Three Tweet Thursday

Alameda PD listens to bike-haters, Valencia protected bike lanes still going nowhere, and a call to improve International

I mean, we're happy to see a cop on a bike. Photo: APD
I mean, we're happy to see a cop on a bike. Photo: APD

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Normally Streetsblog saves short, roundup-style stories for Friday, but three items came across social media that seemed worth amplifying immediately.

Alameda Police still don’t get what’s killing its citizens

The lead photo is from a tweet from the Alameda police (APD) announcing that “During July, we will focus our traffic and educational efforts towards dangerous bicycle violations that not only place the rider at risk, but pose a danger to other 🚴‍♂️🚶🚗🛹.”

County Supervisor Wilma Chan was walking her dog in Alameda when she was killed last November by a driver. “Between 2009 and 2018, 2,229 people were injured or killed in collisions on streets in Alameda,” says a city of Alameda Vision Zero report. Also: “Pedestrians are involved in 18 percent of Alameda’s total crashes but 35 percent of the city’s severe crashes.”

On average, two people die every year in the city. And they’re killed not by other pedestrians, nor by cyclists–they’re killed by errant drivers, just as Chan was when she was struck in a crosswalk.

Obviously, a police department should be putting its resources towards stopping people from getting killed, not placating bike haters. APD was thoroughly ratioed for its tweet, including by Lucy Gigli, one of the founders of Walk Bike Alameda:

Screenshot from 2022-07-07 12-51-50Others pointed out APD’s utter failure–along with police departments across the Bay Area–to keep motorists out of bike lanes. “Vision Zero requires focus on those causing the most harm, not complaining the loudest,” wrote current Walk Bike Alameda President Denyse Trepanier.

Streetsblog has reached out to APD to find out if they’ll be reconsidering their priorities.

Special meeting planned to make International Blvd. safer

Part of International Boulevard's new left-hand, bus-only lane. Photo: AC Transit
Part of International Boulevard’s new left-hand, bus-only lane. Photo: AC Transit

Oakland’s bus-only lane, also known as “bus rapid transit,” opened on International almost two years ago. But it quickly became obvious that just as with bike lanes, paint isn’t enough to keep private motorists off this exclusive road space. Drivers have continued to use the lanes, often to speed, with predictably tragic consequences. 73-year-old Emelia Martinez was killed while crossing International just last month. And Lolomanaia Soakai was killed on International less than two weeks ago. This has led to calls for concrete enforcement of the bus lane, and for more concrete generally to force reckless motorists to drive at a safe speed on International.

Now AC Transit and the City of Oakland are starting a conversation about bolstering safety on International, as indicated in this tweet from AC Transit board member and advocate Jean Walsh:

Oakland safety advocate Tim Courtney is calling for speed bumps to the width of bus wheels and other physical obstacles for prevent drivers from speeding. “Drivers in Oakland will not take signs, paint, or thoughts and prayers for that matter. You must make it physically impossible for someone to drive dangerously by adding concrete. ‘Enforcement’ through the laws of physics.”

Streetsblog will, of course, continue to follow these developments.

San Francisco continues its wait for someone to die on Valencia

An Uber drop off in the bike lane on Valencia in March 2020. Photo: Safelanes
An Uber dropoff in the bike lane on Valencia in March 2020. Photo: Safelanes

UCSF Emerita Professor Ruth Malone tweeted about a close call on Wednesday that nearly crushed her husband. “My husband just reported that riding in #bike lane on – wait for it – VALENCIA yesterday he was squeeze pressed bt two cars so close that one bumped his grip. This street is going to get someone killed. How many close calls needed?”

SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin replied that the city is finally going to fix Valencia this year.

Really?

Streetsblog has written so many stories about cyclists getting hit, attacked, or having close calls on Valencia that it’s exhausting. Meanwhile protected bike lanes have been approved for years, with nothing happening except for a short pilot and a raft of broken promises. Do people really need to fill out another survey, as Tumlin suggests? It’s a weird thing to say at an advocacy blog, but: don’t bother kicking the football, Charlie Brown. It seems at this point the city and Supervisors Rafael Mandelman and Hillary Ronen have decided it’s not in their political interests to fix Valencia. Nobody should believe anything the city tells them about Valencia until they see it on the street, in concrete.

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