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Police enforcement works

Jim Powell Berkeley
Wednesday December 19, 2001


Back a couple years ago, after that lady who used a wheelchair was killed in the crosswalk on Ashby, for a short period the Berkeley Police Department made regular enforcement efforts on Ashby, and for a period of perhaps six months after that, for the only time in the last quarter century, it was possible to cross Ashby between College and Telegraph without feeling like you were playing Russian roulette. Difficult as it is to believe, during this short period drivers actually obeyed state law and yielded right-of-way to people in crosswalks!!! 

Unfortunately, after a time BPD stopped its enforcement efforts and drivers figured out that they no longer would suffer any consequences if they went back to driving like they want to kill pedestrians who venture into crosswalks, and Ashby reverted to being a very dangerous road to cross on foot or bike. 

This suggests, rather strongly, doesn't it, that it would be a help if BPD went back to enforcing traffic laws here in Berkeley. Ashby especially needs it, but so does University and Shattuck and Hearst and Rose and Cedar and Marin, and other streets too numerous to mention. 

Incidentally, as a bicyclist I have come to the conclusion that most Berkeley drivers are quite courteous. It's the people driving in and out of town, to and from work or shopping, who drive like they either a) don't see me, or b) want to kill me. 

If the city plans to keep Polly Armstrong's flags waving, I suggest that each be stenciled with the statement: “I'm carrying this flag because BPD doesn't enforce traffic laws affecting pedestrian safety in Berkeley.” 


Jim Powell