Tag Archives: Pedestrian safety Berkeley

Police

Thinking about jaywalking in Berkeley? Think again

Police ticked pedestrians last fall during a pedestrian operation similar to the one planned in Berkeley on Saturday. Photo: Eric Panzer
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Berkeley Police traffic officers will be out for a special enforcement effort Saturday to educate — and potentially ticket — pedestrians who violate traffic laws.

The Berkeley Police Department will be in the downtown area Saturday, Jan. 24, on the lookout for pedestrians who flout signal lights and fail to use crosswalks, along with other safety issues.

A similar operation in Berkeley in September prompted waves of comment on the Berkeleyside Facebook page and on a subsequent story on Berkeleyside itself.

Police said this week that, according to 2013 data, most of the city’s injury collisions with pedestrians involved pedestrians downtown. That year, 24% of all collisions with injuries involved pedestrians, according to a statement released Thursday by the department. … Continue reading »

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Injured pedestrian taken to hospital after Berkeley crash

Image: Google maps
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A man with moderate injuries was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital on Sunday evening after being struck by a driver in South Berkeley.

Police and paramedics were called to the scene at about 6 p.m. for a reported traffic collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

White said the man had been listening to music through headphones while running westbound across Sacramento Street at Woolsey Street when the accident took place. … Continue reading »

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A tragic death in Berkeley spurs funds for traffic beacons

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Nine months after a 98-year-old pedestrian was killed by a motorist while crossing Sacramento Street in a crosswalk in the middle of the day, the city is taking steps to install a flashing beacon pedestrian alert at the intersection where the accident occurred.

Joseph Luft, a Berkeley resident, psychologist and former San Francisco State University professor, was out for one of his regular strolls around lunchtime April 5 when he was hit by a car while crossing Sacramento at Bancroft Way. He died that evening at the hospital.

The driver, Robert Gilchrist, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and is being held in Santa Rita jail, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 31. Gilchrist didn’t have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident and told police he was legally blind.

In the wake of Luft’s death, a number of residents complained to city officials about safety at the Sacramento-Bancroft intersection, which is the site of an assisted living facility, and near Washington Elementary School. Cars barreling down Sacramento, a thoroughfare, often don’t see or stop for pedestrians, even when they’re in the crosswalk, residents said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Driver charged in vehicular manslaughter of Berkeley man is ‘legally blind’

Joseph Luft. Courtesy: Luft family
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Update, Aug. 7: The Alameda County district attorney’s office has increased the vehicular manslaughter charge against Robert Gilchrist to a felony, according to court papers dated Aug. 7. See the complaint here. Authorities say Gilchrist struck and killed a 98-year-old pedestrian while driving in Berkeley in April.

Original story, Aug. 4: The driver charged with killing a 98-year-old former psychology professor on his daily walk in Berkeley in April had no license and told police he is “legally blind,” according to court papers that became available last week.

Robert Jack Gilchrist, 56, was charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office July 31 with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license, also a misdemeanor.

Vehicular manslaughter involves driving “in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence,” according to court papers.

Authorities say Gilchrist, of Oakland, hit the 98-year-old Berkeley man as he walked in a crosswalk on Sacramento Street at Bancroft Way on April 4. … Continue reading »

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Driver to enter plea after woman hurt in hit-and-run near Berkeley’s People’s Park

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A Berkeley driver on probation for robbery — who reportedly fled in his car after knocking down a woman in the street, causing minor injuries, and hitting another vehicle as he tried to escape — is set to enter a plea in Alameda County Superior Court this week.

Authorities say James Jamell Watson-Dixon, 28, was driving on Dwight Way west of Hillegass Avenue on June 25 at 5:35 p.m. when he ran into a woman with his vehicle and knocked her to the ground, causing visible injuries and pain to her leg, according to court papers.

Before driving off, he stopped briefly and, as he did, a witness reached through his window and seized his wallet, which held Watson-Dixon’s driver’s license, among other documents. The witness later gave this to police. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police stop sparks racial controversy

The arrest of two people in Berkeley last Friday has prompted charges from some about racial profiling. Scroll down to view a video of the arrest. Image: Kerby L/YouTube
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A recent police stop in Berkeley has prompted some community members to criticize police for racial insensitivity, and potential racial profiling.

Part of the exchange was captured on video, which appears below. The footage was posted on YouTube less than a week ago by one of the women who was stopped, and has been viewed nearly 8,000 times.

Berkeley Police officials said Thursday that the video has been taken out of context, and showed restraint by officers who were antagonized while trying to detain a group of pedestrians who nearly caused a traffic accident near Telegraph Avenue on Friday night.

In response to general questions raised during the course of the footage, police said officers are not required to inform someone prior to handcuffing them; do not have to read Miranda rights for adults until someone is in custody and being questioned about an alleged offense; and are not required to tell other individuals at an active scene why someone is being arrested.
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Car strikes and kills 98-year-old pedestrian in Berkeley

Joseph Luft. Courtesy: Luft family
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A 98-year-old man was struck by a car Friday afternoon while crossing the intersection of Bancroft Way and Sacramento Street. He later died of his injuries.

