Tag Archives: Traffic safety

Caldecott Tunnel bore re-opens after car collision, fire

Caldecott tunnel fire 3.16.15. Photo: CHP
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The eastbound, right-hand bore of the Caldecott Tunnel re-opened at around 11:15 this morning after being investigated for damage following a collision and subsequent vehicle fire that forced its closure.

The accident, which happened around 6:45 a.m. in heavy commuting traffic, prompted authorities to evacuate several dozen drivers by foot and caused significant traffic back-ups in the surrounding area.

CHP was already on the scene of an earlier traffic accident at 6:20 a.m., which had occurred on eastbound SR-24 inside the Caldecott tunnel, when they heard about a second incident. “Officers had cleared that collision and were on the Fish Ranch Road off-ramp when a citizen stopped to report an additional collision had occurred inside the tunnel,” CHP reported in a press release at 10:20 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Big rig spill in Berkeley closes westbound lane of I-80

Big rig spill 1 Photo Greg Merritt
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Drivers are being advised to avoid I-80 in the Berkeley area after a big rig spilled its load of wood pallets by the pedestrian overpass near the University Avenue exit of the freeway at around 5:45 a.m. this morning.

At least one westbound lane was closed by authorities west of University Avenue near Frontage Road, and traffic was still severely backed up several hours after the incident. … Continue reading »

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Crime

After Corvette crash in Berkeley, man headed to trial

A mangled Corvette that was involved in an early morning accident on Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Photo: Jacquelyn McCormick
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An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday afternoon that a young man from Tracy will face the charges against him after authorities say he crashed a Corvette on Tunnel Road in Berkeley last summer and put his friend in a coma.

Anthony Edward Torpey, 22, was charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with driving under the influence and causing a crash that resulted in injuries; driving with a .08% blood alcohol causing injury; leaving the scene of an accident; and attempting to dissuade a witness.

According to police, Torpey was identified as the driver of a vehicle that crashed June 20, 2014, into a concrete pillar, a tree and then a concrete wall on Tunnel Road, near Alvarado and The Uplands, “causing major head trauma” to his passenger. The passenger, identified in court papers as a friend of Torpey’s, was taken to Highland Hospital where he was found to be in a coma. … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley 911: Pedestrian taken to Highland after crash; callers report loud boom, too

Image: Google maps
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A pedestrian was taken to Highland Hospital after a vehicle struck her in Berkeley at about 7:45 p.m., according to a scanner audio recording reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Authorities received a call that a female, who was unconscious with a possible head and leg injury, had been hit by a vehicle at Ashby Avenue and Deakin Street at 7:44 p.m., as per the recording.

She was on the ground when first responders arrived. One of them reported on the scanner that she … Continue reading »

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Update: Pedestrian hit by van in West Berkeley

Image: Google maps
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Update, Feb. 26, 1:30 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats released a bit more information by email about Thursday’s crash. She said, based on the preliminary investigation, the driver was northbound on San Pablo Avenue and, as he turned left onto Allston Way, struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Coats said the pedestrian was still in the hospital when she last checked, but had been able to speak with traffic investigators.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with the police, Coats said. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.

Coats said the driver was a 26-year-old homeless man. The pedestrian was a 63-year-old Hayward man. … Continue reading »

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Police

Breaking: Berkeley cyclist dies after hit and run

Michael Lake. Photo: Courtesy of family
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A Berkeley cyclist has died following a hit-and-run crash with a car earlier this month on University Avenue, authorities said Tuesday.

The driver in that incident left the scene, and police are continuing to investigate the collision as a hit and run.

The Alameda County coroner’s office identified the man Tuesday as 64-year-old Michael Lake of Berkeley.

He died at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center at 9:05 p.m. Monday.

