Increase Pedestrian and Driving Safety Near Chabot Elementary and Little League Field
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We aim to increase driving and pedestrian safety on Chabot at the intersections of Chabot and Roanoke, and Chabot and Reata. These intersections are immediately adjacent to Chabot Elementary School and a little league field, making them very heavily used by children and families, in addition to common use by nearby neighbors. Please sign this petition to help us convince the city of Oakland to improve safety in this area.
The intersection of Chabot and Roanoke is directly adjacent to a large elementary school. Here, many people make u-turns, leading to traffic confusion. We propose to put in a traffic circle to control the flow and lesson the confusion. Additionally, many people pull through these stop signs at high speeds making it dangerous for pedestrians. Let's put in crosswalks to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and increase pedestrian safety. The intersection of Chabot and Reata is directly adjacent to a little league field. Let's put in a crosswalk here to make it safer for children and families to get to their games and practices.
In 2016 a 4th grade student was struck by a car and seriously injured while crossing the street in front of her school - the nearby John Muir Elementary in Berkeley. Let's not wait for a tragedy to strike before increasing safety at these confusing and heavily trafficked intersections.
Here is the full petition that we will submit to Councilman Dan Kalb, with the exception of the photos that are included in the petition that we can't include here.
To: Councilmember Dan Kalb
Re: Proposal for a Traffic Circle and Pedestrian Crosswalks at intersection of Chabot Road and Roanoke Road
Background for the Traffic Circle: Patton St. is a 1-block street that was formerly the end of Broadway. Anthony Chabot Elementary School is on the east side and single-family houses, including mine, are on the west. Patton St. is entered from the south by passing under Highway 24 and the BART tracks, either from Broadway or from exiting Hwy 24 East and turning left at the traffic light. When one emerges from under the freeway, there is a sharp left turn that led to numerous accidents until chevrons were finally installed, then raised two years later. Before those improvements, requested by me, speeding cars would ricochet off the guard rail and crash into cars or houses.
My 1-year old car was destroyed in 2009 by such a crash, and two doors down a car ran into the house a few years before. I say this to emphasize that Patton Street has a history of serious accidents.
During the school year, parents driving their children to school are instructed to traverse Patton to the stop sign at Chabot Road, make a right onto Chabot Rd., and pull to the curb. Most then want to turn around and go back on Patton Street to enter Hwy 24 West. There is currently no truly safe way to do this. Also, when school lets out, parents sometimes pick up their children by pulling to the curb on Patton Street, then make a dangerous U-turn near the middle of the block to return to Highway 24, to College Ave. via Miles Ave., or to Broadway. Cars going north under the freeway around the bend to enter Patton Street have limited visibility and are too often going faster than they should. Speed bumps are not possible because Patton St. is a fire engine route to north Berkeley.
There are fewer students at the school during the summer, of course, but when Camp Galileo was in session, they thought it necessary to post this sign at the drop-off point on Patton St.:
Background for the Pedestrian Crosswalks:
There is an all way (3 way) stop sign on Roanoke at the Chabot intersection. However, many times people don’t even “roll through” this stop sign, but instead go through at over 20 M.P.H. This problem is exacerbated by several issues: This has become a common “short-cut” route for people who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood but instead use it to cut through between Oakland and north Berkeley. Additionally, Roanoke going south is a very steep downhill, so that tempts drivers to go through the stop sign quickly. If a driver who merely slowed saw a pedestrian and wanted to stop for him or her, he or she would have to hit the brakes very hard.
While of course it is California law to stop at stop signs and give pedestrians the right of way (https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/right_of_way nearby neighbors frequently feel unable to cross at this intersection safely. In addition, they sometimes endure verbal abuse from drivers who are angry with them for trying to cross. Unfortunately, there is no viable second choice intersection. If you are on the east side of Roanoke, or on the north side of Chabot (east of Roanoke) the next available stop sign is up a steep hill (Roanoke), into a new city (Berkeley), after the sidewalk literally ends and it is rocky, difficult terrain. Once you reach there, there is a confusing 5-way hilly and curvy intersection that is also dangerous to cross at. No one – especially not children, the elderly, or those pushing strollers – should be forced up a steep hill with no sidewalk just to get to another stop sign that isn’t all that safe because angry drivers refuse to stop at the one on Roanoke at Chabot.
In addition to these logistical difficulties for all neighbors near the intersection, it is especially serious in that this intersection immediately borders Chabot Elementary and is just a few feet from a little league playing field. There are hundreds of children nearby whose safety should be paramount. This issue has become so serious that many of the neighbors with young children who live on the east side of Roanoke are seriously considering driving to drop off their children at Chabot, though it is literally within a few houses or even across the street. People shouldn’t be terrified to walk to their neighborhood school.
Proposal: Make U-turns easier by constructing a traffic circle with all way stop-signs at the intersection of Chabot Rd. and Roanoke Rd. This is currently an all-way stop and the intersection is unusually large, as you can see in the photos at the end of this letter. At a recent meeting at the Chabot School with principal Jessica Cannon and Roanoke Rd. resident Mónica Itzel Henestroza, issues of safety crossing Chabot Rd. were passionately raised. To address these, we suggest crosswalks at each of the three streets of the circle (two on Chabot Rd. and one on Roanoke Rd.), a crosswalk on Chabot Rd. near the intersection of Reata Place, and rumble strips on Roanoke near the traffic circle to slow the traffic on the steep downhill and help drivers prepare for the stop sign at the bottom. Parents of students using Chabot Field need the crosswalk near Reata Place to help them and their children reach cars parked across Chabot Rd. from the field. These features are shown in the map at the end of this letter.
A traffic circle would speed both U-turns and normal traffic and, most importantly, increase safety. Chabot School Principal, Jessica Cannon wrote in an e-mail to me after our summer meeting: “One of our neighbors, Lew Douglas, is leading the charge to get a traffic circle installed on Chabot by Roanoke. I am sure you can all testify to how useful this would be in keeping our students safe.” Along with this letter, we include a petition supporting this proposal signed by many nearby neighbors.
I spoke to Councilmember Kalb in Sacramento. He said that if I sent a proposal with photos, he would forward it to the appropriate people. I appreciate that very much. I’m hopeful that both funds and political will can be found to make this idea a reality.
If there’s anything more I can do to support this proposal, please let me know. My contact information is in the letterhead.
Thanks very much,
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