Open letter to Council

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Dear Madam Mayor and City Councilmembers:
I wanted to share with you a write-up on a recent pedestrian fatality that appears to have received zero media attention. We must not accept the fate Joao Batista and the others listed here, as a normal cost of doing business in Alameda.

  • At 6:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21, Joao Batista was walking northbound crossing Clinton Avenue along Park Street when he was struck by the driver of a car. Batista died from the injuries he sustained in the crash. 

The driver was travelling southbound on Park Street when, according to a preliminary accounting by Alameda Police Department, he decided to turn right and use Clinton to avoid waiting at the stoplight at Park and Otis Drive.

The driver stayed on the scene and there is no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.

There have been seven fatal collisions involving pedestrians in Alameda since 2011. 

  • In 2011, on a spring afternoon, Marlene King was in a crosswalk at Mecartney and Ironwood roads. In this location, Mecartney has five vehicle lanes, a median, bike lanes, a parking lane and a bus stop to cross from curb to curb. King, 74, had more than 110 feet to cross when she had to decide if it was safe to leave the curb.
  • Early one April morning in 2014, Carol Weston, 64, was crossing Otis Drive near the Safeway gas station when she was hit by the driver of a minivan who said he did not see her. There is no crosswalk in this location. There is one 600 feet to the west and another 650 feet to the east. Otis is six lanes wide in this location. News reports all noted that the victim was “not in a crosswalk.” 
  • At 5:39 p.m., Dec. 11, 2014, Sam Sause was in the crosswalk on Otis Drive at Grand Street when the driver of an AC Transit bus struck him. This large intersection does not have separate signal phases for left turning vehicles and pedestrians.
  • On the night of May 24, 2015, James Owens was in a crosswalk at Lincoln Avenue and Park Street when he was struck by a driver. At the time of the collision, the crosswalk across Lincoln was more than seven lanes wide.
  • Midday on Sept. 7, 2015, renowned blues singer and guitarist Augusta Lee Collins, 69, was in the crosswalk crossing Constitution Way at Marina Village Parkway. The operator of a work truck for a local plumbing company hit him after exiting the Webster Tube. It is approximately 100 feet from one side of Constitution to the other. A local newspaper headline said “Accident Takes Blues Legend” and “a truck” hit Collins. The article did not mention the existence, much less actions of any driver. 
  • At 11:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day 2016, Philip Lee, 77, was crossing Shore Line Drive in a crosswalk near the post office when an eastbound driver hit him. There are three travel lanes in this area of Shore Line and there is no parking anywhere near the crosswalk which could impair a driver’s visibility.

Each of these incidents gives us an opportunity to reflect: on the lives lost and on how we can — and must — do better for our friends and neighbors who just want to safely reach the other curb. 

We at Bike Walk Alameda are deeply saddened by Joao Batista’s passing. We hope you have a safe and healthy 2019.

Brian McGuire Board President Bike Walk Alameda