Strategic Plan

Transport Oakland Strategic Plan 2020-2025

INTRODUCTION

Who is Transport Oakland?

Transport Oakland is an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for great transportation in Oakland. Our vision is to achieve transportation infrastructure and policy that brings livability, vitality, sustainability, and equity to Oakland. We achieve this vision by:

  1. Strengthening transport policy making leadership
  2. Supporting and advocating for sound transportation policies
  3. Taking an active part in planning and infrastructure implementation processes

Founded in 2014, Transport Oakland has a track record of success in bringing our vision for  transportation progress to the forefront in Oakland. Transport Oakland endorsed winning candidates in 2014, 2016, and 2018 local elections.

What is the Strategic Plan?

This Strategic Plan came out of Transport Oakland’s annual retreat in December 2018. This is the guiding document for Transport Oakland for the next five years. It lays out our goals for continued progress in Oakland, our initiatives, and how to get involved in bringing better transportation to Oakland. 

Following this introduction, this document will review Transport Oakland’s recent successes and outline Transport Oakland’s goals. Next, this document will lay out Transport Oakland’s primary initiatives and our plans for successfully moving those initiatives forward with three tracks:

  1. Fix the Streets
  2. Involve the People 
  3. Support OakDOT. 

Finally, this document will outline ways to get involved, and contribute to improving Oakland transportation.

TRANSPORT OAKLAND IN REVIEW

New Board, July 2018

In July 2018, Transport Oakland voted in an almost entirely new board of six people and six months later in January 2019, added another three board members for a total of nine board members. These new members brought renewed energy and new skill sets to the mission of improving transportation in Oakland. With experience in advocacy, transportation planning, finance management, organizing, and policy, the revamped board aims to utilize these skills to find the barriers to great transportation in Oakland and gain a better understanding of how to address them. 

Election Endorsements, November 2018

With some fresh faces on the board in June, TO put its new energy into electing transportation minded candidates in several local and regional elections. TO interviewed candidates for Mayor and City Council in Oakland and BART and AC Transit Boards of Directors to get a clear picture of candidates’ transportation priorities, which enabled us to put our political power into endorsements for those who had the strongest and most realistic goals for improved transportation in the city and region.

Transport Oakland endorsed candidates for Mayor, 4 City Council elections, 1 BART Board election, and 1 AC Transit Board election. Of the candidates endorsed and recommended, 4 were elected.

Board Retreat, December 2018

With a number of new board members, the Board held a retreat in late 2018 to discuss the barriers we each saw to improve transportation and decide how we could address them collectively. The Board brainstormed big issues, broke them down into programmatic categories, and came up with some big goals for a sustainable and strategic plan for Transport Oakland in 2019. 

The retreat goals were:

  1. Gain a better understanding of what great transportation looks like in Oakland 
  2. Draft goals that support how we can move toward that great transportation
  3. Set a course for long term board/group sustainability
  4. Set a course to develop an ambitious but achievable new action plan for 2019 and beyond

The board did some hard brainstorming and resulting in refreshed goals and three new initiatives which dig deep into the problems with transportation in Oakland and why they continue to be pervasive. 

Policy Achievements, 2019

In 2019 Transport Oakland advocated for, and won the passage of OakDOT’s 3 Year Paving Plan that tripled the funding for paving streets across Oakland. This plan distributed 85 percent of local street spending using an equity formula that placed equal importance on serving areas with higher underserved populations and fixing the worst local streets. During the budget cycle, we preserved the independence of OakDOT after budget amendments were released that called for OakDOT to be merged back into Public Works. Last but not least, we won Oakland’s first transit only lanes when the City Council approved the Broadway transit lanes as part of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project. 

GOALS FOR TRANSPORT OAKLAND THE NEXT FIVE YEARS

Based on the robust discussion at the retreat, Transport Oakland has crafted initiatives for each of its three organizational goals:

Involve the People

This initiative works to understand City outreach efforts and work with the Oakland Department of Transportation and other relevant City agencies to ensure consistent and transparent outreach is used for all City transportation projects, both large and small. This initiative will focus on building an understanding of the current process and ongoing improvements, identifying areas of improvement, and building a collaborative strategy with OakDOT and other advocates to bring transparency to the outreach process.  

