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’ve launched a regular series called “3 Things to Watch” to demystify 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
#1: Draft City Budget & CIP are out for public review
What’s going on? The City Budget is created every two years, and this budget makes the split between Oakland Public Works and the Department of Transportation official. The mayor’s draft budget is the first official try at a budget that will need to be adopted before July 1, 2017. Over the next two months, there will be lots of meetings, negotiations, and deliberations on the budget before it is finalized.
The Capital Improvement Plan is complementary to the budget and lays out what kinds of infrastructure projects the City will spend money on getting built over the next two years. This year’s CIP is the first to utilize funding from Measure KK, the Infrastructure Bond, and is programming over $40 million for paving streets over the next two years.
How you can get involved: There are so many ways to get involved in the City Budget process!
- Attend City Council tomorrow night 5/2 to hear the Mayor’s oral report on the draft City Budget.
- There are at least seven community budget forums to choose from in May, held all over the City. Here’s map with their locations, times, and details.
- Join the Transport Oakland Budget Committee! Our all-volunteer group tracks the budget and advocates for smart decisions for the Department of Transportation and in the CIP. Our budget committee meets tomorrow night from 6-8, email email@example.com to get more info.
- Open Oakland has in past years made interactive online City Budget tools to help people navigate this difficult topic. They’re going to build an online analysis of this draft budget as well, and are looking for input on how to make it as useful as possible.
#2: Take a Ride with incoming OakDOT director on 5/2
What it is: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf kicks-off National Bike to Work Month by riding bicycles on the Bay Bridge Trail with Ryan Russo, the new Department Director of Oakland’s Department of Transportation. Mayor Schaaf and Mr. Russo are starting their ride to Yerba Buena Island on the Bay Bridge Trail at the historic Bridge Yard building at 210 Burma Road.
How you can get involved: Mayor Schaaf will introduce Mr. Russo and they will welcome bicyclists and pedestrians at 9:15am on the patio of the Bridge Yard building. The building will be opened to the public before and after the ride on May 2as a special preview before it is opened and operating permanently by the East Bay Regional Parks District.
At 9:45, the group will ride 4 miles to Yerba Buena Island to participate in the 10:15 grand opening of Vista Point on at the end of the bike/ped path. In addition to offering a great view of the east span of the Bay Bridge and of Oakland, the new Vista Point facilities provide restrooms, benches, a hydration station, and bike racks for visitors.
#1: Bicycle Master Plan contract stuck at PWC
What it is: The Public Works Committee (PWC) meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 11:30 AM at City Hall. Future agendas can be found here. The next hearing for the Bike Plan contract is not on an agenda yet, but is tentatively set for May 23rd.
What’s going on? First brought up in our last 3 Things to Watch, the bike plan contract went to PWC on 4/11. It got a rough reception, with council members raising objections to the makeup of the project team and staff wanting to authorize a reserve fund upfront instead of coming back to council if more funding is needed. The Supplemental Report provided more detail on the project team, who’s doing what, and recommends removal of the reserve fund for the contract.
Then at the 4/25 PWC, the bike plan contract didn’t get a much better reception than the first time around. Councilmember Kaplan raised questions about a potential conflict of interest for one of the firms on the bike plan and councilmember Desley Brooks continued to ask questions about the City’s choices for teams to choose from for the contract and how equity will be addressed in the contract. With 2 of the 4 Public Works Committee members unwilling to move this through to the City council, the contract is stuck in limbo at PWC until further notice.
How you can get involved: While the concerns of the councilmembers on the Public Works Committee deserve resolution, it should not take over two months for this to get done. The Oakland Bike Plan contract has been long delayed and deserves to get started as soon as possible.
If you want to see the bike plan move forward without delay, you can reach out to one of the four council members serving on the PWC (Dan Kalb, Abel Guillen, Rebecca Kaplan, and Desley Brooks) or join the Transport Oakland Policy Committee.
Planning contracts of this nature are rarely subjected to such scrutiny at a committee level, and we worry this could set a poor precedent for delaying much needed transportation work in the future. Transport Oakland urges staff to proactively address the concerns of the PWC and for the Public Works Committee and full Council to approve the Bike Plan contract without further delay.