By Vanessa Barrios and Carlos Mandeville, Regional Plan Association Lab, December 9, 2019.
“Ryan Russo, the Director of Oakland’s Department of Transportation (OakDOT) [recently] described OakDOT’s founding Strategic Plan [which] established four goals and four values that would drive the agency’s work:
- Jobs and Housing,
- Holistic Community Safety,
- Vibrant Sustainable Infrastructure, and
- Responsive Trustworthy Government.
“According to Russo, while OakDOT’s four core values of Equity, Safety, Sustainability, and Responsiveness drive the agency’s work, Equity precedes and informs the three others.
“To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity [in 2019] to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”
“Using data, the agency identified problematic intersections where there were a high number of accidents then mobilized safety improvements to make crossing the street safer. Instead of immediately applying typical traffic calming methods, they connected with community members to better understand why those intersections were problematic. They learned through conversations with the community that Lake Merritt (the City’s central park area) was an important place to expand public space for activities like barbecuing, and accessibility through street redesign and bike lane development.”