Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) Initiative Update

At the November 19, 2020 BPAC meeting, BPAC Commissioner and lead of the Bicyclist/Pedestrian and Police Relations Committee, Phoenix Mangrum, and OakDOT Transportation Planner, Audrey Harris, updated the commission on progress on public safety efforts, including the Safe Oakland Streets Initiative, an equity-centered analysis to inform traffic safety and crash prevention.

Goals of Safe Oakland Streets

  1. Eliminate severe and fatal injury inequities that exist today in Oakland
  2. Prevent severe and fatal crashes from happening in the first place.
  3. Inform safety strategies that prevent injury and injury inequities and do not have adverse equity impacts on communities of color and low-income populations

Understanding the Problem

Historic policies have resulted in a deeply inequitable society for Black and Brown people in the United States and Oakland.

Traffic crash rates reflect these pervasive inequities. It’s our job to change this—to eliminate disparities and reduce this source of health inequity and stress for our Black and Brown communities.

Timeline

  1. Finalize this analysis with OPD, DRE and CAO input by December 2020.
  2. Present an Informational Memo to Bicyclist & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) & City Council with these findings in Winter 2021.
  3. Provide the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force with this analysis to guide their work.
  4. Determine process to advance collaboration with City/Public Stakeholders on traffic safety strategies.

View the full presentation below.

Presentation

Summary of Discussion

  • Oakland’s effort is advancing key recommendations from the State’s Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.
  • Automated speed enforcement currently is not legal in California, but the California City Transportation Initiative (CACTI), a coalition of large California cities is working to advance the necessary legislation.
  • While there is not a specific strategy for quick build work across the High Injury Network, OakDOT is using the HIN to prioritize all aspects of safety improvements, from grant applications for major capital projects to smaller spot improvements implemented with local funds.
  • Because automated speed enforcement is automated, it is less prone to bias because an officer is not deciding who to target. However, the fine structure could still be a source of bias.
  • The publicly available police stop data only has geographic information by police beat, not by the specific location of each stop. The analysis that OakDOT has underway is using data that does have more specific location information.
  • Enforcement is not only a biased and less effective means of addressing traffic safety. It can also actively cause harm through the associated searches and arrests.
  • It is especially important to include people from the most affected neighborhoods—East Oakland, Fruitvale, West Oakland—but they are also the hardest to reach and the least likely to participate. The Reimagining Public Safety Task Force a large body that is connecting to a lot people and organizations, and BPAC can help in making these connections.

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