Category Archives: Oakland Bikeways Campaign

Mayor Schaaf Proposes New Department of Transportation

Mayor Schaaf's budget cover graphicAs 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

Oakland Budget Forum Meetings

LPE Budget Release – 4/30/15 from KTOP TV10 on Vimeo.

Down On The Korner, Out Here In The Street

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.

Ask for further bikeways campaign information and regarding parklets and Park(ing) Day.

Kasper's Korner Plaza Vision-  Design By Jonah Chiarenza
Kasper’s Korner Plaza Vision- Design By Jonah Chiarenza of CD+A

Uptown Art Park Opening

Please join Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition at Telegraph and William St tomorrow night for the celebration of a great art collaboration and the near-term success of attractive gathering space over other developments such as a high-rise or parking structure.

The City will hand out free bike lights at Bikes 4 Life, who will lead a ride from West Oakland to the ArtPark, with valet by Richmond Spokes. We’ll be chatting with residents about ways to improve for cyclists Telegraph Ave and 14th Street. And, of course, enjoying sculpture, music and food trucks!

Uptown Art Park Opening Details

For more background, see this.

Latham Square Community Design Workshop Continues Oakland’s Pavement to Parks Movement

You may have heard of a new trial coming to fruition in Downtown Oakland this summer.  On the stand: an awkward section of roadway between Telegraph Ave, Broadway and 16th Street. The judge: your City and you!

The City of Oakland’s Public Works Agency will run a 6-month pilot period this year to evaluate the utility of this space, named Latham Square, as a public plaza. On February 23rd, the City held a community workshop to publicize the project and to gather neighborhood input for the initial design of the space.

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland is thoroughly excited about this win-win scenario: improve community space in the Downtown/Uptown corridor and limit the dangers posed by this confusing intersection.  While buses are vital to the downtown corridor, the Latham intersection real estate is dominated by cars. Nevertheless, traffic rerouting is not foreseen to have a significant impact and bus route accommodations will be relatively simple.

The workshop displayed a historical photographic walkthrough of the Latham Square space informed by the Cultural Heritage Survey. This reminded participants of possibilities for the setting. Streets full of horse-drawn buggies, streetcars and vintage automobiles have shifted to a car-centric design. The imagery reminded us of the centrality of different transit modes to public aesthetics. Luckily -perhaps because of it centrality transit, buildings, and sightline- Telegraph and Broadway is purported to be the most photographed intersection in East Bay history!

The event continued with current contextual update and open design charette. Members from the design firm Rebar Group (responsible for many of the first San Francisco Parklets) were on hand to describe their current design partnership with the City of Oakland. A cost effective approach is being considered: to create a stimulating yet low cost space which can more intensively altered later. To add a uniquely Oaktown flair, they look to reuse of surplus materials from City and Port storage yards. Similar projects in San Francisco include the Castro Commons and Guerrero Park.

Jamie Parks, Oakland’s Complete Streets Program Manager, explained that both the initial pilot design of the Plaza and the possible design improvements thereafter would heavily considered community input and actual use during the trial. The project occurs the as the City is studying the rest of Telegraph Ave in 2013, and eager to improve the corridor after the failure to pass the northern Bus Rapid Transit segment. WOBO and the East Bay Bike Coalition are collaborating, gathering a community input and advocating for an improved bikeway along Telegraph Avenue.

Workshop ideas floated creatively- visions included art by Oakland artists, food trucks, a cycle track, music, community performances.  Cyclists stopped to connect in what is now a difficult transit funnel, and imagined rolling along a bike lane from the Plaza to Berkeley. Many participants and passerby were struck by the enormous size of the intersection. Others commented on the unique view of from the middle of Telegraph, one never overtly afforded to residents otherwise. While the Fox Theater is frequently appreciated, folks noted that more leisure space at the base of the Cathedral and Rotunda buildings permitted the shine of their facades to be absorbed.

My favorite realization: imagining for the first time an Oakland where horses drank from the Latham fountain, dedicated 100 years ago.

Please let the City know what you imagine. For feedback, designs, and more, see the City’s website.