Pedestrian Fatality at Powell/Christie Intersection

Published On November 1, 2016 | By Rob Arias | Crime & Public Safety, News & Commentary

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a semi-truck in the crosswalk of the Powell St./Christie Ave intersection this morning at approximately 9:24 a.m.. An intersection we have sadly profiled as being amongst the most dangerous in the city. This was the second traffic related fatality in the City this year. The other also occurring on Powell near the Shell Station.

According to witnesses and evidence from the scene, a Semi-Truck making a west bound turn onto Powell from south-bound Christie Avenue struck the female pedestrian who was crossing within the southbound crosswalk from northbound Christie Avenue. The right front portion of the Semi collided with the female knocking her to the roadway and under the Semi.

The victim was transported to Highland Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The operator of the Semi-Truck remained at the collision scene to report the incident to the police. The victim’s name is being withheld until next of kin is notified.

Since this is breaking news, we will update this post as new information becomes available.

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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.

18 Responses to Pedestrian Fatality at Powell/Christie Intersection

  1. That’s terrible news! My condolences to the family.

    With as busy as this city has become, and with all the new construction bringing even more people to the area, the city has an obligation to reassess how that intersection operates. That area is dangerous whether you’re traveling by vehicle, on foot, or on bicycle/other.

    A few changes to be suggested:

    A) Red light cameras, though perhaps not “cost effective” as the city has stated, worked at influencing how people drove through that area. As soon as they were removed, drivers began pouring through the intersection, regardless of what light they had. What price do we place on safety? Do the cameras have to “generate revenue” in order for them to be valid?

    B) With as many lanes wide as Powell is there, and with the popularity of the attractions nearby, why not have a dedicated time for peds to cross, rather than having the ‘walk’ signal synced to the green light for traffic turning right (west) on Powell from Christie? Make it “right turn on green arrow”, with arrow coming on after peds have time to clear the intersection.

    C) Put up delineators to discourage vehicles from abruptly stopping after turning left (north) from Powell onto Christie, and causing traffic to back up into the intersection while one car waits to turn into the gas station. Traffic just starts to gain speed as they turn, and then everything suddenly comes to a halt, raising the risk for rear end collisions, and leaving drivers stranded in the intersection while those coming off the bridge get a green light. When those drivers on the bridge get held up from being allowed to cross the intersection, they often become impatient and then pour through on red light (see A regarding cameras impact on this as well). I’ve made this suggestion to the city, and was told that the businesses would complain about their customers having difficulty reaching them if action were taken. There is a place where cars could turn into the area at the next signal light (Christie & Shellmound Way).

    D) Install better signage both at the intersection, as well as leading up to it. The signs at the intersection are rather small, and trying to see what lane goes where confuses drivers. Signs before the intersection showing which lane to be in for shopping center/east 80/west 80 could help as well. Many drivers block traffic as they try to get into the correct lane, and again impatience on the part of those being blocked leads to wreckless driving and poor decisions. Alternately, drivers will assume they can go straight from a middle lane, that is supposed to be turn only, and I’ve seen many near miss incidents follow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Two words: traffic circle

    • Anonymous says:

      Very good ideas esp. B. We almost got hit by a car turning right to Powell from Christie while we were crossing Powell We stopped because the car would not stop then yelled at us for stopping. Rude and irresponsible drivers. I now make it a point to wear white at night or wave anything like a grocery bag just so to be seen by these cars.

  2. Yorkman Lowe says:

    Cars turning left from eastbound Powell to northbound Christie often make the turn after their light has turned red; several times in recent months, I saw 5 cars starting the left turn while their light was red, following the pack.

  3. Adam Mitchell says:

    It’s just plain as day that the North/ South crossing of Powell at Christie is very dangerous. The crosswalk is “set back” around the corner, among other difficulties. So vehicles south on Christie to west Powell don’t immediately see the pedestrians. Also the vehicles in the middle lane that can also turn right have even less of a view. Even IF drivers pay attention it’s not safe. This has to be addressed ASAP.

    But Emeryville city gov’t has “better things to do” like futz with minimum wage, take control of private company work schedules, reviewing goofy variants to the Horton bike Blvd. design (where there HAVEN’T been serious accidents) instead of spending time to actually keep people safe.

    • Yorkman Lowe says:

      Very true. Drivers on southbound Christie, turning right to westbound Powell (like the truck driver involved in the accident) see only WITH DIFFICULTY, IF AT ALL, pedestrians stepping south to cross Powell.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tonight, Emeryville City Council is ‘discussing’ an ordinance requiring landlords to pay a 4 month ‘relocation fee’ to tenants if the landlord fails to establish cause for an eviction.

      We are blessed with brilliant minds on our city council the likes of which we have never seen and will probably never see again. I am awed that they have yet to find even one complex problem for which, just by turning their auspicious minds to the topic but for an instant, they do not have a solution.

      I, for one, am glad to live in a city where our leaders know more than everyone else and where their attention is laser focused on the great issues of our times rather than the trifling problems faced by Emeryville residents.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Awful. Drivers always take a “free” right there, generally acting like assholes with pedestrians in the walk way. Most dangerous intersection around, followed by all the others near there. Some jacksss in an Audi almost hit me the other day.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What does it take to get improved pedestrian safety in Emeryville at this intersection? How many more deaths? Drivers don’t see pedestrians or even LOOK for them. They run red lights.ConcernedCitizen above in posting had some very good ideas. This news makes me very sad as Emeryville is supposed to be “bikeable” and “pedestrian friendly” and it’s all smoke.

  6. Juan says:

    How can we get the City to address the situation? It’s not a difficult issue.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Police Chief Tejada and City Council Candidate Bauters both posted on social media implying that the stats do not indicate this is a dangerous intersection because the number of accidents is relatively low. This suggests that neither understands how to interpret the data.

    First, the number of accidents at a given intersection will almost always be too low to look at statistically. Rare events aren’t statistically significant even over large samples. When the number of events fluctuates between 5 and 10 a year, an occasional zero or 15 doesn’t provide any meaningful information. Nor does a single fatal accident.

    Second, the number of accidents is the combination of two factors: how dangerous the intersection is AND, more importantly, how vigilant people are in response to that danger. Highly dangerous intersections which appear highly dangerous result in few accidents if people respond to the danger by being hyper-vigilant.

    The question is whether or not hyper-vigilance should be our only or primary defense against the danger.

    Horror movies aside, just because we carefully avoid the room with the axe weilding psychopath doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. Just because we carefully dodge death at a street corner doesn’t mean the street corner is any less dangerous.

    • Rob Arias says:

      The EPD and City’s lack of culpability here is understandable. They don’t want to admit to being unresponsive and be liable. Bauters’ stance is a bit more concerning. For someone who prides himself on “listening” to residents’ concerns, he’s clearly NOT listening here.

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