A family member, Gwendolyn West, told Berkeleyside that Lake died Monday night “after being moved into post-hip-surgery rehabilitation.” … Continue reading »

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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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Update: Cyclist hurt, 5 elevator rescues in Berkeley power outage caused by PG&E equipment failure

Traffic stopped in all directions before proceeding at the intersection of University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way because of a power outage in the area affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley. Photo: David Yee
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Update, 3:30 p.m. PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said Friday afternoon that the company has identified the cause of Tuesday’s power outage as an equipment failure during testing at an East Bay substation.

Sarkissian said she learned Friday that the outage actually originated at a substation in El Cerrito, not in Berkeley as had previously been reported by PG&E. She was not able to provide the exact location of the station.

Sarkissian said the testing had been planned, but that additional details about the nature of the equipment failure are still under investigation. She stressed that PG&E is focused on ensuring that its system is safe and reliable, and said she will release additional information when it is available.

Original story, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday’s widespread power outage in Berkeley and nearby cities kept first responders busy with one accident that sent a cyclist to the hospital, five elevator rescues and a handful of other calls, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Police

Cyclist seriously injured in Berkeley hit-and-run

Paramedics placed a man onto a gurney at the scene of a hit-and-run accident at University and McGee avenues, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, Jan. 13. The victim was riding a bicycle. Photo: David Yee
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A cyclist remains in the hospital with serious injuries after he was struck by a driver who left the scene in Berkeley on Tuesday night.

Police have released minimal details about the incident.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the accident took place just before 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, on University Avenue at McGee Avenue.

Coats said by email that dispatchers received calls about an injury collision involving a vehicle and cyclist, as well as reports that the driver had fled the scene.

The bicyclist suffered serious injuries and was still in the hospital as of about 7 p.m. Wednesday. … 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

Joseph Lutz small
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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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‘Double-roundabouts’ approved at Berkeley’s Gilman interchange; can’t happen without Measure BB money

Gilman
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After many months of analysis, and about a decade in development, Caltrans has said the city can move ahead with plans for proposed double-roundabouts in the problematic I-80 and Gilman Street interchange in West Berkeley.

It’s the first time the transportation agency has approved a concept for double-roundabouts in the region, according to city of Berkeley transportation chief Farid Javandel. In early October, Caltrans gave Berkeley staff the green light to move ahead with an environmental review of the project, and the city went public with the news Monday.

Whether the project can actually happen depends on the November election: Funding for the double-roundabouts, along with other significant investments in Berkeley, is part of Measure BB, the county-wide transportation tax. Without approval of that measure, the city won’t be able to proceed. (Scroll down for details.)

Currently, there are eight entry points to the intersection on either side of the freeway. The intersections are controlled by stop signs but drivers are often unsure about who has the right of way. Berkeleyside readers have called the area “a ridiculous mess” and “the most dysfunctional intersection … anywhere in the United States.”

The city has said the intersection “is one of the most problematic in Berkeley. It also generates the most complaints.” … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley police rule cyclist responsible for fatal crash

Kurt Wehner. Photo via Facebook
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Authorities have found a 62-year-old Berkeley cyclist at fault for the crash with a vehicle that ultimately took his life about three weeks ago.

In response to repeated inquiries from Berkeleyside, police said Tuesday that Kurt Wehner rode through a stop sign and crashed into a 2008 Volkswagen in a North Berkeley intersection Sept. 21 shortly after 8 a.m. at Spruce and Eunice streets.

Wehner, a longtime Berkeley resident, died the following day at Highland Hospital.

Berkeley police investigators said Tuesday in a prepared statement that Wehner had been riding his mountain-style bike south on Spruce toward Eunice, where there was a posted stop sign for southbound traffic.

“Just prior the bicyclist was passing vehicles on the wrong side of the roadway at an unsafe speed in violation of the posted 25 mph speed limit,” police wrote.

The Volkswagen — driven by a 63-year-old Berkeley resident whose name has not been released — had stopped on Eunice facing east. The driver had proceeded into the intersection when, police say, Wehner crashed into the vehicle.  … Continue reading »

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