Kirschbaum appointed SFMTA director of transit

May 10, 2019
Kirschbaum's appointment is effective immediately and she will be responsible for the overall direction and management of the agency’s Transit Division.

Julie Kirschbaum has been named director of transit for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), effective immediately. She will be responsible for the overall direction and management of the agency’s Transit Division, which is largely responsible for day-to-day Muni operations.

“Over the last several months, Julie has proven to be very responsive to feedback from the MTA Board and the general public. Julie is a transit expert and she has taken responsibility for the issues that have occurred on her watch so far. I respect her candor and tenacity and I am confident she will give it her all to bring the changes we need to make our system better,” said Malcolm Heinicke, Chair of the SFMTA Board.

Kirschbaum has been in the position serving an acting role since October 2018 following the retirement of John J. Haley

“I am honored and humbled to take on this critical role,” said Kirschbaum. “While we have a lot of work to do, the steps we are taking now will help improve the system for everyone. If we remain committed to putting our riders first, replacing and expanding our fleet, continuing to invest in maintenance and ensuring our system is in a state of good repair, we will provide San Francisco with the world class system it deserves.”

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, who will be stepping down from his role in mid-August, noted Kirschbaum will bring a new approach to the Transit Division's leadership through her knowledge, talent and passion. 

"I am confident that she is the right leader as Muni continues to move forward," he added. 

Kirschbaum has more than 20 years of transportation experience and was selected in 2017 as chief transportation officer with the responsibility for more than 2,500 Muni staff who work to ensure the delivery of daily Muni service. Her experience also includes managing the Transit Planning and Scheduling group, as well as envisioning and implementing a system-wide redesign known as the Transit Effectiveness Project, which became known as Muni Forward.

Prior to joining the SFMTA, Kirschbaum served as a senior transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and as a consultant in the private sector.

Kirschbaum is a graduate of Brown University and received her Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She resides in San Francisco and is the mother of two small children.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.