Tag Archives: Traffic safety

Berkeley preview sheds new light on Gilman roundabouts

Members of the public got a look Wednesday night at plans to build two roundabouts at Gilman and Interstate 80. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Early plans to build two large roundabouts at Interstate 80 and Gilman Street in Berkeley were on display for the public Wednesday night at the North Berkeley Senior Center.

The project — with an estimated $24 million construction cost — is slated to be complete in 2022, a representative told the dozens of attendees who perused information stations set up around the room.

“This is an area that has a lot of concerns with it,” David Early, principal at Berkeley-based community planning firm Placeworks, told the crowd. “It’s quite a ‘wild west’ kind of scene.”

Scroll down to see a simulation of the proposed circulation.

By the numbers, the problem is stark. Crash data presented Wednesday, from 2011-2013, showed significantly higher than average numbers of injury or fatal collisions, particularly on the north side of Gilman. On the west side off-ramp, those numbers were 80% higher than the state average. On the east side on-ramp, they were a whopping 177% above the state average.

South of the freeway, they were about 30% above the state average at both the on- and off-ramps.

The project involves the two roundabouts on either side of I-80, new sidewalks under the freeway, and a pedestrian and bike bridge similar to the one at Aquatic Park. Perhaps the most controversial elements of the project — in addition to the roundabouts themselves — are the location of the bike bridge, which makes a fairly large detour south before bringing users back up to Gilman, as well as plans to cut off access from Gilman to the frontage road on the east side of the freeway.  … Continue reading »

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Person goes under AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley

Person trapped under AC Transit bus on April 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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UPDATE, 12:20 p.m. AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles confirmed that a man collapsed while standing next to a stationary bus just before 10 a.m. Friday, apparently due to a medical condition. “He fell against the side of the bus, and slid between the curb and the bus,” Lyles said. There was no collision between the individual and the bus, Lyle said. The man was transported to Highland Hospital. His condition is unknown.

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley Fire and Berkeley Police responded Friday morning to an incident in which a man went under an AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley.

The incident happened some time before 10 a.m. at the bus stop at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street.

BFD paramedics worked to release the man who was near the rear right wheel of the no. 18 bus. He was released at around 10:15 a.m. and placed in an ambulance and transported.

His condition was unknown at press time. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Suspected DUI motorist crashes into Berkeley marina

Car into Berkeley Marina. Photo: Nancy Schimmelman
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Authorities worked to beat the tide Sunday to remove a vehicle that crashed Saturday night into the Berkeley Marina and began leaking fluids into the water.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said crews responded to the marina after a vehicle left the roadway, where University Avenue and Marina Boulevard split, shortly before midnight.

Scroll down for updates and dramatic photos.

Officers threw emergency flotation devices into the water to help the driver, a passenger and a citizen responder get off the fully submerged vehicle, he said.

All three were taken to the hospital for treatment but were expected to survive. … Continue reading »

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Father of girl struck by car calls for better traffic control

Oski, the mascot of UC Berkeley, paid a visit to Lillia Bartlow this week. Photo: Bartlow family
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The father of a 9-year-old girl struck by a taxi in a crosswalk last week was among a small contingent of parents and administrators from John Muir Elementary School who asked the Berkeley City Council for pedestrian safety improvements in the area Tuesday.

Darryl Bartlow, whose daughter Lillia was hit March 8 while crossing Claremont Avenue with her mother after they attended an evening PTA meeting at the school, described a devastating week softened by “a great outpouring of love and concern” from the community. Both Lillia’s legs were broken and she may need to be in a wheelchair for up to a year, Bartlow said. It is unclear when she will be able to return to John Muir, where she is a fourth-grade student. She is home from the hospital.

Bartlow is a longtime Berkeley resident and graduate of Berkeley public schools. He worked for the Alameda County Probation Department for 30 years and now sits on the city’s Personnel Board. At the council meeting, he asked council members to install traffic lights at the crosswalk where Lillia was hit, which is directly in front of the elementary school, on Claremont Avenue at Claremont Crescent. … Continue reading »

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2 Berkeley officials call for Fulton Street bike lane

Bike East Bay says a protected bike lane like this on Fulton Street would make cyclists safer. Image: Bike East Bay
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and mayoral hopeful Councilman Jesse Arreguín have teamed up to ask the city manager to move quickly to extend a bike lane two blocks south on Fulton Street by the site of a near-fatal crash involving a cyclist and vehicle in February.

In a Berkeley City Council consent calendar item scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, they ask the “City Manager and Transportation staff to prioritize and expedite the installation of a bicycle lane on Fulton Street between Bancroft Way and Channing Way.”

The council item notes that the city needs to conduct a traffic study and public hearing before a new bike lane could be installed.

“This item urges staff to prioritize completion of all steps necessary to install the bike lane by May 12, 2016, Bike to Work Day or as expeditiously as possible thereafter,” according to the brief report. There is a bike lane on Fulton Street north of Bancroft Way but it ends at that intersection.

