Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 20, 2015

Drive like your children live here

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Someone posted this on Facebook the other day and I thought it would be nice to post this given the discussion about Complete Streets on Central.  It’s from the New York Taxi and Limo Commission and is a reminder that we all should be mindful when venturing out in public whatever mode of transportation we use.

But it’s particularly important for those of us that use our cars and get complacent in our vehicles.  While it may be an inconvenience to may only be able to drive 30 mph instead of 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, in the end it only adds a few extra seconds to your drive if you stay at 25 mph in the zones marked as such.

The video is about 15 minutes long, it’s definitely a tear jerker.

You’ve probably see signs that have similar messages throughout Alameda.  Despite the complaints about congestion — which I’m assuming means that people feel like they’re going too slow — it’s clear that some neighborhoods feel as though the speed is too high through their particular stretch of road and want to remind drivers that there are other uses in those streets as well.

Of course, it doesn’t help when folks are doing asshole things like texting and taking selfies when driving either.


  1. Idiot bicyclists need to get the hell off our roads. If you can’t afford a car go back to Antioch. Bicyclists are the number one reason for our traffic problems and frankly people riding bicycles are more likely to be poor and poor people are more likely to commit crime — just look at Oakland.

    Also pedestrians watch out for cars we could easily raise the speed limit to 35 if you would stop trying to cross while we’re driving…

    Comment by Rodney — May 20, 2015 @ 6:54 am

  2. ….and the lead off hitter goes down on strikes

    Comment by Joe — May 20, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  3. The issue is simply about people caring about other people. We all need to treat each other with greater respect and understanding. We are all in this world (i.e. island) together. Consider what you are doing that impacts others. Speeding in Alameda is dangerous. Don’t do it. I have seen drivers of cars enter Alameda from Doolittle Drive at speeds that are up to 45-50 MPH. Why? Because there is no Police presence for them to worry about. I have seen drivers run stop lights and cut bikers and other drivers off at Grand Street and Otis Drive. Why? Because there s no Police presence for them to worry about. I have seen drivers make right hand turns on a red light while pedestrians are in the cross walks. Why? Because it is legal to do so. Before we ask people to do something that they mots likely won’t, we need to get serious about traffic management in Alameda. We say that people are too impatient while driving, yet when we ask the City to take steps to slow drivers down, they say that “we need to keep traffic moving.” Until we recognize the fact that there are far too many blind spots at many intersections, far too many large vehicles being driven by people who can’t manage them, and that we need to have far more “No Right Turns” at stop lights, people will die. People will be injured.

    Comment by Bill — May 20, 2015 @ 7:30 am

  4. Rodney: I do hope that is satire and that you’re not really some dumb redneck in an elevated pick-up truck.

    Comment by BC — May 20, 2015 @ 8:10 am

  5. Looks like the 1st and 3rd commenters have done a fine job of covering all the bases, but I’ll put in my two cents. I’d personally like to see the speed limit lowered to 20 mph over much of the island; as I mentioned on Twitter the other day, our streets were not designed for high speeds and 25 is often faster than is safe under current conditions anyways. Besides, at 20mph, how much longer would it take to drive the length of the island? 10 minutes? I would gladly take the extra time if it meant that island residents were less likely to be hurt in the event of a crash.

    Further, if I were the benevolent dictator/philosopher-king of Alameda, I’d either reconfigure Park Street to one lane each direction with a center turn lane and separated bike lanes, or just close it to car traffic entirely. Road diets a la Shoreline are the best way to make our streets safer for all road users.

    Comment by Alex Cortez — May 20, 2015 @ 8:45 am

  6. #4: That is extremely disrespectful and bigoted. Yes I drive a pickup truck (Ford F350) but no it’s not “elevated” it’s raised only 6 inches and I don’t consider myself a “redneck” but maybe it seems that way from the 10 foot high horse you’re sitting on. I come to this blog for interesting posts and discussions, not to have to listen to the stereotypical, uneducated and rather vituperative drivel spouting from people like you.

    Comment by Rodney — May 20, 2015 @ 9:01 am

  7. #1/6 Your contumelious blithering in your first post demonstrates that you have no interest in confabulations. Rather, you enjoy seeing your name in print.

