[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.


History Professor Killed in Campus Traffic Accident

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.