Rollover Collision at Controversial Intersection Sparks Calls for Action

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Two vehicles collided at the intersection of Claremont Avenue and Hudson Street on Sunday, July 18, causing a small SUV to roll onto its roof in the crosswalk that spans the entrance to the highway ramp. This latest incident at the notoriously dangerous intersection has residents calling for more pedestrian safeguards near Frog Park and Hardy Park Dog Run.

"Motorists approach the on-ramp like they are getting ready for take-off. They have little regard for pedestrians in the crosswalks or bicyclists on the streets" says Tom Hull, a nearby resident. "It's surprising there aren't more accidents here. The city needs to take action before someone gets killed."

In fact, the city of Oakland does have an action plan in place to study the area.

Kristine Shaff, spokesperson for the Public Works Department, says that additional safety enhancements are currently being considered for the near term, such as enhancing signage and altering traffic light timing. More robust safeguards may take a while longer. The intersection is tentatively slated to receive substantial improvements funded by the CalTrans settlement over the Caldecott Tunnel's fourth bore. However, the project barely made the list for funding, so formal plans won't be undertaken for approximately another two years, says Shaff.

Peter Lund, founder of Scenic Streets, says he raised concerns about the intersection with then-Councilmember Jane Brunner after his volunteers saw a bicyclist struck by a truck last year.

The group was pushing for a ticket camera that would discourage speeding and incomplete stops, common violations at the heart of the problem. But Lund says Brunner indicated an OPD study had concluded this intersection did not meet the criteria to make the device economically viable.

In the meantime, it will simply be up to motorists to obey the law. Shaff claims that many do not realize that even entering a crosswalk occupied by a pedestrian is illegal.

Nearby neighbors report frequent fender benders at the intersection, but OPD sources say records show surprisingly few reports on file, suggesting that many collisions are not being reported.