    Comment by eyeroll — May 20, 2015 @ 9:19 am

  8. Safety is more important than speed. I remember the outpouring of grief when a middle schooler on a bike was killed on Santa Clara not too long ago. Was he at fault or was the driver? What difference does it make. A little boy is dead. The lives of both families are changed forever and not in a good way. We all need to stop this pissing contest between cyclists and drivers and work together to prevent more accidents and injuries. And everybody needs to slow the hell down and pay attention. Driving or cycling should not be what you do while you’re doing other things. They demand your full attention. Lives depend on it. Maybe even yours.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 20, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  9. To paraphrase Mayor Quimby of the Simpson’s: “Can’t this blog go one day without a riot?”

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — May 20, 2015 @ 10:38 am

  10. Drivers of cars enter Alameda from Doolittle Drive at speeds up to 45-50 mph because it is legal to drive that fast on Doolittle Drive, not because the is “no police presence”. There is plenty of police presence in Alameda. The problem with putting all the blame on City Hall and the police is that it tends to absolve individuals of personal responsibility for their conduct. Cyclists need to stop at stop signs and pedestrians need to STOP and look both ways BEFORE stepping off a corner to cross the street, not just continue walking or jogging without breaking stride. Putting all the blame on motor vehicles is not the answer.

    I am one of the few people (maybe the only one) writing in this blog who actually has been hit by a car as a pedestrian in a crosswalk. At Columbus/Green in SF, Christmas Eve, 1989. I had the green light, and so did the motorist making a right turn into my crosswalk from the parallel street going in my direction. Even though he was travelling at a very low speed, it was still a life-changing career ending experience for me. But probably nothing could have been done by city or police to prevent it. It was driver error, because he said he started driving while his windshield was still fogged up, and didn’t see me right in front of his car. We both had the right of way, and his car was literally coming from behind me, so I didn’t see it even though I did look both ways before stepping off the curb.

    Impatience, distraction, and failure to think ahead causes most accidents. Putting up more traffic signs and painting more colors on the asphalt is not the answer. In fact, these may contribute to the problem because when you give drivers too many visuals to pay attention to all at once, they stop paying attention to any of them. Or they get so distracted, they get confused and brake erratically. A few billboards that say “Motorists Cyclists Pedestrians PAY ATTENTION” might work better than all the money being spent on piling up new signs and stripes at every intersection, and reconfiguring the streets..

    Comment by vigi — May 20, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  11. The issue is really learning how to share the road.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 20, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  12. 10. Well said, Vigi.

    Comment by Jack Mingo — May 20, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  13. Turning movements. Sure seems like so many of these bad events happen when a vehicle is making a turn and does not see a pedestrian or biker. Right hooks like what happened to vigi, a bus driver making a left into Sam Sause at Grand & Otis. Cars have made occupants incredibly safer in recent decades. There are features that are starting to maybe have a positive impact on safety for people outside the vehicle (rearview cameras, proximity alerts, other sensors and self driving features, etc.). However, basic visibility as a driver is much worse in most modern cars than the ones from yesteryear.

    I bike around the island a lot, often w/ a two year old on the back, and walk around town w/ a toddler not on a leash or in a stroller. As a result, I drive pretty damn slowly and carefully in mixed areas. Still, in my Prius, on several occasions, I have come close to not seeing a pedestrian crossing the street due to carelessness w/ a little help from the design of my car. The pillars separating windshield from driver’s side window and front door from back door are super thick, holding airbags and fancy frames to protect me when I crash on the freeway. That front pillar, though, can perfectly obscure pedestrians crossing the street as I turn right into them. Obviously, being a smart human, I have adapted and literally move my giant head a foot in each direction to see the 45 degree view each time I turn, or cross through a crosswalk.

    It really is mostly about slowing down and paying freaking attention. Following lots of the discussions around road diets, it sure seems like people just can not handle driving a little slower and since they can’t drive 40 down Shoreline anymore they think it is unsafe for drivers, when it is perfectly safe for drivers, just at a new speed. Plus it is now a lot safer for pedestrians and bikes and as a result, more people are doing that.