Berkeley police said the man was struck around 12:23 p.m.

He was conscious and talking when police arrived, but he died at the hospital around 6 p.m., according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

The Alameda County coroner’s office identified him as Joseph Luft of Berkeley.

The driver is cooperating with police, Coats said in a press release. It does not appear that drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision, she said.

Luft, a psychologist, was the creator of the Johari Window, a technique he and Harry Ingrahm invented in 1955 to help people better understand their relationship with others. He taught at San Francisco State University for more than 20 years.

The Luft family released a statement Saturday stating that Joseph Luft was a World War II veteran, “a proud father of four and beloved local figure,” who had taken a daily walk for more than 50 years. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley sets speed limit at 15 mph around 13 schools

Many drivers near Cragmont Elementary were found to be among the fastest motorists around local schools during a city speed survey. Photo: ELS
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Drivers will be asked to slow down near 13 Berkeley schools after the adoption by the City Council of a 15 mph speed zone around them, despite a police officer’s analysis of injury collisions near schools that showed speed was not a factor in those accidents, and another officer’s assertion that enforcement would be “difficult, at best.”

According to an analysis completed by a city traffic analyst of 327 documented injury collisions in Berkeley from August 2010 to July 2013, 23 took place near school zones. None of those accidents were caused by unsafe speeds, he said.

Most of the accidents — 73% — resulted from drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Another 23% were due to pedestrians who failed to yield to drivers in the roadway, police wrote.

Thirteen of the collisions near schools took place during the school day, and four involved juvenile pedestrians. The juveniles were found to be at fault in all four of the cases. … Continue reading »

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Driver strikes 3 blind pedestrians in Berkeley, flees

Image: Google maps
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The Berkeley Police Department arrested an Oakland woman Thursday in connection with several violations, including felony driving under the influence, after they say she struck and injured three blind people walking downtown.

Just before 4 p.m., police responded to a reported hit-and-run collision with injuries at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Haste Street, said Berkeley Police Capt. Erik Upson.

Upon arrival, officers found three visually impaired people who had been struck and injured.  … Continue reading »

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Pedestrian hospitalized after car crash in Berkeley

Gilman and Eastshore. Image: Google Maps
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A man was hospitalized after walking into the roadway and being struck by a car in West Berkeley last week, authorities reported this week.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police believe the man, a 54-year-old Berkeley resident, was likely at fault for the collision because he had “entered into the roadway in an area not designated for pedestrians when he was struck.” Police said alcohol may have been a factor on the pedestrian’s part. … Continue reading »

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$15,000 reward offered after pedestrian hit-and-run death

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The city of Berkeley is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver responsible for a hit-and-run accident that killed a 46-year-old man last week, officials said Monday in a prepared statement.

The accident took place July 15 at 5:10 a.m. on the University Avenue overpass, which pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited from using.  … Continue reading »

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Sign added near site of fatal Berkeley hit-and-run

University Avenue overpass sign
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A sign has been installed on a median next to the University Avenue overpass the day after a 46-year old man, identified Wednesday as John Patrick Miller, was killed there in a suspected hit-and-run incident. The sign prohibits pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorbikes from using the bridge, and directs walkers to use the pedestrian bridge (although without providing directions to it).

When the fatal accident occurred, no signs were present on the east end of the overpass, which connects University Avenue to the I-80 ramps and the Berkeley Marina. The incident raised concerns about pedestrian safety in the area. Several Berkeleyside readers suggested walkers should be informed that a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the highway is located just a few blocks to the north south, near the intersection of Addison Street and Bolivar Drive. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley hit-and-run raises concerns for safety

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Update, July 17: The pedestrian killed was identified by the Alameda County Coroner’s office as John Patrick Miller, 46. No residence was provided. He died of “extensive blunt trauma.”

Update, 9:25 pm: The man killed in the suspected hit-and-run incident was a 46-year-old homeless man, according to the Alameda Country Coroner’s Bureau, reported on Monday night by Patch. The man’s name was not released because next of kin have not been notified.

Original story: A fatal hit-and-run accident on the University Avenue overpass Monday, July 15 has raised concerns about safety there and the absence of signage warning pedestrians not to walk on the roadway.

There is no sidewalk on the overpass. There is currently no sign prohibiting pedestrians or bicycles from using the overpass. An image taken for Google Maps in April 2011, however, shows that there used to be a sign in the divider to the right of the overpass heading west. It read: “Pedestrians, bicycles, motor driven cycles prohibited.”

A man was discovered by a Berkeley police officer at 5:10 a.m. this morning on the first section of the westbound section overpass near the intersection with Fourth Street. He was declared dead on the scene and preliminary investigations indicated he was the victim of a a hit-and-run accident. … Continue reading »

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