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.
Sign on to support the DOT by Friday May 29, 2015
Read the Full Letter of Support from WOBO
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:
More on Mayor Schaaf’s 2015-2017 Budget Proposal to City Council
LPE Budget Release – 4/30/15 from KTOP TV10 on Vimeo.
WOBO and 24 other organizations across the state have signed a comment letter formally requesting that the California Traffic Control Devices Committee postpone an amendment of the interpretation of the “WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT” sign due to concern about potential impacts.
Details of the concerns are outlined in the letter here. Due to the unique traffic safety conditions for children, any changes must be evaluated extensively. Thus our coalition of organizations including CalWALKS, PolicyLink, Safe Routes to School, and many others are asking for further study of the proposed amendment.
Thank you for your support of the new community gathering space at Latham Square Plaza! Scroll down to sign our petition if you haven’t already.
Latham Square Final Decision on January 7 – Be There!
On the evening of January 7, the City Council will be deciding on the permanent fate of the 1500 block of Telegraph. Please mark your calendars for January 7 and come speak out for a pedestrian-friendly Latham Square that evening at City Hall!
Thanks to your support, the Rules Committee of the City Council has asked that all options for Latham Square be on the table at this meeting – a full closure to cars, a partial closure, or the restoration of two-way traffic (with a new traffic signal that would increase car and big-rig use of the street). Your emails and statements at the Public Works Committee meeting on Tuesday were instrumental in keeping the plaza option for Latham Square alive – but we need your help for a victory at the full Council.
In addition to coming to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 7, at 6pm, can you please share the petition in support of Latham Square Plaza with your friends, coworkers and neighbors? Show the level of support for the plaza by directing people to this page, LathamSquarePlaza.com, to sign the petition below.
And when you hang out in Uptown, please tell businesses that you support the Square. There is a lot of miscommunication about the economic effects and the support for the plaza among merchants, and hearing from customers matters more to entrepreneurs than hearing from the City.
Help make Uptown better this holiday season by:
- Attending the January 7 City Council Meeting, at 6pm (more specific time to come, it may be late at night)
- Sending the petition at LathamSquarePlaza.com to your friends, neighbors and coworkers for them to sign
- Tell the salesperson, waiter or bartender when you are in Uptown that you support the Plaza at Latham Square
Thank you for what you’ve already done – we have made good progress. With people power, we can win and have a pedestrian-friendly Latham Square.
We the undersigned urge the Oakland City Council to embrace the vision of a pedestrian-oriented downtown and create a car-free plaza at the entrance to Telegraph Avenue, Latham Square. A pedestrian plaza would:
- Increase access to Uptown and City Center
- Slow traffic on Telegraph, improving pedestrian safety
- Respect the historic heritage of the Latham Square Fountain
- Improve traffic flow on Broadway
- Better connect Uptown to the rest of Downtown
- Put people before cars, for once
California WALKS, “a statewide organization of affiliated nonprofit and volunteer groups dedicated to creating healthy, safe, and walkable communities” has put forth a letter to California’s Secretary of Transportation outlining the principles needed in Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed Active Transportation Program. We understand that these principles are necessary in order to ensure that walking and pedestrian needs are adequately addressed.
Walk Oakland Bike Oakland stands behind California WALKS in advocating for these principles, believing that standards need to be set in our transportation policy that ensure walkability.
In their letter, California WALKS asks for the following:
- “Ensure Eligibility of Walking & Pedestrian Projects in Statute”
- “Prioritize Safety & Address Inequities in Traffic Fatalities & Serious Injuries”
- “Focus Investment on Mode Shift for Short Trips”
- “Reward Localities for Pedestrian Planning & Assist Disadvantaged Communities without Resources to Conduct Pedestrian Planning”
- “State & Regional Advisory Committees for Guidelines & Project Selection”
- “Ensure Adequate Staffing for the ATP in the Caltrans Division of Local Assistance, Office of Community Planning, and the California Transportation Commission”
Click here for the full version of the letter. And stand with WOBO and California WALKS by tweeting your support for these policies to @JerryBrownGov
Have you seen the plans to improve community vibrancy, connectivity and safety in the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan? If not, check out the latest draft (July, 2012). It’s awesome, BUT there are a few problems. Even though:
- The Planning Commission clearly indicated one-way roadways presented major barriers to safe, vibrant communities in November, 2011.
- Community members have spoken loudly about the dangers of auto traffic speeds and difficult crossings, especially on one-way streets.
- Major connections from BART and preferred transit routes to adjacent destinations such as Old Oakland, Jack London Square, Civic Center, Eastlake, West Oakland, Chinatown are difficult on foot and by bike.
The plan proposes delaying significant roadway improvements that can safely support increased foot and bicycle traffic, as well as improved auto traffic circulation; and some important details are going by the wayside. Fixes to the most egregious roadway segments in the area are being pushed out 6 to 10 years! The Bicycle Master Plan for improved street bicycling facilities through Chinatown is also threatened.
Council Members Kernighan and Kaplan need to hear support from you today. In just five minutes, you can let them know that you want improved walking and bicycling facilities in this area, and you want it sooner, not later. Send an email to Councilmembers Kernighan and Kaplan.
We’ll get the email started but you can personalize the message with who you are and why improving biking and walking conditions in the neighborhood is important to you. Use the email in the link above or personalize the message below.
Want to know more about the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan? Visit the project website or emailChris@wobo.org to learn more about Walk Oakland Bike Oakland’s invovlement in the planning process.
Dear Councilmember Pat Kernighan, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan:
I, [as a member of WOBO/ neighbor / visitor / local business], applaud the creative and visionary elements in the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan that can transform the area into a regional destination. BUT deferring street improvements on critical active pedestrian links and delaying the re-conversion of significant one-way roadway segments to two lanes will hinder the ability of Oakland residents and visitors to get to the area as well as to adjacent destinations.
- The Plan must immediately prioritize the reconversion of the two-block one-way segment of Harrison Street to two-way, without deferring to Phase 2…a distant six to ten years out.
- Keep bicyclists safely moving with the flow of traffic through Chinatown core as designated in the Bicycle Master Plan. The Plan must address a permanent solution for better loading and unloading zones to mitigate dangers to auto and bicycle traffic.
- Anything else about the plan that concerns you.
I want the Lake Merritt, Eastlake and Chinatown and adjacent destination areas to thrive. But I want the areas to be safe and accessible to all users of the roadway.