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:
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
When was the last time you sang karaoke or mocked up sculptures with architects on the street? Precisely why you want to visit the organizations and businesses creating parklets this Friday!
These “feed-the-meter” parklets are a vision of more accessible and better-designed neighborhoods. Parklets permit a slower-paced absorption of our city’s corridors, mesh well with cyclist and walkers, and most importantly, encourage visitors to linger and share!
Have you craved a more pleasant urban space in your day-to-day? Keep your eyes peeled on Friday, September 20th, as Oakland residents and businesses will transform parking strips into mini-parks.
This Park(ing) Day will be a vision of what Oakland can be if the City Council adopts a codification of a more permanent parklet application process. Celebrate this day of open-source, pop-up imagination to demonstrate what we desire from public space!
How and where? Parklets can be erected streetside in front of residences or commercial businesses. Oakland is our oyster: a parklet can be as simple as coins (for the meter), cordon (for safety) and chairs (for your guests)!
What could be more American than Kasper’s Hot Dogs? A great public space and biking place in Temescal!
Come visit us on July 7th at the Temescal Street Fair from 12 – 6 pm. We’ll be talking about our work advocating for improvements to Telegraph Ave with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, which includes a pedestrian plaza demonstration at “Kasper’s Korner” at Shattuck and Telegraph.
Please see this nice description of the plaza demonstration.
There also we’ll share information on Park(ing) Day, which will create similar transformations of public roadway throughout the city into community parklet space this September 20th.