Fix the Streets

This initiative works to promote multimodal priority transportation planning and implementation on major corridors. The Fix the Streets committee will work to create a baseline of understanding of the institutional challenges to multimodal transportation in Oakland, identify specific policy pinch points that are barriers to strong multimodal planning and implementation, and develop a strategic policy framework to build on in future years. 

Support OakDOT

OakDOT is new, and while it is making great strides in its first years, the agency faces significant challenges to implementing its mission. This initiative focuses on supporting the agency in achieving the goals the City has for it. Foremost is filling the vacancies that make it difficult for OakDOT to implement planned improvements, such as the Paving Strategy. 

INVOLVE THE PEOPLE

OakDOT manages a wide array of transportation projects in an effort to maintain, improve, and transform the City of Oakland’s streets. These projects range from small, low-impact projects with relatively short timelines to large, multi-year projects with the potential to impact thousands of people. There are recent examples of exemplary OakDOT-led outreach, such as for the Oakland Bike Plan update, that involved partnering with community-based organizations to conduct equitable and culturally competent outreach. For other projects, it is hard to find even basic project information online. It is clear OakDOT projects do not have a consistent outreach and engagement formula. The level of citizen engagement for a project is largely dependent on the interest of the project manager, available project budget, and the project delivery timeline. 

“Involve the People” is an initiative encouraging OakDOT to establish a consistent and meaningful commitment to public outreach and engagement on all City of Oakland projects that affect the City’s diverse communities. Any future OakDOT outreach and engagement strategy should build trust with Oakland’s residents by better managing project expectations; establish a consistent, transparent engagement model that can be customized based on project type and affected community; and identify and deliver transferable tools and resources to support public outreach and engagement efforts in the future.

Mission and Goals for 2020-2025

The overall mission for this initiative is to understand City outreach efforts and work with the Oakland Department of Transportation and other relevant City agencies to ensure consistent and transparent outreach is used for all City transportation projects, both large and small. In 2019, this initiative will focus on building an understanding of the current process and ongoing improvements, identifying areas of improvement, and building a collaborative strategy with OakDOT and other advocates to bring transparency to the outreach process.  

Stakeholders

  • City residents
  • City Councilmembers
  • Local transportation advocacy organizations

Strategic Actions

  1. Learn as much as possible about OakDOT outreach efforts, especially/purposefully through meeting with other transit orgs.
  2. Work with other transportation advocacy organizations to come up with a joint platform for how to best involve local communities in project outreach efforts.
  3. Work with Support the Agency Working Group to ensure a fully-staffed OakDOT that is capable of implementing a robust outreach effort.
  4. Work with OakDOT and other relevant agencies to create a strategic outreach and engagement strategy that directly incorporates suggestions from transportation advocacy org coalition platform.

How to get involved:

  • Join the Policy committee for a monthly working session.

FIX THE STREETS

Oakland has been a Transit First city since 1996 and has stated Strategic Plan goals to improve Oakland’s bikeways and pedestrian safety. Despite these intentions, recent major corridor plans such as Park Street and Telegraph Avenue have strongly contended with car user interests and struggled to coalesce around clear priority for transit, bike, and ped street users. 

Fix the Streets is an initiative focused on bolstering multi-modal planning and implementation through both direct advocacy and strategic policy development.

Mission/Goals

The overall mission of this initiative is to promote more multimodal priority transportation planning and implementation on major corridors. The Fix the Streets committee will work to create a baseline of understanding of the institutional challenges to multimodal transportation in Oakland, identify specific policy pinch points that are barriers to strong multimodal planning and implementation, and develop a strategic policy framework to build on in future years. 

