The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District is mourning the passing of David Damiano on Monday.
Damiano joined MTD as a marketing assistant in June 1999 after working previously for The Nature Company and for Smith & Hawken, among others. He was promoted to manager of community relations in July 1999, and to manager of transit development and community relations in January 2005.
Representing MTD on the Downtown Organization board and on the Conference & Visitors Bureau board, Damiano was instrumental in raising the profile of MTD in the community and in generating strong local support for public transit, even among those who don’t use the service themselves.
Among his many achievements at MTD was the implementation of the Seaside and Crosstown shuttle services. He worked closely with residents, local officials and business owners to ensure that the neighborhood shuttles (in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, respectively) each had a look and feel appropriate to its community. These projects are examples of Damiano’s unique ability to engage people in an inclusive fashion.
Damiano also led the push to install new shelters at many bus stops around the district, and he had been working for many years on bringing “super stops” to three downtown Santa Barbara locations. The super stop plan has cleared most of its hurdles and construction on them will begin within months — sadly, too late for Damiano to see the results of his efforts.
A friendly, well-loved and happy-go-lucky guy, Damiano enjoyed interacting with MTD’s passengers, and he developed and expanded many of MTD’s public outreach programs.
He especially loved teaching senior citizens how to ride the bus to increase their personal independence and mobility.
Damiano will be missed by all who knew him.
— Kate Schwab is an assistant manager of marketing and customer service for Santa Barbara MTD.