Slow down for what?

Safety is a two-way street.

Last Sunday shortly after 3 p.m. I happened upon a very bad crash at the 23rd Avenue exit near Dennison and Kennedy streets in Oakland, used by thousands of Alamedans every day. A little black sedan had been totally eviscerated by a truck, which was also totaled. I could not stop without creating a hazard to all the drivers behind me. 

While there is a stop sign and a marking that should force drivers to stop before the intersection, there is also a jungle of weeds growing there making the visibility very difficult. Oncoming traffic does not have a clear view. 

Everyone will conveniently blame the black sedan for going through the stop sign, but the truth is every single driver is set up to fail. It will require half a truckload of asphalt to permanently eliminate this nightmare. Let’s pass on those 20 or so traffic lights and cameras to relieve traffic that will actually force the traffic to a stand still from the 7-11 in Oakland to Lincoln Avenue and beyond at peak hours. 

I will also pass on the new 23rd Avenue overpass, and will simply mention the British and the French dug a tunnel under the English Channel in six years. They built the highest bridge in the world, the Pont de Millau, in three years facing gale winds and freezing temperatures. While it is no longer the highest, it is none the less an achievement. 

I will conclude by simply reminding everyone that two drivers lost their lives by losing control of their vehicles and plunging into the cold water of the Oakland Estuary. Both could have been saved with a simple guard rail to prevent the vehicle from plunging in the water. 

Who’s next? Caltrans does nothing. The City of Oakland does nothing. The City of Alameda does nothing, and the Port of Oakland does nothing. Losing control of a vehicle should not be a death sentence.

The time has come to hold all of them accountable.


Joel Rambaud