City efforts increase danger on University Ave.
Two of Berkeley’s worst intersections for bicyclists just got worse.
As a bicycle commuter, I shudder whenever I cross the intersections of Shattuck/University and Milvia/University.
Both are confusing, alarming – and statistically dangerous: Police reports show that Shattuck/University is the city’s most collision-prone intersection for nonmotorists, while Milvia/University is tied for fifth-worst.
The city could make both intersections safer by phasing the signals, to separate turning vehicles from nonmotorists (and others) who are going straight.
Incredibly, the city has instead made both intersections worse. At the southeast corner of Shattuck Square and University, a new concrete “bulb-out” (sidewalk extension) removes cyclists’ ability to turn right on red lights after stopping.
Across University, another wide “bulb-out” needlessly forces cyclists out into aggressive, rapidly turning traffic. At Milvia and University, still another concrete bulb-out complicates cyclists’ right turns. And at the mid-block crosswalk near the UC Theatre, two more wide bulb-outs infringe on cyclists’ paths. Violating the city’s past promises to cyclists, several of these bulb-outs are considerably wider than parked cars.
There are two morals to this story. The first: If you see more cyclists riding on downtown sidewalks, please don’t blame the cyclists. Blame the city for taking away our right to use the road safely.
The second moral is sadder: I suspect that everyone involved in planning these University Ave. changes had the best of intentions. (I’ve met some of these people; they genuinely wanted to make things better.) But good intentions and promises didn’t translate into safe designs or competent concrete pours. So everyone has ended up worse off: cyclists have a more hostile and dangerous downtown; city residents are paying higher taxes to fund these “Measure S” projects; and several downtown merchants lost business for months as construction dragged far behind schedule.
The moral is that if we can’t make constructive, consensus-based changes, the best option may be no change at all. Too much planning is making Berkeley a dull, gridlocked, inaccessible city.
2700 San Pablo neighbors not NIMBYS, want lower building
Amid all the comments about the proposed development at 2700 San Pablo, the opposition has been mischaracterized as being against affordable housing and against development.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We would love to see the site developed and would welcome affordable housing – in fact, a development of all affordable housing would be appropriate.
We do feel that care must be taken with the part of the site that has not been cleaned of toxics and that a three-story building would be welcomed by our community.