Caltrans Petition: Powell Street off-ramp Crosswalk Safety Improvements

Published On October 11, 2016 | By Rob Arias | News & Commentary, Transit

The E’ville Eye is about more than just news stories, it’s about action and accountability. If residents and neighbors are being hurt and government agencies are being unresponsive, we want to utilize the platform we’ve built to incite change. If the City of Emeryville truly wants to make bike-ability a priority in our city, it will step in and help address the known safety nuisance that is the Powell/I-80 off-ramp crosswalks. Back in May, we successfully petitioned the city to act on a dog park project with your help and now we want to do the same for this intersection.

Please help Bike East Bay and The E’ville Eye provoke action by Caltrans and The City of Emeryville to remedy what most of us know as the most dangerous intersection for Bicyclists and Pedestrians in the city. The intersections at Powell and I-80 are known hazards to those that regularly traverse our city and are in fact segments of the 500 mile Bay Area Bay Trail. A segment that connects to Emeryville’s recently completed multi-million dollar Christie Avenue Bay Trail Gap. If you’ve used these crosswalks before, you’ve most certainly had at least one close call.

powell-offramp-emeryville-rendering

Powell Street Urban Design Plan rendering of proposed reconfigured Bay Trail connection to crescent overlook and special bus only ramp access.

Caltrans is inexplicably stating that there were no reports of bike/ped collisions between 2010 & 2014 and we know this to be bogus. Bike East Bay has in fact received reports of at least three known car on bike collisions just in the past year, with at least one resulting in serious injuries. The May Emeryville Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting that details one of these recent injuries is detailed in the above YouTube video [1:00]. The commenter described the incident to his friend that occurred back on March 22nd that resulted in “severe” injuries. As is typical, a distracted driver combined with overall poor visibility was to blame. Many on the committee considered the intersection a “design flaw” and even noted that an Emeryville Bicycle cop had been struck there before.

Bike East Bay is calling for three specific short-term upgrades to this crosswalk:

  • Make bicyclists and pedestrians more visible by striping the crosswalk with alternate green and white paint to make it clear that this is a trail crossing, not just a regular crosswalk
  • Stop drivers from entering the crosswalk when the walk signal is activated by installing electronic ‘no right turns on red’ signs
  • Stop drivers from taking the off-ramp as a freeway shortcut by installing a temporary median extension in the center of Powell Street.

Please co-sign the petition below to be presented to Caltrans District 4 Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator Sergio Ruiz and our city to help make this a priority. For more information on Bike East Bay’s efforts, please read their blog post. A long-term plan to address the issues with the intersection are outlined in the Powell Street Urban Design Plan [PDF].

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About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

3 Responses to Caltrans Petition: Powell Street off-ramp Crosswalk Safety Improvements

  1. Bonnie M says:

    I think you’re missing the most dangerous aspect of that Powell Street I 80 offramp. This is the fact that there should be a no right turn on red light sign at that intersection. Through the past 10 years I have lived at Watergate and have passed that intersection I have seen numerous car accidents because of people trying to turn quickly onto Powell Street on a red light since they are allowed to and have caused terrible accidents. I am sure that is also
    A large cause of the pedestrian and bicycle accidents. I would sign this petition if it included that important part of having a large sign that says no right turn on red light. Maybe you should think about just how would a lighted walkway help if cars are still going to jut out into it to try to make a right turn on red.

  2. I was almost hit by multiple vehicles yesterday that were going straight from one offramp to the onramp on the other side (freeway shortcut), despite the lanes being clearly marked as “turn only”, and appropriate signage in place before the intersection. Drivers cut across every day, and create a hazard for peds/cyclists, as well as, other motorists turning right onto the northern onramp.

    The idea of a “temporary median extension” sounds like it would help with that, but how does that coalesce with the traffic turning left (west) onto Powell?

  3. bill says:

    I’d like to see a walkable/bikeable bridge be added to Powell St. Why the heck didn’t they build one over the rail lines? It’s unsafe to walk on as it is currently.

    How about a coastal cleanup project to beautiful the area along the water between Chevy’s and Ashby? There’s a lot of trash and tires and concrete strewn about. Can’t something be done to make it look nicer? Moving rocks at low tide? Sand? The little beach by Chevy’s has several piles of old pilings with metal on them (hazards).

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