Oakland City Council on February 2, 2016 authorized City Administration to start recruiting a new Director for the Department of Transportation. They held off on any endorsement of whether the new department will include functions such as sewers and storm water management—the infrastructure part, and what if any budget adjustment will be needed to pay for new administration positions. Overall, this is good news, as we were worried that budget impacts for more administration positions could stall the proposal. These financial issues will be taken up in June during the mid-cycle budget review.
At Public Works Committee on January 26, 2016, Hearing Room 2 was full with residents, labor leaders, Public Works staff, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, Bike East Bay and Transport Oakland in support of a new Department of Transportation. Oakland’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities Manager Jason Patton spoke in support, as did Ali Schwartz the Project Manager for Measure DD projects. So great to hear testimony from rank & file at Public Works Committee.
There is still much work to do and many issues to discuss going forward as Oakland starts a strategic plan to outline how a new department will be staffed and operated. Local 21 and SEIU representatives, labor unions for city staff, still have concerns, as do representatives of persons with a disability. But overall, at least four city councilmembers voiced support and want to see this happen.
Bloomberg Associates will be working with Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Office to start work on a Strategic Plan for the new Department, as well as recruiting for the new Director position. In addition, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland will work closely with the Mayor’s Office and the City Administration to ensure a collective and transparent process occurs over the next several months to ensure public input.
A full house of interested downtown residents, businesses, planners and protestors filled the room to discuss how to redesign downtown Oakland. Hot topic issues included affordable housing, cultural preservation, promotion of local artists, and safer walking and bicycling.
Recap of the September 3 Kick Off Event
Oakland has kicked off its Downtown Specific Plan process, and over the next year, we have a golden opportunity to get protected bike lanes designed and approved for Broadway and 14th St, two priority bikeways. Our 14th St Bikeway Campaign has been stalled due to lack of staff resources, and the Downtown Specific Plan is just the opportunity to jump start things.
You can help by marking your calendars for a series of design charrettes and workshops starting October 19, 2015. For ten days, Oakland wants to hear your ideas for reimagining Downtown Oakland. What changes would you like?
As expected, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has proposed a new full-service, vertically integrated Department of Transportation (DOT) separate from Public Works. It’s part of Mayor Schaaf’s budget proposal that needs City Council approval by July 1, 2015, the start of Oakland’s next 2-year budget cycle. A new DOT is good news because it will make Oakland deliver street improvements quicker and avoid miscommunications that have resulted in missed opportunities to fix the streets you use everyday.
A new DOT will help Oakland be smart and responsive about leveraging outside funding to integrate walking, bicycling and transit together rather than treat these modes as step children to the all-mighty car.
Details of the proposed DOT include reorganizing existing staff and resources from several departments to create a new full- service, vertically integrated Department of Transportation to expand Oakland’s ability to deliver repaving and other Measure BB funded capital projects, as well as leverage new and existing transportation funds to develop a project pipeline to build the transportation infrastructure needed to support community safety, housing and economic development.
Also of note, Mayor Schaaf is interested in developing support for additional revenue for city improvements. She is proposing to use $150,000 to develop and prepare an infrastructure bond initiative as well as a Wildfire Prevention District initiative for the voters to consider in 2016. The City has numerous unfunded capital needs along with deferred maintenance of infrastructure, buildings and technology exceeding $2 billion. The budget includes funding for conducting a professional poll for a potential bond measure to secure a funding stream in the next general election. The Mayor’s recent survey of Oakland residents shows that a majority favor raising new revenue rather than cutting existing services.
We are encouraged to see the new Mayor’s commitment to investing in the City of Oakland and her recognition that Oakland has long neglected many city upgrades and improvements. We will work closely with Bike East Bay and Transport Oakland to ensure this becomes a robust department with a new visionary leader. You can learn more about the proposed Oakland DOT at an upcoming neighborhood budget forum:
During Bike Fix-A-Thons, Crucible faculty and volunteers create a community bike repair studio by opening our roll-up doors at the back of the building facing West Oakland neighborhood homes. Mechanics work at six work stations, each customized to examine and repair bicycles. If you’ve never worked on a bike, or don’t have much experience we can still use your help! We’ll teach you to fix flats and perform basic repairs! Mechanics will explain the work as they help you, deepening your understanding of bike repair and maintenance. The repairs include patching and replacing tubes, wheel and tire work, cable and gear repairs, chain repair and replacement, and seat and
Please email email@example.com if you want to help out. You’ll be rewarded with a coupon for 10% off any Crucible class, free pizza from Hot Italian in Emeryville, and of course, the gratification of having helped the West Oakland community get rolling again.
The Fix-A-Thons are a direct way to serve the needs of the West Oakland residents, providing them functioning bicycles , and also strengthen The Crucible’s relationship with the local community, connecting with both youth and their families. The workshops are also an opportunity for participants to tour The Crucible, learning more about other art classes and opportunities.
The Crucible’s Bike Fix-A-Thon
Sunday February 22, 2015 , Noon to 5 pm
The Crucible, 1260 7th St, Oakland,
CA FREE to West Oakland residents,with priority given to youth