Op-Ed: Say ‘no’ to road rage on Solano Avenue

By Jennifer Pearson

Jennifer Pearson has lived in Berkeley since 1965. She trained as a criminologist, did sociological field work on a prison for women in Mexico City, worked in pre-schools, Head Start, Coop Stores, and Women's Refuge, was aide to County Supervisor John George, and taught Crime Prevention and History of Corrections and Punishment in Mexico and California.

Has anyone shared the sentiment: “We are not going to take it anymore!”

Has anyone noticed the “State law… yield to pedestrians” mid-road yellow floppy bollard signs that are trashed, bent down — destroyed by angry drivers on Solano Avenue? Is this a spontaneous expression of mature activists furiously battering down public property? Individuals or organized?

Are these civic-minded residents fed up — ‘fighting back’ — shocked over the latest imposition of recent street reconfigurations that put cars on a “road diet” by “taking out” a lane that forces a confusing round-about driving route through residential neighborhoods?

Drivers and pedestrians say they have already had to put up with the unreasonable non-accommodation of angled parking on the hilly upper Solano thoroughfare. Not senior friendly nor smart for the able-bodied with mobility, balance and fear of falling concerns.

Angled parking design contributes a new set of hazards that parallel parking does not. Drivers backing out may not see pedestrians, nor oncoming cars, as visibility is limited by a blind spot. Pedestrians attempting to cross the road or get around their cars are at risk from the backing out or oncoming traffic. Angled parking on a hill poses an additional risk of falling down while trying to prop the door open and get around it without denting the next car then navigating the two-way sloped aisle to get up onto the curb.

Not teenagers, the rebels may be respectable homeowners — elders who retired their bicycles and now drive down from the hill?

If the bollards signage is intended to protect pedestrians, why do many pedestrians smile when they see the broken floppy signs on the pavement — some cheer — some shout “BRAVO Stop taking our streets!”

(My source, a retired Caltrans engineer, says the signs cost $250 each plus labor.)

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