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City needs zero tolerance on traffic issues

Nick Roosevelt
Wednesday May 29, 2002

To the Editor: 


I am writing regarding your article of May 27, 2002, regarding traffic (“City considers lower speed limits”). 

I think traffic calming is great for the people on the street where you put it. I don't think it is possible to do that for every street where families live. The reason why people like it so much is that it reduces traffic on their street. We can't reduce traffic on every street and expect to solve the problem. Traffic calming is sort of like handing a drug addict a Band-Aid for the cut they got when passed out. It does not solve what is a citywide problem. 

What is so horrible about enforcement? We have an army of parking officers who implement a zero-tolerance policy regarding parking regulations. Why can't we have at least a few traffic safety officers who implement a zero-tolerance policy with regard to speed limits, crosswalks, and stop signs? 

The City of Berkeley owes it to its residents to come up with a plan that sets measurable goals and works until they are achieved. This includes measuring the average speed and various times of day on various roads, then starting a PR and enforcement campaign, and doing follow-up measurements at regular intervals until the problem has been largely 


The PR campaign should include speaking with organizations, such as AC Transit and UPS, which have large vehicles on the streets of Berkeley, and asking them to take measures to ensure their drivers will abide by traffic safety regulations as well as publicizing the effort to reduce average speeds on Berkeley streets. I have ridden in AC Transit buses traveling in excess of 45 MPH on Henry Street, where the speed limit is 25 MPH. 

Unsafe traffic conditions diminish the quality of life for all of us who live in Berkeley. We need politicians and other government officials to take responsible action to make our streets safer. 


Nick Roosevelt