[Based on a letter sent to many recipients] Subject: Trucks Kills Professor on UC Campus A UC professor was killed yesterday in an "accident" when a truck backed up over him on campus (article pasted at bottom). This is an outrage: Another tragic and avoidable death. Just 15 days ago I watched the scene where another teacher had been killed in the center of Shattuck and Kittredge, downtown. These higher profile tragedies get some attention. Many do not. But they are bound to continue to occur as the dangerous traffic conditions on and around the UC campus are getting worse. Many intersections around the campus have been at the top of the list of the most dangerous for pedestrians in the entire state (in terms of how many pedestrians are reported struck and either injured or killed). I wouldn't be surprised if that's true for bicyclists too. I don't have the latest statistics, as faulty as they are (many fatalities go unreported, for instance!) because the City's "Office of Transportation" (OOT), which is actually very much in the parking business, hasn't released public SWITRS crash statistics that used to be readily available (despite repeated visits, letters and emails). Motor vehicle traffic on and around the UC Campus has been steadily increasing with an accompanying increase in reckless driving. Places we never saw them before, now cars and small trucks race through. Little enforcement is conducted against dangerous car, truck and bus violations on campus and around the perimeter. What was once something of a haven, a car-free area bordering the city center, is being adulterated for the deadly convenience of the few. Meanwhile, the UC Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) intends to "mitigate" the "impacts" of the coming even larger increase in motor traffic around campus, by squeezing in more speed-up and through-put offerings for cars. This of course would come at the expense of bicycle and pedestrian safety. The attitude that pedestrians come after cars is further evident right by Wurster Hall (ironically, home of the Department of City and Regional Planning, where transportation degrees are offered), where signs warn pedestrians to watch out for truck traffic. "HEAVY TRUCK TRAFFIC -- PEDESTRIANS USE CAUTION." Yet it's the truck driver's responsibility to watch out for pedestrian traffic. (There are also signs around the dorms construction in southside where UC states a bogus legal basis for telling pedestrians "PEDESTRIANS MUST USE MARKED CROSSWALK" where sidewalks have been removed mid-block.) What anti-pedestrian group generated these signs, I wonder? Perhaps it was UC's Parking and Transportation unit? It's telling that the parking comes first in "Parking and Transportation." P&T's website for "citations" also doesn't mention the bicycle diversion program (where you take a bicycle safety class to reduce the huge fee of the citation). Relatedly, the Oxford Lot/Brower Center issue went to council last night -- it's a tragedy if it provides any residential parking. The Center should be made larger by halving the size of Oxford Street. Along these lines: Bancroft should be made two-way (again) whether or not to implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). It's preposterous that private cars would be given such royal treatment and relative immunity in such a pedestrian and bicycle intense area. The immediate thing to do here is to reduce speed and capacity for cars around the campus perimeter -- the opposite of what is being proposed (as of the presentation seen at the last UC Bicycle Subcommittee meeting) -- and to greatly restrict and reduce motor access to campus. Speaking of bicycling, that most healthy of vehicular modes: It is most counter-productive that, while motorist violations go essentially unchecked -- ironically enough -- there's an aggressively over-enforced ban on riding bicycles on Sproul plaza. This discriminatory targeting of bicyclists discourages people from choosing bicycling. This although police, when asked, said they knew of no injuries caused by bicyclists on the plaza (and bicycles are much less dangerous than cars, which again, are roaming free). One of the justifications of the ban was to direct citees into a bicycle safety class ("diversion") in exchange for a reduction in the cost of the enormously expensive tickets. Yet at least one officer has routinely NOT told victims of the ban about the bicycle diversion program in the past, and then we get told by UCPD that the program is "not so popular anymore." While a Lieutenant there assures me she has sent a memo to change this behavior, the fact that this practice of not informing citees has been pointed out repeatedly and continued over a period of over a year, makes one wonder. The only message here is one the UC police have uttered repeatedly in the past: "Don't ride your bike to school." To discourage bicycling is to hurt all of us, as bicycling has a substantially net positive effect for society (and mother earth). In short, we will continue to be in danger, and will continue to see needless tragedies, as long as these unconscionable motor-first practices are perpetrated on the campus and greater Berkeley community. Okay -- end of rant -- for now. Jason History Professor Killed in Campus Traffic Accident http://www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=15314 ---------------------------------------------------------------- History Professor Killed in Campus Traffic Accident History Professor Reginald Zelnik died yesterday afternoon after a water delivery truck struck him on South Road, near Moses Hall. He was 68. The Alhambra Water delivery truck was driving in reverse eastbound around 4:20 p.m., when it backed over the professor, said UCPD Lieutenant Mitchell Celaya. Zelnik was walking north from Stephens Hall at the time of the accident. The Berkeley Fire Department tried to revive Zelnik, but was unsuccessful in its attempts. Police are still investigating the accident. Witnesses were unable to confirm the speed of the truck or whether the truck's safety alarm was functioning when it was driving in reverse, but, according to Celaya, it did function when tested at the scene. Zelnik joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1964 and became active in the Free Speech Movement that same year. Zelnik also co-edited the book "The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s" in 2002.