Oakland is having a transportation moment. To help keep the momentum going, I wrote two op-eds this month in support of the creation of Oakland’s first Department of Transportation.
The first, written for the excellent UC Berkeley Journalism School product Oakland North, is called simply “Oakland needs a Department of Transportation“.
Mayor Libby Schaaf’s 384-page proposed budget includes a subtle but potentially significant change to the structure of Oakland’s city government: the creation of a Department of Transportation (DOT). It turns out Oakland has never, in its 162-year history, had a department dedicated to transportation. This omission is long overdue for correction, which needs to occur soon, and could happen with little cost to Oaklanders.
The second, written for the more California-centic Streetsblog, is called “What Oakland Mayor’s Proposal for a Department of Transportation Means“. This one gets into a bit more detail about how cities organize themselves, and how that can affect transportation policy and implementation. For example:
With these sorts of fragmented hierarchies, many transportation staff end up reporting to people without any specific transportation experience. Consider the significance of how a city regards parking. It can be seen as a resource akin to open space, to be divided up according to demand. Or it can be seen as a consequence and cause of the choices people make in how they travel, and it can be managed in a way that can encourage or discourage trips by various modes. In a city where parking management and transportation planning happen in different departments, the division between these two perspectives can deepen.
This is my third column for Oakland North and seventh for Streetsblog since 2011. For more of my writing (almost all of it is about transportation), see my Writing page.