Advocacy group Bike East Bay has been actively pushing for that extension since last year when the street was repaved, and say city bike planning documents already lay the groundwork for making it happen. They renewed calls for the lane after Megan Schwarzman, a mother, medical doctor and UC Berkeley scientist, was struck by a driver Feb. 2 at Fulton and Bancroft Way and critically injured.  … Continue reading »

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Fundraiser launched to help girl struck by taxi in Berkeley

Supporters of Lilia have already raised more than $5,000. Image: goFundme
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Update, March 12: In just two days, 120 people have raised more than $10,000 for the fourth-grader, whose legs were broken after she was hit by a taxi in a crosswalk in Berkeley. The campaign has increased the goal to $15,000. 

Original story, March 11, 1:43 p.m. Supporters of the little girl whose legs were broken earlier this week when a taxi struck her and her mother in a crosswalk outside their elementary school have already raised more than $5,000 in less than a day to help her.

The gofundme campaign launched Thursday, following Tuesday night’s crash after a PTA meeting at John Muir Elementary School.

Find the fundraising page for Lillia here.

Police received multiple 911 calls about the collision at 7:40 p.m. The woman and her 9-year-old daughter were walking west in the crosswalk when a taxi driver traveling north on Claremont Avenue hit them. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said both the mother and daughter were injured, but that the girl’s injuries were more serious. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperative. He received a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the incident, said Coats.

The girl, identified as Lillia on the fundraising website, suffered two broken legs, according to the PTA. She is a fourth-grader at John Muir.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested after fleeing police, hit-and-run crash

Image: Google Maps
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A man who injured another driver during a hit-and-run crash in a rental car while trying to evade Berkeley police was arrested Tuesday morning after officers found him hiding on a roof, authorities said.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police were called to the 2700 block of Ridge Road at 8:30 a.m. for a report of a man who was sleeping in his vehicle.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, someone spotted the man in a white sedan in the parking garage on the block. He was unresponsive but appeared to be breathing. Police sent an officer to check on the man to see if he was all right.

“As the officer contacted him, he provided a false number,” said Coats. “He suddenly started up the vehicle and fled.”

The officer did not pursue the vehicle. According to scanner recordings, police identified it as an Enterprise rental car that left the scene at a high rate of speed.

Within minutes, police got a report of an injury hit-and-run collision near Cedar Street and Euclid Avenue. Coats said that crash involved the vehicle of the man contacted on Ridge. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley fourth-grader hit by taxi; parents call for better crosswalk lighting

A fourth-grader was struck by a car Tuesday on a crosswalk on Claremont Avenue and suffered two broken legs. Photo: Kevin Chang
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A fourth-grade girl from John Muir Elementary School was hit by a car Tuesday night in a crosswalk on Claremont Avenue that parents have long complained is poorly lit and needs the city’s attention.

A car struck the 9-year-old girl as she and her mother were crossing Claremont at Claremont Crescent, right in front of the school, according to an email sent out by John Muir’s principal, Audrey Amos. Both of the girl’s legs were broken and she was treated at a local hospital.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police received multiple 911 calls about the collision at 7:40 p.m. The woman and her daughter were walking west in the crosswalk when a taxi driver traveling north on Claremont hit them. Coats said both the mother and daughter were injured, but that the girl’s injuries were more serious. Both were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperative, and was ultimately cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.

The accident happened right after a PTA meeting, and has renewed calls for lighting at that crosswalk. The Berkeley Police Department pays for a crossing guard to help students across Claremont before and after school. But many children participate in the after-school program and there is no one to help them cross the street around 5:30 or 6 p.m. when it is dark. Claremont Avenue is four lanes across with a speed limit of 25 mph.
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Crime

Man found guilty of attempted manslaughter after brutal beating, high-speed car chase in Berkeley

Duane Nailor (via Facebook)
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Update, March 9, 1:15 p.m. Nailor was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison, according to Bay City News. Said his mother in court, “We know he went over the top, but we’d like to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Original story, March 4, 9 a.m. A man who led police on a high-speed car chase through Berkeley that reached up to 90 mph, after trying to kill a man by beating him with a metal pipe in a prolonged attack, is scheduled to be sentenced next week after being found guilty of attempted manslaughter, mayhem and other charges.

Duane Nailor, 56, was arrested by Berkeley officers after the chase — on Oct. 23, 2013 — when they found him trying to hide near the site of his totaled SUV by covering himself in sand and other home renovation materials, according to court testimony.

Police said Nailor sped away from the scene of the beating, in front of the downtown Berkeley Bank of America, struck a police cruiser by the Public Safety Building, then sped up Martin Luther King Jr. Way into North Berkeley before crashing into a tree on the Alameda near Hopkins Street. The impact of the crash ripped open the right side of the 2003 Ford Explorer.

