Letters to the Editor: Overpass Troubles Continue

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Thank you for printing the update on the bridge to the Marina ("Proposed I-80 Overpass to Connect City to Bay Trail," March 21).Unfortunately, one of the messages attributed to me was not clear. While it is true that the existing overpass "is the most sensible and direct way for a strong and confident bicyclist to get across right now," I was speaking of the overpass on which the city of Berkeley has posted a "Bicycles Prohibited" sign. The sign is technically illegal on several grounds, and many cyclists (including the mayor of Emeryville and one member of the Berkeley City Council) use the overpass regularly. It is the most sensible option available.

This by no means is meant to suggest that there is not a problem with the existing overpass! The problem, besides the prohibitory sign, is that navigating two freeway entrances on the four available inches of roadway next to speeding motorists is not a reasonable option for anyone but strong and confident cyclists, so taking a stroll or easy roll with the family is not an option.Even if there were more room, the grade is not nearly compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is why the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition, the city and other groups have worked so hard to ensure there is a crossing that works for everyone. Until that time, the existing overpass is not "a great place to be mugged."

No, that "great place to be mugged" would be the subterranean wasteland of urine and broken glass where the city (and essentially, Caltrans) expects us all to travel at present. Many non-motorists refuse to do so. It is definitely more dangerous to cross those numerous on- and off-ramps than it is for a fast cyclist to cross overhead, even if it were not a "great place to be mugged."

The fact that Caltrans refused to include viable pedestrian and bicycle access to the marina when they built the freeway overpass is an example of how much work we have ahead of us (as a region, state and country) to reform transportation.

Because of this omission, city staff, elected officials, local residents and activists have had to spend countless hours and locate millions of dollars to correct Caltrans' heartless blunder. Let us hope that we can avoid the same types of mistakes if and when there is an opportunity to include pedestrian and bicycle access to the Bay Bridge.

Jason Meggs

Director, Bicycle Civil Liberties Union

Singers Deserve a Hand

Last Friday I attended the UC Men's Octet Spring Show and one thing struck me about the performers: they are consummate entertainers. The members of the octet are all enormously talented. The combination of their vocal abilities, choreography and rapport with the audience creates a brilliant performance.

I have fun every time I watch the UC men's Octet. I value them highly and appreciate their hard work and enthusiasm in entertaining audiences every week at Sather Gate.

As they head off to the National Championship, I would like to wish them luck. I am glad to have such an excellent group of singers entertain us every week.

Ali Orr

UC Berkeley student


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