However, while policy takes time to develop and advocate, this initiative will work on moving the conversation forward through direct advocacy and involvement in active planning projects. The goals for this year are A) to map out major corridors to focus our direct advocacy resources on, B) identify opportunities to push for multimodal priorities in these processes and C) advocate directly via working group participation, letters of support, and public comment in support of stronger multimodal options. 

Stakeholders

  • City residents
  • City Councilmembers
  • Local transportation advocacy organizations

Strategic Actions

  1. Learn as much as possible about Oakland’s transit first policy, other cities comparable policies, and active major planning and implementation projects. 
  2. Engage with active planning projects to support a vision for sustainable and multimodal transportation, clarify our policy requests by learning about policy barriers hindering multimodal planning in Oakland now. 
  3. Refine requests of active planning processes and policy, collaborate with other transportation advocacy groups to draft policy platform.  
  4. Advocate via both planning processes for the policy platform, as well as the election endorsement process. Advocate directly for policy changes on lower hanging fruit. 

How to get involved

  • Join the Policy committee for a monthly working session. 
  • Help draft comment letters/template letters.
  • Attend public meetings and comment on transportation issues. 
  • Help draft letters on developments, draft plans, etc. 

SUPPORT OAKDOT

OakDOT has a staff vacancy crisis. The new department was created to better manage Oakland streets and implement much-needed transportation projects throughout the city. The October 2019 Semi Annual Vacancy Report showed that 20% of the authorized and funded positions at OakDOT to plan and design our streets were vacant. Without these employees OakDOT is struggling to plan and implement projects in a timely manner to repair and fix our streets and is turning down opportunities for grant money as OakDOT lacks the capacity to meet funding deadlines. OakDOT, for the moment, has substantial resources and money to repave streets, slow speeding drivers with traffic calming design elements, repair sidewalks and add curb ramps and high visibility crosswalks, expedite AC Transit buses through transit spot improvements, and add protected bike lanes using funding sources like Measure KK and Measure BB, but as a direct result of the vacancy crisis these projects are being delayed.

Mission and Goals for 2020-2025

Transport Oakland is aware of several factors that led to this vacancy crisis including an understaffed Human Resources department, a cumbersome and lengthy recruiting process, and uncompetitive compensation compared to other public agencies (local and regional) in the Bay Area. This crisis also appears to be city wide as numerous departments have vacancy rates similar to OakDOT’s. Gaining a deeper understanding of the root of the staffing problem will help us find ways to advocate for concrete change both within OakDOT and in other related Oakland administrative departments like Human Resources. 

Stakeholders

  • Oakland Department of Transportation
  • Oakland City Council
  • Labor Unions

Strategic Actions

  1. Deep research on root causes of vacancy issues, working to answer questions about the financial, political, and administrative barriers. 
  2. Document the impact this vacancy crisis has including specific projects that have been delayed and programs that remain unstaffed such as OakDOT’s rapid response team.
  3. Communicate and educate key stakeholders on the vacancy crisis and the impact it’s having to the broader public including blog posts, social media campaigns, newspaper op-eds, and other methods. 
  4. Communicate well-researched and supportive solutions directly to decision makers to start advocating for change. 

How to Get Involved

  1. Volunteer to:
    1. speak up during public meetings and ask city staff these questions to daylight this issuetrack projects, documenting delays to, and OakDOT initiatives that have stalled due to lack of staff
    2. coordinate a public campaign to raise awareness with Oakland’s City Council

Join Us! Here’s how to get involved.

We need volunteers to help:

  1. Speak up during public meetings and ask city staff these questions to daylight this issue
  2. Track key projects and initiatives of OakDOT, AC Transit, MTC, and other regional transportation-related organizations 
  3. Coordinate public campaigns to advocate for change in each of the 3 strategic focus areas
  4. Keep our website up to date
  5. Draft quarterly or monthly newsletters
  6. Help coordinate social events like happy hours 

Email info@TransportOakland.org for more information on how to get involved, or come to the next monthly Policy Committee working session!