Ryan Russo was appointed in May 2017 as the first permanent Director of the recently established Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT). OakDOT is responsible for the planning, design, operations and maintenance of the city’s 800 miles of roads and 1,100 miles of sidewalks and also represent Oakland with the region’s transportation partners, such as BART, AC Transit and Caltrans.
OakDOT was formed in June 2016 under Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s leadership and vision of transportation infrastructure as an investment strategy to make Oakland safer, more equitable, and increase access to housing, jobs, schools and services for its residents. The agency is tasked with bringing the city’s roads into a state of good repair and updating their designs to meet current standards with $350 million in transportation funds made available following Oakland voters’ passage of Measure KK in 2016.
Previously, Ryan spend nearly 14 years in New York City, where he served as Deputy Commissioner for Transportation Planning and Management with the New York City Department of Transportation. Russo held senior positions under New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, overseeing some of the nation’s most innovative and transformative safety, pedestrian, cycling and transit projects over the last decade. He led a division of about 500 employees in planning and operational offices with an annual budget exceeding $100 million.
Working under New York City transportation commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg, Russo oversaw the design and implementation of more than 600 miles of bike network enhancements including 70 miles of innovative protected bicycle lanes lanes and projects that reclaimed hundreds of acres of former road space for walking, transit and bike riding—taming some of the city’s most dangerous roads and yielding the fewest fatalities in more than 100 years of record-keeping.
Prior to joining NYCDOT, Russo worked in the San Francisco office of the transportation consulting firm Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, and opened its New York City office in 2002. Ryan has conducted research in transportation finance for U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies and performed groundbreaking work on the linkage between parking requirements and affordable housing in the Bay Area.
He is a graduate of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California at Berkeley with a Master’s degree in City Planning and of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, with a Bachelor of Science concentrating in Finance.