Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 4, 2021

Mean streets

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

By now, if you are online at all, you will have heard that Alameda County Supervisor and Alameda resident Wilma Chan has died. And she died, folks, as a defenseless pedestrian doing something the majority of us do everyday: walking her dog.

I’m not in love with the passive voice in this tweet “struck and killed by a car” since it absolves the person behind the wheel in that car of responsibility. Here’s the blurb from the PD:

Just after 8:00 am, on Wednesday, November 3, the Alameda Police Department responded to the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Grand Street for a report of a collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian. Upon arrival, officers located an unresponsive adult female in the roadway. The woman was transported by the Alameda Fire Department to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. The driver of the vehicle, an adult female, remained on the scene and is cooperating with the investigation. At this time, the cause of the collision is yet to be determined. Out of respect for the family, we are not releasing information about the pedestrian. The investigation is ongoing and no additional information will be released at this time.

I’ll remind folks that that intersection is pretty close to Wood Middle School, 8:00 AM is pretty close to the time when kids are starting to head to school. This fatality could have been any number of people but the one terrible silver lining in this horrific tragedy is that the prominence of the person killed may finally get people’s attention to how dangerous the streets of Alameda are for people not wrapped around tons and tons of steel. And when there are attempts at building in safety for these folks perhaps we should be dismissing these or complaining that it’s taking too long to get from point A to point B in Alameda because of all the safety measures.

We need more traffic calming, not less. We need more ways to slow down traffic not less. We know we don’t have the manpower for enforcement so we must be building in safety for Alameda residents and visitors by design. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been passed in median lanes, even on road dieted streets because I was going too slow. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen cars blow through intersections even though there is a pedestrian patiently waiting and you’re supposed to stop for pedestrians in intersections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cars creep through those crosswalks because they’re too patient to wait for the pedestrian to walk from curb to curb. Just the other day I saw a skateboarder nearly crash because they had the right of way to go straight in the sidewalk and someone decided to try to beat him turning left and it was either stop short or crash into the car.

We’ll never enforce our way into making pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter users, and skateboarders safer from drivers. But maybe we can design some level of protection for people who either do not have cars or choose not to use them.


  1. I walk almost everyday starting at the intersection of 3rd. & Central. That’s the big one in front of Encinal High, if ever there was an unsafe intersection that’s it. I purposly never set foot on the street until I can see no cars coming up or down Central Ave. For me its no cars coming then get across the street quickly. the 25 mile per hour speed limit at schools is very rarley ever used by people going up or down Central in front of the high school. sad but true.

    Comment by John P. — November 4, 2021 @ 7:57 am

    • John that intersection is going to undergo a MAJOR overhaul. It has already been designed and you can probably view the plans on the City website. It’s part of the redesign of Central Ave – which will be creating bicycle lanes (ready for more complaints). The overhaul of 3rd and Central will be done last in the process – I think around Summer 2023.

      Comment by saraholaes1 — November 4, 2021 @ 2:56 pm

  2. This is the second person killed within a 2 block radius of that area. People seriously drive way, way too fast along that area. I was behind some guy in a truck this morning who then proceeded to drive like a maniac, passing people left and right on shoreline. People need to understand a lot of people cross the roads along that area

    Comment by john doe — November 4, 2021 @ 9:03 am

  3. I’m so saddened by Supervisor Wilma Chan’s death. She was a wonderful and beloved leader in our community.

    We do need to focus on more traffic calming remedies. John, I agree that Central Ave. is of great concern. My neighbor was recently almost hit trying to cross Central Ave. They speed on Central Ave. like it’s the Daytona Race Tracks.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 4, 2021 @ 11:04 am

  4. The ugliest thing I’ve seen out of this tragedy is local real estate agent Joe LoParo capitalizing on this opportunity to rail against the road diet on Shoreline, already blaming it for Wilma Chan’s death using very specious reasoning. He’s urging people to write in to the city, which to me seems to be just another anti-city council cudgel for his crowd to wield. There’s an unfortunate subset of Alamedans who are upset about the increased speeding in town as well as the rise of traffic calming measures (Webster, Park, Otis, Shoreline, etc), and failing to see the causation between the two.

    Just last month, people were complaining about the Otis St traffic calming redesign, not remembering that it was meant to prevent another Sam Sause tragedy, the pedestrian who died at Otis & Grand while trying to travel against 4 lanes of traffic.

    Comment by JRB — November 4, 2021 @ 11:15 am

    • What? The guy who hosted the infamous PAC meeting where Malia was referred to as a “union whore” and used to fly the white supremacist blue line flag is being shitty about something? Well I for one am simply shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

      Comment by Rod — November 4, 2021 @ 11:25 am

  5. Hear hear Lauren.
    Yes, safer design …
    Lets reduce speed to 20MPH.

    The Vision Zero plan is coming along. The first recommendation was ‘ … by 2040 ..’; now ‘… by 2035’, why 10+ years? How about 2030?!!!!

    Comment by Ron Mooney — November 4, 2021 @ 9:13 pm

  6. Instead of messing more with the streets, which have shown so far to be mostly confusing, how about we hire some extras to unexpectedly patrol hot spots in our fair city and ticket people who need it —bike, car, person. Anyone on the road is responsible for what happens on the road. We used to call that being an adult. Time we stopped treating people like children.

    Comment by Li — November 9, 2021 @ 5:03 pm

  7. The recommendations for reducing the number of auto-pedestrian and auto-cyclist accidents always put the blame on either the driver or the infrastructure, or both. Really? As long as we have pedestrians and cyclists who don’t properly and responsibly account for vehicles in their vicinity we will continue to have these unfortunate incidents. It’s not just unsafe drivers and/or infrastructure.

    There are invariably at least two human beings involved, and they both have to bear at least some responsibility. I’m not making light of the role of the driver or the infrastructure, but unless we look at ALL of the contributing factors the quest for perfect is doomed to fail.

    Comment by Terry Toster — November 23, 2021 @ 2:43 pm

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