3 Things to Watch, 3.14.17

Transport Oakland is committed to shining a light on all the transportation-related things going on in Oakland and the East Bay. We recognize that it’s hard to keep up with all the agendas, PDFs, and arcane terminology. To that end, we’re launching a new regular series called “3 Things to Watch”. We’ll demystify what’s going on in the transportation world and let you know how you can make your voice heard on issues that matter to you. Tips for future 3 Things to Watch items should be sent to christopher@transportoakland.org.

#1: A successful OakDOT starts with a good City budget

What it is: The City of Oakland is in the midst of it’s 2-year budget process. They just launched a page for the 2017-2019 budget on the City’s new beta website. It’s a bit thin so far, but expect to see more information and resources as the City’s budget process rolls on.

What it means: The City budget will include how much funding is set aside for Oakland’s new Department of Transportation (OakDOT), which will dictate how many new staff OakDOT can hire. Without more staffing, OakDOT will have a near-impossible task of delivering all of the street repaving projects promised under Measure KK. Securing a slice of the budget pie for OakDOT means successfully delivered projects in the years to come.

How you can get involved: For policy diehards, Transport Oakland is organizing our own City Budget committee. Sign up to help us watchdog the budget and craft a strong argument for adequately funding OakDOT.

You can also show up at one of three community meetings to learn more about the City’s budget process and let staff know your priorities.

  • Tuesday, March 14, 6:30 – 8:30PM, East Oakland Boxing Association, 816 98th Avenue, hosted by East Oakland Collective
  • Wednesday, March 22, 6:00 – 8PM, Sullivan Community Space (West Oakland), 1671 8th Street, hosted by the Prescott Neighborhood Council
  • Wednesday, March 29, 7 – 9PM, Hiller Highlands Country Club, 110 Hiller Drive, hosted by the North Hills Community Association.

You can also come to the Oakland Bicyclist & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) meeting this Thursday 3/17 at City Hall at 6:00. Two agenda items are scheduled for the City budget process, as well as a review of previous budgets’ transportation expenditures.

And in case you missed it, read up on our blog post last week about the City’s first steps towards measuring equity as part of the Measure KK Infrastructure Bond. The Infrastructure Bond, and the Capital Improvement Plan it feeds into, are both inextricably linked to the City budget process.

#2: Creek trails and visiting staff for OakDOT at Public Works Committee

What it is: The Public Works Committee meets today at 11:30 at City Hall, with a few interesting items on the agenda.

What’s going on? Sometimes the Public Works Committee (PWC) meeting can be a bit bland. But two items on the agenda today are pretty exciting!

San Leandro Creek Master Plan – This plan, developed over the last year with the cooperation of communities in East Oakland and San Leandro, would create a bicycle & pedestrian pathway from the Bay Trail on San Leandro Bay up to Lake Chabot. It would also provide active transportation connections for neighborhoods, like Columbia Gardens, that are walled-off from the rest of the city by freeways and railroads.

Chicago CTA Visiting Professional Initiative – Oakland is about to finalize an agreement with Chicago’s transportation agency (CTA) to bring transit planner Jennifer Henry to Oakland for a year. Jennifer will sit with OakDOT staff and bring the benefit of her transit experience in Chicago to help OakDOT plan great transit improvements and work more effectively with AC Transit.

How you can get involved:  The Public Works Committee meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 11:30 in the morning, and their agendas are typically published a week in advance. While it’s not easy to drop by City Hall in the middle of the day, you can always email the sitting councilmembers (Dan Kalb, chair; Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks, Abel Guillen) on any issue that’s important to you.

#3: BART needs to increase fares, but how to do it in a just way?

Photo credit: Adam Fagen https://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/7663770600/

What it is: BART is exploring fare increases to balance its operating budget shortfall. The BART board considered three options last week, which staff will now study and circulate among BART riders for feedback. These options are:

  • A $0.50 per trip surcharge on paper tickets (new machines would be set up to sell Clipper Cards at each station).
  • Decrease the fare discount for seniors, people with disabilities, and youth from 62.5% to 50%, but expand access to the youth discount from ages 5-12 to up to age 18.
  • Eliminate the 6.25% High Value Ticket discount.

Why it’s important: No one likes fare increases, and we’re encouraged to see BART exploring other revenue generating opportunities (we’re big fans of the wrapped car advertisements). Any change in fares will be felt by riders, and BART has an obligation to guarantee that these impacts are not disproportionately felt by any one group. We are committed to an equitable approach to fare increases, and we are optimistic about the proposed expansion of youth discounts to those 18 and under. Improving youth mobility is an important component of transportation justice.

How you can get involved: TO will keep you posted about public outreach opportunities as they’re scheduled. In the meantime, let your representative know that you support fair and progressive fare policies.