversary and the future of transportation in Greater Des Moines. Klein’s remarks start at 5:30 p.m. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

Klein’s talk comes as Greater Des Moines is moving through the planning of several potentially transformative transportation projects – and looking ahead to implementation – including the Downtown Mobility Study, the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan, and the DART Forward 2035 Plan.


ABOUT: Gabe Klein was previously a regional vice president for the car-sharing company Zipcar and a partner in the food-truck company On The Fly that disrupted the de facto monopoly of hot dog carts in Washington D.C. In 2008, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty recruited KIein to serve as the transportation director for the District of Columbia, where he transformed the department into a customer-focused agency, built protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue, and helped establish the nation’s first and once-largest bike-sharing program, Capital Bikeshare. He went on to serve as transportation commissioner under Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the City of Chicago, where he helped implement Complete Streets policies and used innovating financing to develop the Chicago River Walk.

ABOUT: The Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series is an implementation strategy of The Tomorrow Plan, a plan for the sustainable development of Greater Des Moines, as a resource to community leaders to learn best practices from some of the country’s leading thinkers. The 2016 Speaker Series will touch on a wide range of topics related to creating a high quality of life in metropolitan areas, including the sharing economy, the effects of transportation and housing on public health, walkability, water quality, public transit and more. For more information, please visit