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More traffic makes no sense

Ann Sieck Berkeley
Tuesday December 04, 2001

The Daily Planet received a copy of the following letter written to the mayor and council: 

I’m writing in support of Policy T-35 and exploration of the many alternatives to creating more parking in Berkeley’s congested areas. I have lived here a long time and the evidence that inviting more cars in makes for any improvement in the quality of this town’s public life is exactly zero. 

We already have more traffic much of the time than our streets can safely handle, a problem which compounds itself as people are afraid to bike or let their kids bike or walk. Is the example of downtown San Francisco our rationale for trying to shoehorn more cars onto our streets? 

If we build more garages, increased traffic could even force those of us who bike or walk in Berkeley back into our cars as the streets become more dangerous. And since most shoppers have to be pedestrians for at least a block or two, the craziness of our crosswalks will come back to bite us when people notice that the city’s charm has gotten the worst of it in a collision with a few thousand automobiles.  

If the game is “How Emeryville can you be?” we’ll lose. Emeryville will get our business, and our soul will have wandered off to some quiet neighborhood with a cute café and two or three funky specialty shops, the next Fourth Street waiting to be discovered. 

Please, let’s just try to keep Berkeley clean and inviting, with traffic laws enforced so humans are safe here, and public transit and bikes given priority. 

And to get more shoppers downtown, let’s do all we can to provide and/or facilitate car-free ways for them to get there. 


Ann Sieck