Comment: Emerson students at risk from traffic

In the month when the Berkeley Police Department is focusing on pedestrian safety, reader Anne Whyte has written an open letter to Berkeley City Council Member Gordon Wozniak about what she believes is a “perfect storm” of danger for the students at Emerson Elementary School (shown as “A” on the map above), arising from heavy traffic in the area. We publish it below:

Gordon, will you please get the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street designated as a school crossing?

Students coming to and going from both Emerson School, and new-to-our-neighbourhood Maybeck High School, typically use the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street morning, noon and afternoon.

The dangers at the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street have become a “perfect storm”:


1. Speeding cars, busses and trucks on College Avenue endanger all pedestrians crossing at the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street — pedestrians crossing anywhere on College Avenue are “living dangerously” when they cross College Avenue, but the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street is especially dangerous.

2. All-too-many parents “hurrying” as they drive their children to school — both Emerson School and Maybeck High School (in Saint John’s) parents are guilty — careen around the corner at College Avenue and Garber Street, focused on getting their child to school without regard for the safety of other students or other pedestrians.

3. Crossing at the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street is made more dangerous when there is rain because Saint John’s Presbyterian Church continues to pump out water from Saint John’s underground garage into Garber Street where that water floods at the corner of College Avenue and Garber Street.  This garage water from Saint John’s did not used to be a problem until all underground storm drains were removed during a City of Berkeley “street improvement” contract was so woefully mishandled some years ago.

Please, lets not wait for a tragedy before this dangerous corner is made far, far, far more safe.