    Comment by BMac — May 20, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  14. And, further to 13, the consequences of a ped-auto collision at 30 mph are many times worse than at 20 mph.

    Re. 10. Vigi, that is an awful thing to happen. As you say, both of you had right of way. The crosswalks in Chinatown and some in the Financial District, where the traffic stops in all directions while people cross, are much safer than relying on drivers turning to yield to pedestrians. They are used in a lot of countries in Europe. (Not sure about Copenhagen…)

    Comment by BC — May 20, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

  15. Not to nitpick, but the driver did NOT have right of way when it entered the crosswalk and ploughed into vigi. They had right of way to go straight. If turning on a green circle, you must yield right of way while there are pedestrians in the crosswalk (or bikes going straight).

    We have done an excellent job of absolving drivers from legal responsibility for operating their 2000-4000 lb machines. Vigi’s incident was not an accident. It was an act of criminal negligence.

    Comment by BMac — May 20, 2015 @ 2:19 pm

  16. several instances in the last few years of large trucks taking out cyclists while making right turns.

    The video is a tear jerk alright. The dash camera of the child getting run over by front and rear tires of van was pretty graphic ( and thankfully at a distance) and seemed like it must have been driver attempting to beat grandma through the cross walk and not seeing shorter child just ahead of her. The van didn’t seem to travel that fast which made it more awful. I lost a sibling 30 years ago to pedestrian accident in Thailand which may have been his fault but also just an odd fluke like getting whacked by an over sized mirror of passing bus while leaning in to look both ways. Police report was vague. Shit happens. I am more moved by the eeriness of life’s uncertainty than the particulars and oddly enough the stats I got on Facebook about Alameda accidents made a bigger impression than watching this video. Here is that FB post.:

    Did you know that Alameda ranks 13th out of 102 similar sized cities in California for bicycle collisions and 18th for pedestrians? One of the most dangerous.

    Yet Alameda County, our county, is one of the safest counties in the state.

    It’s even worse for biking kids: 6th worst in the state! TOP TEN in the state!.

    Comment by MI — May 20, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

  17. 16. MI, I saw that post too. I see those numbers and think a few things. We probably have higher numbers of these incidents in part because we have higher rates of cycling. Topography, weather and attitudes all would indicate higher bike usage in Alameda than the average city. That being said, we need to decide, as a policy position, whether we are okay with frequent incidents and occasional tragedies. Can we just live w/ it, saying shit happens sometimes, and, if we are lucky, blaming the victim for being irresponsible? Or, will we do what is necessary to promote and protect non-motorized road users with the goal of eliminating the worst outcomes. Make no mistake, it is a policy choice whether we allow it to continue or not.

    Comment by BMac — May 20, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

  18. 17. yeah, I thought about the various details behind the numbers too, but still thought the impact was pretty potent. I thought the FB post gave Alameda context with some focus as opposed to a string of random tragic events.

    ” shit happens” is with regard to us ultimately having little control even with best practices in place which reduce incidents, not blaming victims or saying we shouldn’t make every effort to improve conditions. It’s just there on the other side of the coin. Heads or tales.

    Comment by MI — May 20, 2015 @ 4:30 pm

  19. 1, 4, 6: So, Rodney, are you or are you not being sarcastic in your posts? It would be nice to know….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 22, 2015 @ 12:30 am

  20. 10: Carol, I am really, really sorry that a driver who was clearly in the wrong changed your life for the worse.

    I have had my life altered three times when I was hit by cars whose drivers “didn’t see me” on my bike. (I was in the right all three times, but the laws of physics do not follow moral imperatives or vehicle codes.) Not ones of those collisions made my life better or resulted in a positive cash flow, either.

    I hope you realize that making Alameda’s streets and roads safer through “complete streets” and “road diets” is designed to prevent precisely the kinds of collisions that changed your life–by rebalancing the scales a small amount towards pedestrian and bicycle safety and (sometimes) away from driver convenience at all costs. The high cost of preventable deaths and injuries is FAR too high now, and as the incidence of texting, DUI, and speeding increases, we are less and less safe–no matter how we travel.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 22, 2015 @ 12:41 am

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