Letters to the Editor

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I’ve been following your articles about pedestrian safety. The problem is, even when following all of the “common sense” ideas you suggest, a driver failing to pay attention came within inches of running over my whole family just three days ago (“Wanted: Common Sense, Courtesy,” Nov. 21).

My nine-month pregnant wife, my two-year-old son, and myself — in a crosswalk, with the light, looking carefully at cars, visible and pushing a stroller. Somehow all of that was is still not enough for drivers to bother looking if there’s a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

It is only because I saw from the moment the car entered the intersection that they didn’t seem to be slowing — and started shouting at them at that very moment — that they finally braked. Inches in front of my pregnant wife. All as I shoved my son’s stroller across a median to get him to safety.

Can you imagine how terrifying that is? I’m shoving my son out of the way, and still unable to do anything for my wife and unborn son. Despite being “courteous” and full of “common sense” as you recommend.

This all happened crossing Tilden Way at Buena Vista Avenue — a place drivers treat as a freeway and where the pedestrian infrastructure is laughable: barely-marked crosswalk, no pedestrian timer ... nothing to call to drivers’ attention that they should be watching for human beings.

Several of my neighbors pointed me your way to help raise this life-and-death issue. 
I want to help raise awareness among drivers to pay attention. And among policymakers to build safer intersections.

This is a major problem, and my wife is now understandably concerned to walk in our neighborhood. As are countless other neighbors. We need to fix this. Now.


Andrew Stoltzfus

“Hey,” my neighbor ‘Grumpy Grampy’ says, “you see the last couple Alameda Suns?”
I attempt to reply, “Sure Gramps, read ‘em every —”

“What kinda nonsense is ‘Vision Zero’ ... ?” he growls. “What, zero vision? Zero sight? You can’t see?”

I once again attempt to interject, “Well Gramps, maybe —” 

“And the Nov. 21 headline,” Gramps snorts. “’Wanted: Common Sense, Courtesy!’”
“Yeah, that —” I try to respond.

“Well how about some common sense from all these fool pedestrians walking and fool bicyclists riding around town here these dark days and nights wearing nothing but all dark clothing and no lights or nothing. Then they barge out in front of my truck. How can I stop and not hit ’em if I can’t see ’em, huh?”

I try and answer, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be a point. 

“Shoot, there oughtta be a law, especially for these idiot ‘parents’ who let their kids run around with all dark clothing on, and no lights, nothing. That’s an accident waiting to happen!”

Gramps continued on to other important topics, but I thought I’d share his points here with my fellow good Alamedans. 

Please, you need to both see, and be seen, when walking, riding or whatever, any time of year.

Hope you all have a good and safe Happy Holidays.


Mark Sommers

Many thanks to those individuals and groups who have contributed to the Midway Shelter for abused women and their children.  A number of the listed donors have contributed several times during November.

Among the generous benefactors this month were: Gaby Dolphin & Alan Pryor, the Pipkin-McGrath family, Donna Lee Porter, the Legg family and Larry Mar & Losa Wong. H. Leabah Winter helped out the shelter along with: Virginia Krutilek, Virginia & David Miller, Frank & Winifred Ghiglione in memory of Frank & Isabella Ghighlione and the Alameda Welfare Council. We couldn’t have done without help from: Lois Pryor, Mary Buck, Tomorr Haxhimali, Jay Dawson, Kelly J. Marx, Alameda Hospitality Club, the Robert L. Lippert Foundation and Paula Patillo-Dupree. Three donors chose to remain anonymous.

To see your name among the December donors, send a check to Alameda Homeless Network, P.O. Box 951, Alameda, CA 94501. For further information call 357-0205, Ext. 206 or visit www.midwayshelter.org.

Ginny Krutilek