Dangerous streets?

You betcha.

Sunday, May 1st, Island Drive: 74-year old female pedestrian is hit by by car and dies

Friday, May  6th, Otis @ Island Drive: male cyclist hit by one of two cars exhibiting road-rage for a mile or more, both sped through a red light; cyclist got lucky, didn’t die but very clearly could have! 3 surgeries done, more to come…

Monday, May 16, Everett @ Santa Clara: 13-year old boy on his bike is hit by a car and dies.

And that’s just the 3 recent accidents I know of.  Only Monday’s recent tragedy was reported upon in the local papers.  Why is that?

Instead of behaving like we’re in a big city that has obvious dangers, we walk/ride like we’re in Hometown USA. It’s incompatible. And apparently, it’s far too often dangerous and lethal.

We live in a city, not a town, that doesn’t have the infrastructure that could optimize our safety when we want to walk/ride. We do not have safe cycling throughfares, bicycle boulevards, to use to navigate our city.  Yet we continue to behave as though we do. We continue to behave as though walking and cycling here is no different than in doing so in a sleepy suburb.  It is different. Very different. And dangerously so.

Contemporary cycling throughfares consist of one-way streets, no stop signs, and some intersection-roundabouts with stop-sign for traffic on the crossing streets on every intersection.  We have so little off-street parking that every single street is lined with parked cars obstructing vision at intersections, coming in and out of driveways, etc.  Every cycling lane is snug up against lines of parked cars….  I am constantly vigilant for drivers opening their doors into my car as I pass by the rows of parked cars. I can imagine this requires full-time hyper-vigilance of cyclists to ride safely here.

We need to change how we view, how we characterize, our city so that our behavior will realign with what’s safe. Read up on how NOT to get hit by a car here.

We need a complete, well-designed bicycle infrastructure for our city.  Particularly as The Point gets developed and the magnitude of our city swells, a contemporary and seamless city-wide bicycle network would really benefit us. We don’t even need to be innovative, although that would be nice. We just need to copy what been shown/proven to work elsewhere.

Alameda, more than anywhere, has streets, open-space/land to develop/use, and water fronts to do a great job of this. It could serve the daily needs of residents and be an attraction to off-island weekend visitors. It could help drive revenue for our businesses, and reduce gas usage among residents.  It would improve our quality of life.

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About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

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