Today at Berkeley Lab

Lab Traffic Officers Go Undercover to Monitor Crosswalk Safety

A plainclothes UC Police Department officer repeatedly crossed two high-traffic crosswalks in mid-February to ensure motorists were properly yielding to pedestrians on the hill. Of the 64 events monitored, only one resulted in a citation, although eight instances were considered borderline. No pedestrians were cited, but they too must follow California Vehicle Code rules like: “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.”

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  1. Arthur Patterson says:

    The plainclothes officers that monitored two high-traffic crosswalks in mid-February focused on those specific locations as a result of the multiple safety concerns and complaints received over the last several months. The failure of motorists to yield to pedestrians, or conversely, pedestrians entering crosswalks without allowing motorists enough time to stop, was the point of the exercise. At no time is/was the Lab planning to cite drivers who may cross the double-yellow line when trying to give way to cyclists.

  2. Andreas Schmid says:

    The presumption that our safety depends on programs targeting law-breaking does not look correct to me, the introduction of stepped-up enforcement, including plain-clothes undercover officers, does nothing to mitigate the systemic flaws of our traffic system and, instead, just deflects accountability onto individuals. Looking at us, I see mindful individuals, not a bunch of delinquents.
    Summarizing the interesting comments from the traffic safety forum, I’d say they highlight that we, as an organization, have not been sufficiently successful to provide a properly designed traffic system, particularly in terms of adequate protection for pedestrians and bicyclists. Look at the forum, here are some quotes, chime in.

    Biker: “…the most accident prone area for a bicyclist biking up the hill [is] nerve racking…”

    Driver: “I often find myself trying to accurately judge maneuvering around a bicyclist while remaining enough in my lane”

    “…LBNL property is confusing…”

    “We need a safe walkway around the entire lab. Currently it is necessary to walk some sections in the road.”

    “busy intersection near the firehouse (Segre/Lawrence) has no walkways”

    “…there are several heavily-used pedestrian routes that don’t have adequate protection for pedestrians, for example…”

    “…there is no walkway…”

    “The walkway up Lee Road from Bldgs 62 and 66 is so uneven I generally walk in the street.”

    “[Inadequate] lighting along walking paths is an ongoing safety issue”

  3. Pedestrian in Bldg. 90 says:

    Bus drivers also need to be reminded to remember to stop for pedestrians crossing the road. On more than one occasion, I have noticed that our bus drivers did not stop for pedestrians at the crosswalk. I have mostly seen this at the bottom of the hill at Bldg. 90. Safety goes a long way.

  4. Just this morning someone roared through the crosswalk between “the pit” and Bldg. 50A as I was crossing. It happens at least 2x a month. I’d be happy to see this patrolled! People need to learn that pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks.

  5. Ross Schaefer says:

    I am glad to see the note on the responsibility pedestrians have to cross in a safe manner. While motorists must yield to people IN crosswalks, there are many pedestrians (around campus, in SF) that jump out into traffic, or worse yet, pay no attention to traffic whatsoever but rather to their iPhones, and create a situation where motorists must slam on the brakes in order to avoid hitting the person. A little courtesy goes a long way, and this applies to everyone- motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

  6. Pedestrian says:

    Thank you! I know some people don’t like this sort of police activity, but I really feel that drivers and pedestrians could really do more to improve their actions. Some stern “reminders” are needed.

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