Tag Archives: Traffic safety

‘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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Cyclist dies after North Berkeley crash with car

Kurt Wehner. Photo: Facebook
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Local cyclist Kurt Wehner died Monday after being involved in a crash with a vehicle in North Berkeley on Sunday morning.

Berkeley resident Wehner, 62, died Monday at Highland Hospital in Oakland at 4 p.m., according to the Alameda County coroner’s office. No cause of death has been listed, pending an autopsy that will likely be performed Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook on Monday evening, John Lutterman of Anchorage, Alaska, identified Wehner as his cousin. Lutterman said Wehner had been disconnected from life support Monday and had died.

“Kurt, and his brother Todd, turned me on to serious biking when I was a kid,” he wrote. “I’ll miss Kurt’s endlessly good-natured Heyoka spirit. Reliving many poignant, but also lots of crazy and funny memories of Kurt tonight.” … Continue reading »

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Bicyclist suffers life-threatening injuries after colliding with car at the intersection of Spruce and Eunice

A cyclist was struck by a car Sunday morning at the intersection of Spruce and Eunice. Photo: Larry Kudsk
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A bicyclist pedaling on Spruce near Eunice was seriously injured this morning when the bicyclist and a car collided, according to Berkeley police.

The accident happened at at 8:15 a.m. and the bicyclist suffered life-threatening injuries, according to police. He or she was transported to the hospital.

The Fatal Accident Investigation Team is on the scene. The driver and witnesses are cooperating with investigators. Police have not said which party was at fault in the accident.

The police department is … Continue reading »

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Police

Richmond man dies after Berkeley motorcycle crash

Photo: Alexander Sinclair Merenkov‎
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A 48-year-old Richmond man died after a collision with a pick-up truck in Berkeley last week, authorities reported Thursday evening.

Friday, Sept. 12, Berkeley Police officers responded to an injury collision at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and University Avenue just after 8:30 p.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, department spokeswoman, in a prepared statement.

The motorcyclist was identified as Gregory Allen Scoggin of Richmond. … 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

Image: Google Maps
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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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Police

1 sent to hospital after broadside crash in Berkeley

Car crash at Ashby and Telegraph, April 23, 2014. Photo: Dominick Palamenti
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One driver was sent to the hospital Wednesday morning after broadsiding another vehicle at Ashby and Telegraph avenues, authorities said.

Police got a report of an overturned vehicle in the South Berkeley intersection shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman, via email.

Coats said one driver had been westbound on Ashby turning left onto southbound Telegraph when another driver struck him. … Continue reading »

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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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Man arrested after DUI car crash, hit and run in Berkeley

Image: Google Maps
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A driver who crashed into several parked vehicles in North Berkeley, then fled the scene as his car burned, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run just after 9:30 Saturday morning, authorities said.

Authorities identified the driver as Geoffrey Cronin, 42, of Berkeley. Cronin was arrested last year in connection with a knife assault and police chase in Berkeley in August.

Saturday, March 29, at 8:16 a.m., Berkeley officers responded to Walnut and Cedar streets after a caller reported an injury accident involving the driver and a parked vehicle, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, via email. … 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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Crime

Man arrested after attempted murder, car crash in Berkeley

After a car chase with the Berkeley police in the early hours of Oct. 23,  the attempted murder suspect crashed this 2003 Ford Explorer into a tree on the Alameda, north of Hopkins Street. The vehicle’s right side was sheared open by the impact with the tree. Photo: Berkeley Police
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Berkeley police officers arrested a suspect in an apparent attempted murder case early Wednesday morning, following a pursuit in which the suspect struck a police car, and later crashed into a tree in North Berkeley, destroying his vehicle.

The attack took place in the early hours of Wednesday, Oct. 23, in downtown Berkeley.

The victim, a 41-year-old male from Oakland, suffered major injuries, and is in critical condition in a local hospital.

The suspect, Duane Nailor, 54, of Texas, is being treated in a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries suffered during the collision. Nailor has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, and related violations to be determined, according to police. … Continue reading »

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What’s happening with the Gilman Street interchange?

City staffers say that roundabouts on Gilman Street at I-80 will improve the interchange in several important ways. Image source: City of Berkeley
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Earlier this month, after Berkeleyside’s most recent article on Whole Foods coming to Gilman, several readers asked in the comments section about the status of a city project to reconfigure the intersections at Gilman and Interstate 80.

According to a city flier from last fall, the area has become “overwhelmed” due to multiple commercial venues in its vicinity, such as Golden Gate Fields racetrack, Target in Albany, residential neighborhoods in Berkeley and Albany, and major recreational spots such as the Bay Trail and the Gilman Street Fields. Stop signs on highway off-ramps cause back-ups onto the interstate. The right-of-way for motorists “is confusing, leading to conflict and collisions.”

Berkeleyside readers called the area “a ridiculous mess” and “the most dysfunctional intersection I have seen anywhere in the United States.” … Continue reading »

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