More chances for City Budget feedback, can the bike plan contract pass PWC?, and BART Twitter town hall! 3 Things to Watch 5.22.17

3 Things to Watch 5.22.17

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’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 christopher@transportoakland.org.

#1: Only 2 City Budget Forums Left; Council President’s Draft Budget Coming Soon

What it is: The City’s budgeting process rolls on. There are still lots of opportunities to get involved before the budget is adopted at the end of June!

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. Earlier this month, Transport Oakland issued our letter of support to the Mayor’s draft budget & CIP. The draft budget proposes 27 new staff for the Oakland DOT, which is the minimum needed to keep up with the pace of projects made possible by Measure KK. Wlad Wlassowsky of OakDOT gave a presentation of the DOT budget at last week’s meeting of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC). The upshot of the presentation, and from questions afterward, is that 27 new OakDOT staff is the bare minimum necessary to not get swamped by the tidal wave of funding coming from Measure KK. If we want high quality streets delivered on-time and equitably to Oakland’s residents, we need to ensure the OakDOT budget doesn’t get reduced beteween now and June 30th.

At the same time, Council President Larry Reid and three other council members are crafting their own draft City budget. It will be a compromise between the two budgets that will be presented to City Council at the end of June for adoption.

How you can get involved: The mayor & City council need to hear your voice as they work through the compromises needed to reach a final City budget.

#2: Can the Bike Plan Contract Make it Through the Public Works Committee?

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 bike plan contract is being heard this coming Tuesday, May 23rd, agenda item #3.

What’s going on? First brought up in the early April 3 Things to Watch, the bike plan contract got held up at the 4/11 PWC. The Supplemental Report tried to address council member objections, but the contract was again held up at  the 4/25 PWC. This is the third time the bike plan contract is coming to the PWC.

Councilmember Kaplan has raised questions about a potential conflict of interest for one of the firms on the bike plan and councilmember Desley Brooks has expressed concern over 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 was stuck in limbo at PWC until further notice.

To address those concerns, Oakland DOT staff took the somewhat unprecedented move of submitting the text for the bike plan contract’s Request for Proposals (RFP) as well as the scope language for the contract’s recommended winner, Alta Planning + Design.

How you can get involved: The Oakland Bike Plan contract has been long delayed and deserves to get started as soon as possible, and Oakland DOT staff have taken unprecedented steps to accommodate the concerns of PWC. 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 feels that the actions of staff to date have sufficiently addressed concerns; the Public Works Committee and full Council must approve the Bike Plan contract without further delay.

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.

#3: BART Twitter Town Hall Tomorrow!

What it is: BART staff and directors will be holding a Twitter Town Hall tomorrow, 5/23, from noon to 1:00 PM. Use the hastag #AskSFBART

What’s going on? Lots is going on at BART these days, and riders have lots of questions. Tomorrow, BART board director and friend of Transport Oakland Rebecca Salzman will be hosting a twitter town hall along with key BART staff. Ask your questions using the hashtag #AskSFBART to get your key questions answered.

How you can get involved: Just hop on Twitter between non and 1:00 tomorrow! What’s the schedule for Measure RR core system updates? What’s the status of the (unnecessary?) parking garage proposal at the Dublin BART station? What are your questions?