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Advocates Demand Change After Another Crash on International

The aftermath of this weekend’s crash caused by another reckless driver and infrastructure that provides inadequate protection. Photo: Bryan Culbertson

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At least 14 people were injured Friday in yet another collision on International Blvd. in Oakland, this time involving two drivers and a bus. "At 4:55 p.m. Friday, March 8, an AC Transit Bus Operator reported a head-on collision with a passenger vehicle at 54th Avenue and International Boulevard," explained Robert Lyles, a spokesperson for AC Transit. Apparently, the crash involved a Blue Chrysler 300 "heading Southbound on International Boulevard at a still undetermined speed. Simultaneously, [the driver of] a Toyota Prius, also in the Southbound lanes of International, apparently attempted to make a left turn onto 54th Avenue."

The Chrysler's driver broadsided the Prius and veered into the path of the Northbound Tempo Line 1T bus in the bus-only lane.

More from Lyles:

11 bus passengers were taken to nearby hospitals for evaluation. All passengers who reported injuries were alert and communicative with first responders. The AC Transit Bus Operator, the 12th individual to report injuries, was alert and actively spoke with first responders before being transported to a local hospital. Both drivers of the Chrysler and Toyota were transported from the scene and taken to hospitals for treatment.

This is just the latest in a long list of serious collisions, many of which have taken the lives of pedestrians living in the area. Advocates with Traffic Violence Rapid Response are demanding that AC Transit and the city do better. Below is a statement from TVRR about this latest crash:

International Blvd has a long history of tragedy. Eighteen people, mostly pedestrians, have been killed in traffic crashes on International Blvd over the past two years, eleven in just the last year, almost one a month. This latest incident, miraculously, has not yet yielded any fatalities, but many lives have forever been altered for the worse due to conditions here.

  • International Blvd is a high injury corridor. Fully 25% of all fatalities from traffic crashes in Oakland occur here on International Blvd. Why?
    • The street is wide, encouraging passing and higher speeds.
    • The TEMPO BRT line was installed as a center-running bus-only lane, so riders must all cross to and from the stops, putting pedestrians at risk
    • There are no barriers between the bus-only lane and the regular vehicle lane, allowing drivers to enter the bus lane at will. 
    • There are no speed cushions or other speed control measures installed, allowing drivers to achieve very high speeds without impediment.
    • Speeding is by far and away the immediate cause of most, if not all, of the serious and fatal crashes on International. (
  • The Tempo is by far the highest ridership AC Transit line carrying over 15,000 passengers on an average weekday. They deserve a safe trip and safe passage to and from bus stops on International. 
  • The currently planned safety project on International, due to be installed this year, begins making the street safer, but does not go nearly far enough, nor has it been executed fast enough. Caltrans control over much of International Blvd. has complicated the response.
  • We are concerned that the planned plastic divider posts will not slow down speeding vehicles and that stronger measures will be needed to prevent drivers from speeding and keep vehicles out of the bus only lane. 
  • Traffic safety is public safety. People are sick of the violence in our communities. We can DO something about traffic violence. But we need to treat the crisis on our streets like the crisis it is. 
  • Traffic violence affects everyone: people walking across the street, people driving, and as with this incident, people riding the bus and our public servants, the bus operators. It affects first responders, who must deal with the aftermath of horrific crashes. It affects merchants and neighbors, who live with the constant menace of traffic violence suddenly taking another life.
  • Making changes to physical infrastructure is the most effective way to prevent speeding and reduce crashes. If we focus our efforts on the most dangerous streets, we can make real improvements and lessen this crisis on the streets.
  • We call on the CIty of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) to install speed cushions on International Blvd – and anywhere else they're needed. Speed cushions allow emergency vehicles and buses with larger wheel bases to pass through, while making it impossible for drivers of cars to speed.
  • We call on Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and the City Council to invest resources into reducing the danger on our streets. This means working aggressively to fully staff the Oakland Department of Transportation, investing funds into street safety projects, clearing any contracting backlogs and other bureaucratic impediments to getting street safety projects delivered faster. 
  • We call on the Oakland Fire Department to be a partner in addressing traffic safety. Often the Fire Department insists on outdated requirements that water down the traffic safety projects on our streets in the name of public safety. The Fire Department should collaborate with the Department of Transportation to redesign our City streets for traffic safety.
  • We call on AC Transit to consider the safety of bus operators, bus riders, and community members, and partner with the City of Oakland to make our streets safer for everyone.

For a timeline of the efforts of TVRR on International, check out these links. For previous Streetsblog coverage, click here.

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