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I would say, based off my subjective experiences riding, that Oakland is unlike any other city I have ever ridden a bike in because the drivers give zero fucks. Sure, most drivers care; that is always the case. But the marginally bad ones here put the awful ones in San Jose to shame.
When not in a car, I operate under the assumption that all people in cars are psychopathic murderers driving 5,000-pound death-sledges at high-speed within a few feet of me, and could snap and kill me for no reason. That is what it means to be a defensive bicyclist: never trusting cars, ever. I would have been hit last week by a truck if I wasn't watching behind me and didn't move my bike out of the bike-lane to allow the driver to turn onto MacArthur Boulevard; he or she didn't even notice me enough to thank me. I'd love to leave my cyclist PTSD behind me, but every day means new triggers as poorly designed roads and moronic self-centered drivers come inches close to killing me.
I am glad to be living and riding. But my heart goes out to the cyclists who have been hit and killed, or worse, maimed for life. While I am still nursing a broken wrist from a crash that I did not cause, I am lucky that it did not involve a car; in fact, none of my bad crashes involved a car hitting me. I am a rarity. In my two years working in San Jose, we had six people riding their bikes to work and I was the only one to not be hit by a car, and most of them were hit and runs. Any person who harms another in that way and just abandons them deserves to be put in the town square in the stocks or left to the crows.
Mitchell Colbert, Oakland
"Activists Shape Coliseum Area Plan," News, 3/18
What About Sea Level Rise?
The two recent articles about the Coliseum City development, plus the letters to the editor, fail to grasp a fundamental reality that will literally sink the whole project. That is the fact of global warming: climate change and rising sea levels.
Thoughtful models predict that if the Earth warms just 2 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit), we can expect sea levels to rise around one meter (39 inches). If the earth warms 4 degrees C, (7.2 F), expect up to 2 meters by 2100. And, worst-case scenario, 6 degrees (10.8 F), is "forgetaboutit," human beings!
If you have ever walked or driven near San Leandro Bay shoreline during king tides (periodic highest tides) you will notice that the water almost reaches the trails and the bridges. (In February this year, the weather service gave warnings of low level flooding along the coast during king tides). Have you noticed the sloughs and creeks that run through the Coliseum City planning zone and around the existing Coliseum?
Through a quick Google search I discovered that the present Coliseum is at sea level; the playing field is 22 feet below the sea and the clubhouse sits at minus three feet. It would be interesting to see a map calculating water encroaching on East Bay land under each of the scenarios mentioned above, especially where the Coliseum City is planned to go.
But hey, the rising will only rise thirty, forty, or fifty years from now! And that will be after the final buildings are up, the developers have disappeared with their loot, and present city councilmembers will be long gone! The only ones around will be those conned into buying apartments, building factories and warehouses, or trying to go to ballgames. They will just have to get use to driving in underwater streets and having sewage back up in their buildings (shades of the present Coliseum!)
Fred Zierten, