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Bicyclist says no to car-free Shattuck

Jef Poskanzer
Thursday March 21, 2002



James K. Sayre writes: “Bicyclists are, by in [sic] large, an extremely self-righteous lot, asserting that the traffic laws don’t apply to them.” This is bigotry, plain and simple, and does not belong in Berkeley. I have been car-free for five years now. I bike everywhere, including shopping, laundry, everything. I ride safely and lawfully 100 percent of the time. I observe cars and I observe other bicyclists, since both can cause me grave bodily harm when operated by idiots. My experience is that the percentage of idiots is about the same on two wheels or four. 

However, I actually agree with Sayre that banning cars from downtown would be foolishness. Downtown Berkeley is in enough trouble already, with lots of storefronts still empty. It’s not particularly congested. One or two car-free side streets might work — say, Center and Allston between Shattuck and Oxford. But banning cars from Shattuck would just be silly. If you want an over-congested shopping street to turn into a pedestrian mall, take a look at 4th Street. 


Jef Poskanzer