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Bike East Bay Demands Action as Hayward Streets Claim Another Life

The dangerous speedway, complete with gutter-strip bike lanes, where Hayward’s latest traffic violence victim was killed. Image: Google Street View

Another Hayward driver killed another person walking earlier this month, the 9th fatal collision in the East Bay suburb this year. From a Hayward police release on the death:

On Monday, October 11, 2021, at about 12:58 a.m., officers responded to the report of a disturbance near the intersection of Huntwood Ave and Salmon Ln. Officers arrived on scene and discovered a collision involving a truck and pedestrian. The driver of the truck was not injured, remained on scene and was cooperative during the investigation. The pedestrian, a 56-year-old male, was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment, and was later pronounced deceased.

Of course, the collision involved a truck driver and a pedestrian. And, although Streetsblog is cynically confident the police will not look into this, the fact that the driver "remained on scene" and was "cooperative" is not enough. Was the driver paying attention and driving in a responsible way? Or was the driver speeding, on the phone, texting, or otherwise driving recklessly and/or illegally?

It's also part of a pattern of carnage on Hayward's surface-level freeways masquerading as streets. "Another person killed on the southern portion of Huntwood that the chamber of commerce blocked from making safer. Less than 600 feet from where Valerie Martinez was killed," wrote East Bay safety advocate Steve Dunbar, in an email to Streetsblog.

Bike East Bay's Dave Campbell told Streetsblog that city officials seem to have already decided it's not the design and, in fact, they are currently ripping out partially-installed protected bike lanes on nearby Patrick Avenue. "How do they sleep at night knowing they could keep people safe on their streets but they don't?"

Bike East Bay is pleading with the city's leadership to try and understand the horrors caused by their actions. They have written an open letter to the city:

Dear Hayward City City Council:

As you are likely aware, yet another life was taken from us on the streets of Hayward, this time a resident walking on Huntwood Ave near Salmon Lane on the morning of October 11, just a few hundred feet from where a driver hit and killed Valerie Martinez walking across Huntwood Ave. Hayward PD press release here. This is your ninth fatality this year and now 2nd on Huntwood below Industrial Blvd where this Council dismissed our request for safety improvements and approved Public Works Department’s recommendation to keep 4 travel lanes for cars and provide no protection from speeding traffic for people walking and bicycling. Paint does not protect your residents (even other drivers) from careless drivers.

At your October 12 Council meeting to approve painted bike lanes on Patrick Avenue, Mayor Halliday asked about Huntwood Avenue, mainly concerned about trash cans placed in the protected bike lanes on Huntwood Avenue above Industrial Blvd. However, staff responded to Council that they had not received negative feedback to the bike lanes on Huntwood. Your Oct 12 Council meeting was two full working days after this 2nd fatality on Huntwood Avenue. Your staff should have informed you at your October 12 Council meeting that two fatalities had now occurred on the stretch of Huntwood where paint is suppose to protect people walking and bicycling, where pedestrians needlessly have to cross four lanes of fast traffic and a 5 inch stripe separates people bicycling from 40mph+ speeding traffic. While we don’t yet know the details of the crash this month, we know that no one should die on the streets of Hayward, and we know that protected bike lanes make that less likely.

We are asking for immediate safety improvements on Huntwood Avenue below Industrial Blvd and that you either reconsider your now approved paint only bike lanes on Patrick Avenue or require staff come up with a detailed plan how to control speeding. Someone is going to get killed on Patrick Avenue if we do not get speeds down below 25mph, and as we are seeing everywhere across the East Bay, cars are using wider buffered bike lanes as auxiliary lanes, speeding past responsibly driving people in the vehicle lane. Paint does not protect. At night these conditions are worse, the very times we lost two lives on Huntwood Avenue this year. Please add our recommended safety improvement for Huntwood to the repaving contract you are using to paint bike lanes on Patrick Avenue.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Dave Campbell | Advocacy Director

P.S. - Although we are not police experts, 10 days seems unreasonably long to put out a press release calling for witnesses.

If you live or work in Hayward, Bike East Bay wants you to write to the city council members and other officials to urge them to take street safety seriously.

    • Angela Andrews
    • Elisa Marquez
    • Sara Lamnin
    • Francisco Zermeno
    • Barbara Halliday
    • Aisha Wahab
    • Mark Salinas
    • Alex Ameri
    • Jennifer Ott
    • Charmine Solla
    • Kelly McAdoo
    • Alejandro Jasso

Hayward leadership doesn't have to look far to find examples of how to make its streets safe. Just next door, in Fremont, planners are retrofitting some of that city's suburban streets (despite the fact that they are still way too wide and over built) with Dutch safety features that would have made many of Hayward's recent fatal crashes all-but impossible.

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