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Archive for the ‘pedestrian’ Category

Sacramento St in Berkeley is currently under construction for what is described as a “complete streets” project. Here is the existing conditions:

As you can see, this is an extremely wide 4-lane arterial running through a residential neighborhood. The roadway has very low traffic volumes, leading to speeding and dangerous passing. The obvious solution would be a road diet to reduce speeds and space for buffered bike lanes (or perhaps even cycletracks). Instead, the city is only proposing to put in some new intersection treatments without doing any lane reductions or other measures to reduce speeding.

Let’s compare to a very similar project going on along Oakland’s 14th Ave. Here is the existing road configuration, which as you can see is also a 4-lane residential arterial:

Given the similarity of the two streets, one might expect these neighboring cities to implement similar solutions. But aside from the intersection treatments, the approaches are quite different. Berkeley is not adding bike lanes and will maintain its street as a dangerous high-speed thoroughfare. Oakland is doing a full road diet to calm traffic. Thus, the Oakland project is complete, the Berkeley one is not. The sad thing is that the Berkeley project sits directly outside a BART station and connects to a popular bike trail. The top community concern in meetings was slowing traffic, so how did Berkeley end up doing the bare minimum?

Oakland 14th Ave road diet
Berkeley “Complete” Streets project

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A critical section of Bay Trail running past Golden Gate Fields was opened this past June linking Berkeley and Richmond. This wildly popular segment is useful for both recreational and commuter cyclists.

But not everyone was happy about this path. Back in 2013, Norman Laforce filed a lawsuit against the EB Regional Park District over the EIR for the project.

This was hardly the first time Laforce had battled the park district. I first heard about Laforce in 1995, when he tried blocking construction of another Bay Trail segment. He has a long history of filing frivolous lawsuits and trying to prevent the public from accessing their public parks. His world view is that parks are to be fenced off from the public. He has tried to remove kiteboarders and dogs from Albany Beach, prohibit cyclists from riding on fire roads, and even opposed the Berkeley High girls crew team from rowing in the Aquatic Park lagoon.

Laforce is now running for a seat on the EBRPD Board of Directors. Hilariously, his website features a picture of him with his dog on a trail, and talks about the importance of improving park access to “urban youth”. If you live in EBRPD Ward 1 (Berkeley/Richmond area), it is critical that you vote for his opponent, Elizabeth Echols.

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By now you may have heard about an Alameda resident arrested for “dancing” in the street. Here is the police cam footage of the incident. The confrontation was far worse than what was described in those initial headlines, which gave the impression the man was drunk or jaywalking. It is especially disconcerting that the officer reprimands the gentleman for not being on the sidewalk — even though social distancing rules require persons exercising keep at least 6′ distance from pedestrians on the sidewalk.

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Closed Again

This is really getting annoying.

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Both the Richmond Bridge and Bay Bridge bike/ped paths routinely get closed — for no apparent reason and with absolutely no notification. I passed dozens of cyclists and joggers on the way to this closed gate.

State Law requires maximum feasible public access to the Bay. The BCDC needs to step in and begin enforcement action on Caltrans/MTC.

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Hurrah! Oakland and San Francisco Slow Streets are now on Google Maps (but no Alameda?).

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As Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg weaponized walking-while-black (otherwise known as stop-and-frisk).  This fact should normally preclude him from holding higher office, let alone earning the approval of Transportation4 America, a group which claims to speak on behalf of pedestrians. This is a shameful endorsement:

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Los Angeles sidewalks are so decrepit that it took a class-action ADA lawsuit to force the city to repair them. One thing the lawsuit didn’t do, unfortunately, is to speed up the bureaucracy. In order to repair sidewalks, the city said it first needed a full-blown EIR study:

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CEQA, of course, does not require EIR studies for sidewalk repair. This is classic bureaucratic sandbagging.

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This is what happens when road safety programs prioritize the wrong things:

Two years ago, Honolulu made it illegal — with few exceptions — to cross the street while fiddling with your phone or other device.

It was the first major city in the nation to enact a so-called “distracted walking” law. And since it went into effect, police have issued 232 citations under the law.

But has it actually made roads safer for pedestrians? That’s up for debate. Pedestrian fatalities on Oahu roads actually soared last year and don’t appear to have significantly dropped off in 2019.

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How we celebrate Christmas in America:

Thoroughbred Street will again welcome thousands in search of a little yuletide cheer. Residents have been decorating their homes with lights, yard figurines and more to delight visitors from across Southern California.

Rancho Cucamonga police will once again limit pedestrian access on what they expect to be the busiest nights of the season. According to the city’s website, portions of Thoroughbred and Jennet streets and Turquoise Avenue will be open to motorists only from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8, and Dec. 13-24, to emphasize pedestrian and vehicle safety.

The limits on pedestrian access are an expansion of an ordinance approved by the city in 2017 that police said improved traffic and cut wait times for motorists the final two weeks of the lights display.

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Over the years there have been some pretty bad pedestrian safety PSA’s. But this one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is stupendously bad. No kid should ever have to worry about giant monster trucks blasting down a neighborhood street. What makes this ‘educational’ video especially bad is that the NHTSA has broad regulatory powers in this area, but chooses not to outlaw dangerous vehicles.

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