Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 7, 2021

The car always wins

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

For those anxiously wondering if we will ever get to the Council Referral portion of the City Council agenda the answer is: not this time. We’re currently at item 10-I and, at this point, I’m wondering if we should start a betting pool around whether we’ll get into double lettered agenda numbering before the referrals will ever get heard. Honestly, until the City Council can get through a regular agenda and all the normal agenda items they shouldn’t even consider addressing the referrals until then. This should serve as an incentive for folks who love the referral process to try to make the meetings go by a lot quicker. Sadly, Trish Spencer won’t understand this and will continue stretching these meetings into forever o’clock for shits and giggles. Of the nine referral items only one is not a Trish Spencer joint. That one belongs to Tony Daysog.

The consent calendar alone has 12 items to hear. Based on past practices we know that Trish Spencer is bound to pull at least one or two of those. Given that the is the agenda item about teleconferencing, a bunch of user fees, and the affordable housing fee I don’t see how this Council can complete the consent calendar before 9:30 PM assuming a 7:00 PM start time.

At this point is it even worth it to talk about possible agenda items which might be interesting since it’s unclear if the Council will have time before 11:00 AM to even get to the regular agenda? See there are still continued items from the last regular City Council meeting which, should, get heard before the regular agenda for this meeting.

We already know that Trish Spencer is going to vote against 6-A so hopefully these three items can get pushed through relatively quickly.

If we do get to the regular agenda items the first item should take up all the remaining time because it’s pretty important given the recent high profile death of Wilma Chan on the streets of Alameda. The item? Adoption of Resolution Adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan; and Adoption of Resolution to Make Significant Safety Improvements to Alameda Streets in 2022 and Beyond to End Fatalities and Serious Injuries. 

For too long we’ve put the need to shave off two or three seconds from our commutes before safeguarding the lives of the people who walk, bike, and are not wrapped in a steel bag when using the public streets of Alameda. Here’s some of the more sobering stats that were uncovered in analyzing Alameda’s 10 year data:

  • The top two behaviors most associated with severe injury and fatal crashes were unsafe speeds and failure to yield to a pedestrian.
  • Younger and older victims (ages 10-24 and 65-84) were over-represented in severe and fatal crashes compared to other age groups.
  • People walking and biking were also disproportionately vulnerable in crashes: while they made up 39% of Alameda’s crashes, they were in 62% of Alameda’s fatal and severe injury crashes.
  • Over 60% of severe injury and fatal crashes occurred on arterial streets.
  • Most injury crashes occurred at un-signalized intersections, but signalized intersections were overrepresented:  7% of intersections are signalized but 22% of crashes happened at signalized intersections.
  • Improving safety around schools is important:  63% of crashes involving younger victims (ages 18 or younger) occurred within a quarter mile of a school while only 38% of Alameda’s streets are located within a quarter mile of a school.
  • People in socially vulnerable areas have a somewhat disproportionate risk of severe injury and fatal crashes: 41% of these crashes occurred in a socially vulnerable area while only 30% of Alameda’s roadways are located within a socially vulnerable area.  

Given that our young people and our elderly are disproportionately affected by car related crashes and fatalities one would think that we would be doing more to protect these populations. But, in some ways, some people think their right to drive unfettered is as sacrosanct as folks who think their right to own a gun is more important than allowing children to go to school without fear of being victimized by a mass shooter because of the proliferation of guns in this country. I literally watched yesterday an impatient driver swerve around me on Atlantic (one lane in each direction) only to speed up to be stopped at Constitution. He then start driving through the red light because the cycles were taking too long only to be stopped at Webster. He then weaved into the left hand turning pocket to cut off the cars going straight on Atlantic and proceeded to drive through the red light, again. He raced off toward the base at top speed when that stretch tops out at 35 mph.

It’s just a shame it always takes a death for the citizens of this City to be willing to take action on safety for all. But even then there will be someone, somewhere who will balk at removing parking to daylight an intersection where someone’s blood has already been spilled. Because access to unfettered parking also seems to trump the lives sacrificed on the altar of being able to park in front of your house.


  1. was that reckless driver a silver sedan? We too have witness very dangerous repeat offenders

    Comment by Mary McMuldren — December 7, 2021 @ 8:31 am

  2. 80 years ago today, December 7, 1941 , Alameda and the United States we’re plunged into war by the surprise attack on our naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese ambassador was at the time in Washington, D.C. holding fake “peace” talks with the American Secretary of State, even though he knew the huge Japanese fleet had sailed to attack Pearl Harbor week’s before and had planned the attack for a year. There was a time when every American remembers where they were when they heard this news, but that time is coming to an end.

    The world is still a very dangerous place. Let’s pray our leaders have the wisdom to avoid further disaster and war.

    Comment by History Buff — December 7, 2021 @ 9:06 am

  3. I spent the morning reviewing the Plan, the goals, the action items, and the feedback and comments from the boards and commissions, and community. A lot of work has gone into the Vision Zero Action plan and the feedback and community engagement has been very valuable.

    I have some comments on the final plan being presented to the City Council tonight:

    One area of concern for me is Goal #4: To Decrease Speeds and Crashes. Like many residents in Alameda, I’d like to move up Goal #4 from 2035 to a date sooner, but it looks as though we are constrained by both budget and staffing. Hopefully, we can use some of the Biden Administration Infrastructure funding to remove these constraints.

    A second area of concern for me is Goal #5: To Improve Data. I’d like to see us take the recommendations made by the Transportation Commission to create a separate map based on real time data collected from real time public input.

    The Transportation Meeting held on October 27, 2021 was very fruitful in that we learned how the underlying data that is being used in the Vision Zero Action Plan is collected.
    The Vision Zero Action Plan is data driven, and the High Injury Corridors data is the data that drives the city’s Vision Zero Action policy decisions.

    The High Injury Corridor data is collected based on official police reports.

    Incidents like near misses, and other public input – for example police calls and other non-official police reporting, are not included in the High Injury Corridor data, maps and policy decisions. However, on October 27, 2021 the Transportation Commission made some compelling recommendations to address the gaps between the police reports data and the non-police report public input. While I didn’t see the Transportation Commission’s comments and amendments included in the Exhibit C: document: Public Feedback Summary and Changes Based on Public Feedback, I took some notes of their meeting comments and recommendations.

    They recommended creating a separate map – to capture separate data points that are based on public input and non-official police calls and reporting – data that is not currently being collected. This important data can assist the Vision Zero team in identifying problem areas in the city that should be monitored and evaluated. Some of the streets mentioned were Buena Vista near Wood and Chapin, areas of Atlantic Street, Santa Clara Street near Park and Webster Street, and Fifth Street to name a few.

    It was noted by the Senior Transportation Coordinator, that near misses are included in the Appendix C Map, but I could not locate the map so it’s not clear what areas are included.

    This is an area where I think we can make improvements in order to achieve Goal #5: Improve Data – take the recommendations made by the Transportation Commission on October 27, 2021 to create a separate map based on real time data collected from public input. And monitor and evaluate this data for inclusion in our Vision Zero Acton policy decisions.

    Comment by Karen Bey — December 7, 2021 @ 1:31 pm

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