Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 3, 2020

On accident

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Last Friday on RAMP right around the time that kids are typically let out of school a driver hopped the curb driving probably in excess of the 35 mph posted speed limit and struck and killed a young woman.   The post by the City of Alameda indicates that the driver was/is under investigation for intoxication.

I think it’s high time that the City of Alameda examine the need for 35 mph speed limits anywhere in Alameda.  Certainly they are no longer necessary on Main Street where they between Stargell and the Ferry where the road has been given a diet.  In fact, that road still needs a bit more work particularly around where the parking is, but that’s another post for another day.

There a graphic that I’ve seen floating around but whenever I seem to need it I can never find it.  It shows the likelihood of fatality (or maybe it’s of survival) if a human is hit by a person driving a car at a certain speed.  Naturally, as one would assume, the lower the speed the higher the likelihood of survival.  While it is impossible for anyone to control the behavior of anyone, setting the expectation for the majority of cars on the road would be one step toward a real commitment to the safety of people on our streets that don’t happened to be wrapped in steel.

RAMP could easily be given a road diet, maybe a BRT line could be added for future use, and the speed limit lowered to 25 mph like the rest of Alameda.  And, added bonus, the City could request the Bayport sound wall be taken down since the only reason that side of Bayport has a sound wall is because of the 35 mph speed limit.

While this particularly tragedy may not have been avoidable even with lowered speed limits it is incumbent on everyone — even those who worry that needing to drive 10 mph slower will somehow bring down their quality of life — to do what we can to protect as many people as possible.  I can’t tell you how many cars I get passed by because I’m driving the speed limit, even.   I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve seen blow through intersections even when there are pedestrians waiting to cross.  Our need to convenience drivers over every other modality is such a backward way of thinking.  The fact that we’re already in cars is a convenience.  We should be making it easier (and safer) for those not in cars to get to their destination safely and in one piece.


  1. Zero enforcement on the west end makes the 25mph speed limit useless.
    When driving 25mph, you are certain to have someone right on your butt.
    Commercial truck traffic on Stargell is off the hook – 3 ton limit be damned.

    At some point, the City Police decided to stop proactive enforcement, save for a few photo ops at the beginning of school. Perhaps it is too expensive to write a ticket, staffing too short to cover calls and allow traffic enforcement, maybe policy is to allow an extra 10mph because reasons. Our council does not concern itself with these speed trends in the city when campaigning, although many support Bike Walk Alameda and future infrastructure.

    There is a small memorial at the scene of Friday’s Fatality should anyone need a reminder of the risk we have come to accept in our City, ignoring the current speed limit – let alone lowering it.

    Comment by Bart — February 3, 2020 @ 7:19 am

    • Zero enforcement on the west end makes the 25mph speed limit useless.


      It’s not just the West End, it’s the entire city. We need to bring back enforcement, immediately.

      Comment by dave — February 3, 2020 @ 8:44 am

  2. It is apparent to me that APD has discontinued motorcycle cops in too many parts of Alameda leading to speed racer behavior around town. APD is understaffed. Reason? Too much money spent on the fire department.

    Median Alameda income $89,000

    The highest paid fire apparatus operator in Alameda made $261,557 in salary and benefits in 2017; the lowest paid made $183,729, and the total compensation package averaged $230,194 ($162,836 in salary and $67,358 in benefits). Similarly, the highest paid firefighter made $251,930 in salary and benefits; the lowest paid made $122,603, and the total compensation package averaged $192,408 ($134,855 in salary and $57,553 in benefits.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — February 3, 2020 @ 7:57 am

  3. APD is understaffed because police are understaffed everywhere. Not because of too much money spent on the Fire Department. I wrote a whole post about recruitment incentives.

    Also, if I’m driving 25 mph in a car and an impatient car behind me is riding my tail because I’m only going 25 mph at least if that driver collides with me, I’m probably not going to be hurt. If a driver is driving 35 mph or higher and collides with a pedestrian, the likelihood of survival is much lower. Personally, I’m okay with being that asshole forcing someone to drive the speed limit if it helps avoid colliding with someone not wrapped in a shit ton of steel. Lowering speed limits saves lives.

    At lower speeds, even if a crash does occur, the consequences will be less severe, especially if it involves a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist. A pedestrian has a 90 percent chance of survival if hit by a vehicle moving at 30 kmph (18.64 mph). This decreases to 70 percent at 40 kmph (24.85 mph) and less than 20 percent at 50kmph (31 mph).

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 3, 2020 @ 8:24 am

    • This isn’t something I say very often, but Nowyouknow is completely correct: it is about the money, specifically fire’s outsize taking of it. As for your post about recruitment efforts, there’s an old saying: If money isn’t working, you aren’t using enough. Increase the police budget and you’ll have more police.

      Comment by dave — February 3, 2020 @ 8:42 am

      • APD has the money budgeted they just can’t find the bodies to fill. That has nothing to do with AFD’s completely separate budget. From the staff report:

        Despite these efforts since 2017, the Department still has nine sworn officer vacancies, and continues to lose sworn staff to retirements. 13 sworn officers will be retirement eligible by July 2020. In addition, of the 16 Recruits hired since 2017, to date only seven have successfully transitioned to full time officers. Police officer recruits must complete a 6-month academy followed by a 19-week field training officer (FTO) program prior to working independently as a probationary patrol officer.

        Comment by Lauren Do — February 3, 2020 @ 8:57 am

        • Fire has its own training requirements, yet they somehow are fully staffed with excess applicants for each opening. If you don’t grasp the obvious — MONEY — then this conversation should probably end.

          Comment by dave — February 3, 2020 @ 9:32 am

        • Or perhaps there aren’t too many videos of fire department personnel violating the civil rights of black and brown people and therefore the positions are still ones that retain desirability.

          Comment by Lauren Do — February 3, 2020 @ 11:14 am

        • From the Police Executive Research Forum:

          [I]t is not simply a matter of police salaries being too low, or other problems that can be addressed fairly easily. There seem to be fewer young people today who have any interest in policing.

          Comment by Lauren Do — February 3, 2020 @ 11:18 am

  4. Are speed cameras an option, or are they ruled out for some legal reason?

    Comment by BC — February 3, 2020 @ 11:03 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at