Honoring Ward 3 Member Emeritus Eileen McCarthy

The PAC bids a respectful farewell to member emeritus Eileen McCarthy, who stepped down in October after representing Ward 3 since 2012.

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh attended the Oct. 25, 2021, PAC meeting to present a ceremonial resolution honoring McCarthy.

McCarthy, upper left, listens as Councilmember Cheh reads the resolution.

As the resolution states, McCarthy’s “research, writing, and analytical skills have been central to the DC PAC’s deliberations and helped shape the DC PAC’s recommendations pertaining to pedestrian safety and wellbeing.”

McCarthy contributed deeply to the Major Crash Review Task Force, studying past crashes in granular detail to extract lessons and formulate recommendations. She also served on the Mayor’s Interagency Working Group on Autonomous Vehicles, the Committee on Transportation & the Environment’s 2019 Vision Zero Omnibus Working Group, and the Interagency Vision Zero Working Group.

Sgt. Terry Thorne of the Metropolitan Police Department said he has greatly benefitted from McCarthy’s insights during her tenure.

“I truly want to thank Eileen,” said Thorne. “I think back at all the work and the help she’s [given] me over many years, how many times I’ve called her and she’s been there for me. I probably should apologize because I always forget that she’s not a full-time employee for the Police Department and I use her like that. She never once complained. She was always there and I can’t thank her enough for how much she’s done for not only us and the PAC, but all of D.C. and the citizens of D.C., so thank you very much, Eileen.”

DDOT staff recognized McCarthy’s “long and valuable service” and previewed an iconic gift being prepared in the engineering workshop.

Following the tributes, McCarthy said, “Thank you so much, Councilmember Cheh. It’s been a pleasure and honor to serve you and the PAC over the last eight or so years. I have learned so much and am happy my attempted contributions have been helpful. We have a long way to go, but we’ve also come a long way thanks to your leadership and your staff’s hard work.” McCarthy thanked the PAC co-chairs, staff and agency members for their work as well and welcomed Charlotte Lee Jackson, the new Ward 3 PAC member.

McCarthy later reflected on her service by noting, “I first started attending PAC meetings as a member of the public shortly after it was formed. I was impressed by the thoughtful dedication and hard work of its founders and was pleased to join them when Councilmember Cheh offered me the Ward 3 appointment. I have learned a lot over the ensuing years and am both optimistic and pessimistic about the future of pedestrian safety. Optimistic because I know there are advisory council members, advocates, legislators and city workers who are truly dedicated to creating a safe city and because it is looking increasingly likely that federal leadership in transportation is moving to treating safety as a paramount value. Pessimistic because I fear that dedication won’t be enough to make the changes we need to make in order to elevate everyone’s safety over efficient movement of motor vehicles. As I leave the PAC, the best advice I can give to those carrying on the work is to support the good work that DDOT does, but also push back harder against entrenched and driver-centric ways of thinking.”