A Growing Team for a Resilient California: Toole Design in Oakland

In the United States, California is known for forward-thinking policy and commitments to climate resiliency and social justice, and is leading the way in multimodal transportation planning, design, and funding. Communities throughout California are becoming all too familiar with the realities of climate change — including wildfires and drought — as well as economic challenges, such as rising income inequality (and rising gas prices). To help tackle these challenges, Toole Design’s Oakland team is delivering community-changing projects throughout the Bay Area and Northern California to provide safe, sustainable, and equitable travel options for all.


Toole Design has established a strong reputation in the Bay Area for active transportation planning since opening an office there in 2016. Over the past year, the Oakland team — aka Team OAK — has nearly doubled in size and significantly broadened our array of disciplines. The team recently gained a new office director, Ellie Fiore, as well as new planners, engineers, and urban designers.  

Our team of experts works together to deliver a wide range of projects, including roadway and intersection design, Vision Zero and systemic safety analysis, bicycle facility design and implementation, micromobility feasibility and planning, trail planning and design, design guidance and policy development, and public health and active living services.  

So allow us to (re)introduce the team:

Mia Candy
Mia Candy, Project Planner II
Sam Dosick's headshot
Sam Dosick, Engineer III
Ellie Fiore Headshot
Ellie Fiore, AICP, Oakland Office Director
Jason Fong Headshot
Jason Fong, PE, LEED AP, QSD/QSP, Senior Engineer
Andrew Kotalik's Headshot
Andrew Kotalik, EIT, Engineer III
Alison Mills Headshot
Alison F. Mills, PE, Engineering Group Manager
Christi Nielsen Headshot
Christi Nielsen, Engineer
Anju Palta Headshot
Anjulie Palta, Project Planner
Jesse Peoples headshot
Jesse Peoples, PE, Senior Engineer
Lauren Pepe Headshot
Lauren Pepe, Planner II
Sara Rauwolf Headshot
Sara Rauwolf, PE, Project Engineer
Freddie Winter Headshot
Freddie Winter, Engineer II
Cindy Zerger, AICP, ASLA, Urban Design Director, California

Team OAK is built on the premise that practitioners need to communicate and collaborate across disciplines and reflect a variety of perspectives to ensure transportation projects positively impact communities, economies, and the environment.

collaborating across disciplines, across the region

One of our signature projects is in Davis, CA. Reimagine Russell Boulevard highlights the multidisciplinary approach we bring to our work in Northern California. Proud home of the first protected bike lane in the United States and the Bicycle Hall of Fame, Davis is known for its innovation in infrastructure. The City of Davis and University of California at Davis jointly initiated a project to reimagine Russell Boulevard, a corridor that moves from a rural agrarian context in the west to a more urbanized condition in the east. It also serves as the edge of the UC Davis campus and welcomes thousands of campus visitors daily.

From the beginning our team saw the opportunity to intertwine placemaking, green infrastructure, and multimodal mobility in our design solutions. The graphic below highlights just one such example along the three-mile boulevard where we separated the off-street trail system, found creative ways to incorporate green infrastructure, developed a bus priority lane, and created an inviting new plaza space at Howard Way and Russell Boulevard, the historic entrance to UC Davis.

Conceptual design created in collaboration with RIOS

The Oakland team provides world-class planning and design work for clients at all scales, in all nine Bay Area counties. At the regional level, we’ve partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments to develop the Bay Trail Equity Strategy, a multi-phase effort to guide decision-makers in addressing historic inequities, avoiding repeating past mistakes, and creating a welcoming and accessible Bay Trail. 

At the county level, we provide ongoing programming and outreach support for Alameda County’s Safe Routes to Schools initiative, and we provide them with technical and analytical expertise through projects such as the San Pablo Bicycle and Pedestrian Corridor StudyAt the municipal level, we led the development of San Jose’s Better Bike Plan 2025, and we just began work as prime consultants on San Francisco’s Active Communities Plan. The Active Communities Plan will build upon the bike infrastructure created since the adoption of the City’s 2009 Bike Plan to guide the creation of a fully connected bike and micromobility network — one that addresses and repairs injustices in the most underserved neighborhoods and accommodates a range of mobility devices.

A neighborhood traffic calming circle, part of the quick-build bike boulevard in Redwood City

Team OAK works in communities large and small — and everything in between. We’re currently involved in active transportation planning, streetscape planning, and trail and wayfinding projects in communities throughout the Central Valley. We also created a quick-build bike boulevard for Redwood City and are supporting the City in pursuing additional funding to make the design permanent.

These are just a few of the projects through which our Oakland team is collaborating to create a more resilient Northern California. As communities throughout the region envision more connected, accessible, and welcoming spaces, Team OAK is here to help realize those visions now and for decades to come.

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