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The city of Oakland announced Monday that it has hired Fred Kelley, OakDOT’s Assistant Director and a former Transportation Division Manager for the City of Hayward, to be its new director.

From the Oakland release:

Born in San Francisco and raised in Kansas City, Mr. Kelley has established a proven track record as a successful leader, problem-solver, and consensus builder. His 25+ years’ experience in the transportation engineering/planning arena has focused on the planning, design, and implementation of complex, multi-modal infrastructure plans and projects in the Bay Area. These projects have centered on accessibility, safety, and equity.

Kelley replaced replaces Ryan Russo, who left this summer.

Not everyone was thrilled with the choice.

"The Hayward bike plan from 2019 was delayed for years under Fred's leadership," Bike East Bay's Dave Campbell told Streetsblog. He also rattled off a list of delayed, canceled, or significantly watered-down safety projects on Patrick Avenue, Tennyson, and other streets in that city.

Another man was killed on Tennyson Road in Hayward just this past weekend. Campbell blames Hayward officials for cancelling safety projects. "On whose hands is that blood is not for me to say," said Campbell. "We have a lot of work to do."

Campbell added that progress has been made in Oakland over the past year under director Russo, with Kelley as part of the team, so he's hopeful improvements will continue in Oakland.

It's unclear if Oakland cast a wide net to find a qualified, experienced transportation leader--someone with a track record implementing safe, Vision Zero designs--because in the end the city simply hired from within its ranks. Streetsblog asked Oakland if Kelley has any experience working in Vision Zero cities, such as Oslo or Amsterdam, and will update this post if they respond.

“I am delighted to welcome Fred as the newest member of the City’s executive leadership team,” said City Administrator Ed Reiskin. “A seasoned and experienced leader, Fred brings a positive, solution-oriented attitude to his work. I am confident that he will drive strong team performance and continued momentum to achieving OakDOT’s mission of delivering quality service through an equity lens to ensure our historically underserved neighborhoods receive the service and safety they deserve.”

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