There is a new borough transportation commissioner, with strong ties to local communities, in town.
Nivardo Lopez recently was named to replace Constance Moran, longtime NYC Department of Transportation Bronx commissioner who retired in 2016, after serving two months as acting commissioner.
He officially became borough commissioner at the end of January after a candidate search.
Lopez’ plans include advancing several major capital projects already in the pipeline and working with Bronx neighborhoods to implement citywide initiatives, such as Vision Zero, he said.
He was the deputy borough DOT commissioner for a year and half, served as the borough director of the mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and was a staffer for Councilman James Vacca.
Lopez grew up in Kingsbridge, and attended local schools: Visitation and Fordham Preparatory School. He has lived in the borough his whole life, he said.
“The borough is my home, I care very deeply about it and the idea of playing an influential role in the helping the Bronx with its transportation priorities really appealed to me,” said Lopez of his new position.
Lopez comes to the job with a great deal of knowledge about the borough’s communities, as well as experience working with transportation issues, he said.
His experience includes looking at transportation policy from constituent, legislative, administrative and operational levels.
“In some ways, I have seen transportation policy at almost every level,” said Lopez.
He plans on focusing on continuing work on a number of ongoing capital improvements, including Grand Concourse and Pelham Parkway reconstructions and the new City Island Bridge, he said.
He is also going to be in the borough at the start of two bridge projects that have not yet begun: the rebuild of the Unionport Bridge and raising the grade of the bridge structure that carries Westchester Avenue traffic over the Hutchinson River Parkway.
“I am really focused on making the streets safer, making DOT’s infrastructure even more reliable, being responsive to community concerns, and working with communities to develop solutions to local problems,” he said.
He understands that the borough office is the “face of the agency,” and he intends to engage with the community, whether through the community boards, associations or elected officials.
He said he has tried his best to get out there and meet more people in his tenure as the borough commissioner.
Moran, who served as Bronx commissioner from 2001 to 2003 and then again from 2006 to 2016, left some big shoes to fill, said Lopez.
“Connie was borough commissioner for a very long time,” said Lopez.
Vacca said that Lopez was so helpful on transportation issues that when the councilman was made chairman of the NYC City Council’s Transportation Committee, Lopez became the analyst for committee.
“I think (NYC DOT commissioner) Polly Trottenberg, has made an excellent choice,” said Vacca. “He is thoughtful, analytical and knows how to work with community groups.”