In February, a jury convicted Nailor of attempted voluntary manslaughter, mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and evasion of a peace officer. The conviction came two days after he withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

According to court transcripts from Nailor’s preliminary hearing in 2014, two men described how they had approached Nailor to bum a cigarette the night of the attack after he pulled up to the corner of Center Street and Shattuck Avenue, at the Bank of America building.

One of the men, Deshaun Montgomery — a homeless man who had been staying at the shelter across from Berkeley High and Civic Center Park — said he had seen Nailor around town, and they had exchanged a few words. He was familiar with Nailor and his vehicle, which he’d been driving around Berkeley, packed with stuff. An officer testified it looked like Nailor was living in the SUV; it was jammed with so many items, no one else could fit into it. … Continue reading »

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Advocates: Berkeley must extend bike lane on Fulton

The existing bike lane on Fulton Street ends at Bancroft Way. Image: Google Maps
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Cycling advocates are pleading with the city to extend a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street, near the Cal campus, following the crash last week that nearly killed a Berkeley mother and doctor.

Bike East Bay has asked the city to paint new bike lanes on two blocks of Fulton, south of Bancroft Way, by May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. Advocates say planning documents approved by officials, as well as recent changes in state law, allow for the extension of the bike lane without much further ado, as long as the political will exists to make the change.

They’ve been trying to get the new lanes painted since last year, when the street was repaved, and say Berkeley’s own bike policies support the concept of painting, or “striping,” bike lanes at the time of repaving.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city is looking into what might be possible on Fulton, but said changing rules at the state level have made the requirements for traffic studies and public review somewhat unclear. He said the city takes the concerns of the advocates seriously, and is working on various efforts to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Hope, gratitude after near-deadly collision in Berkeley

Meg Schwarzman
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The Berkeley scientist and mother who was struck by a motorist and trapped beneath his car while cycling near campus earlier this week is expected to pull through, family members said Thursday.

“She’s critical but stable,” said Mike Wilson of his wife, Megan Schwarzman. “Every indication is that she will be coming home. But it’s going to be a long, difficult recovery.”

Schwarzman, 42, is a research scientist at the Berkeley School of Public Health, as well as a physician and an associate director at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry on the Cal campus. The group is one of the leading academic organizations in the nation focused on chemicals policy, Wilson said.

“She somehow is able to be both a brilliant thinker and the most compassionate, spirited person I know,” he said. Added Schwarzman’s sister, Caitlin, who lives in Alameda: “She loves being a part of the community. Her friends and family are always the center for her.”

She wrote on her sister’s Facebook page earlier this week that “the surgeons are optimistic about her long term prognosis.… We expect a stay of many weeks in the hospital. We are hurting for our Meg, feeling proud of her strength, and looking forward hopefully.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Driver arrested, cyclist critical after crash

Emergency personnel work the scene of a collision involving a motorist and a bicyclist on Fulton Street and Bancroft Way. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. Read Berkeleyside’s update on Meg Schwarzman, the cyclist who was struck. The Berkeley physician and mother is expected to survive, though the road to recovery looks to be long.

Update, Feb. 3, 11 a.m. BPD says there have been no updates to report as far as the cyclist’s condition.

Update, 10:15 p.m. Berkeley police have arrested the driver involved in the crash, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of driving under the influence. In a statement released just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said it was continuing to investigate the injury collision. The bicyclist, a 42-year-old Berkeley woman, is in critical condition at a local hospital. At 10 p.m. police were still at the scene of the accident taking measurements, and the intersection remained closed.

Update, 6:28 p.m. Police have asked motorists to avoid Fulton and Bancroft due to the earlier crash. Southbound Fulton between Bancroft and Kittredge Street is closed. … Continue reading »

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Police

Car crash causes power outage in southwest Berkeley

The car crash at Ward and San Pablo. Photo: Danielle Madugo
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A car crash downed power lines and caused outages to more than 1,000 people in southwest Berkeley on Thursday night, and police say it appears drugs or alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

Reports began coming into Berkeleyside from readers on Twitter at about 8:40 p.m. Readers said the car crashed at Ward Street and San Pablo Avenue.

One local resident said, after the crash, the vehicle’s sole occupant appeared to stumble out of the sedan and collapse in a neighbor’s yard.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dan Montgomery said the man was naked from the waist down when police took him into custody. The man, who looked to be in his early 20s, was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Police recovered the man’s pants at the scene.

Police believe the driver may have been intoxicated and are treating the crash as a DUI investigation, Montgomery said. He said the car appeared to have been totaled, but that there was “surprisingly little damage” otherwise.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats confirmed just before 9 p.m. that “a vehicle collided with a power pole” causing the outage. The incident is still under investigation.

One reader reported that she received a robocall from PG&E saying that 1,255 people were affected by the outage.  … Continue reading »

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