Letters to the Editor
The pedestrian-safety campaign announced recently by Alameda’s Chief of Police Paul Rolleri is long overdue (“APD Starts Program to Protect Pedestrians,” March 7.)
I’ve had the pleasure, and run the risk, of walking the streets of our island almost daily for the past 27 years. During that time I’ve almost been hit, and twice seen others injured, by inattentive drivers dozens of times.
Almost always the fault resides with the driver of the motor vehicle. Vehicles rolling through stop signs are a common risk for pedestrians. Other motorists routinely fail to look for pedestrians at intersections, don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them, day dream, or are distracted by other persons, cell phones, texting, loud music, etc. I’ve even seen motorists reading books and documents while driving.
It goes without saying that pedestrians must walk defensively. I do hope, however, that APD’s campaign makes many more drivers aware of the danger their inattention poses to Alamedans strolling our streets.
And while we’re at it, let’s crack down on bicyclists who fail to obey traffic laws or observe normal rules of the road. Many of them never stop or even slow down at intersections, making them as dangerous to pedestrians as motorists.
I loved Irene Dieter’s article about the trees (“Many Trees ‘Broom’ for Spring,” April 10).
The problem is that her advice is faulty. I’ve asked the tree trimmers for years to remove branches from the Liquidambar across the street from my home. Every time a wind came up the tree would drop a branch.
Last November my luck ran out. The very same limbs I’ve asked to have trimmed back and never broke away crashing onto my Honda Civic totaling it. I didn’t know this until the branch rotted out and broke off pulling the power line down. Our street was closed for two days because they had to install a power pole and attach the power line to that since they had to cut the tree branches back.
The branch trimming now matches Ani Dimusheva’s “WTF?!” tree art design (Op-Ed cartoon, April 10). Advise your readers to start sending certified letters to Todd Williams, City of Alameda, Public Works Supervisor and demanding a timely response if there is a problem with the trees on their street.
I attended a fantastic event last week that celebrated the fact that The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) recently adopted urban design guidelines to provide for pedestrians and cyclists in their future plans and projects.
I thought your readers might want to know about this gathering that happened last Thursday, April 10, at the Oakland Kaiser Center. Vice Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was also in attendance.
CalTrans formally took on the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide that treats all users of a street equally. According to the official statements handed out, “Californians will start seeing more protected bikeways and improved intersection designs and that engineers will be less compelled to design streets for peak traffic conditions at the expense of other street users.”
This is very important to me, because as a cyclist who follows traffic laws, I am increasingly frustrated by our society’s inability to share our rights of way. I see both motorists and cyclists truly behaving as if their own safety and the safety of others matter not when attempting to attend a meeting on time or respond to a text message while driving.
Our cities are designed in a way that primarily accommodates the automobile and gives little consideration to the safety of walkers and cyclists. Hopefully the adoption of these guidelines will create more viable pathways for those choosing not to pollute our state with their exhaust fumes.
I am a big fan of reducing carbon emissions in our community and am very pleased our state is taking steps to do so. Whether or not this move translates into better traffic conditions for Alameda remains to be seen.
Especially given the recent pedestrian death on Otis Drive, I feel initiatives like these are important for our community.