In the world of Oakland politics, there is no shortage of grassroots groups making a fuss about social and environmental issues at City Hall. As a result, it can often be challenging to cut through the noise. But Transport Oakland — a new transportation advocacy group dedicated to promoting biking, walking, and public transit — appears to be making a notable impact in its first year of organizing. The group, made up of Oakland residents — including many transportation professionals who work in San Francisco government — launched a rigorous endorsement process in the fall 2014 elections. They championed loudly for then-mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf, in large part due to her decision to hire a transportation policy advisor. Transport Oakland has subsequently pressed the mayor and her staff to follow through with the campaign promise to make sustainable transportation a priority. The group this spring has helped promote the creation of an Oakland Department of Transportation, which Schaaf introduced as part of her budget proposal. The policy experts within Transport Oakland have played an important role in drumming up support for the city's first-ever transportation department, and if the concept is successful, it could be transformative for Oakland's streets.
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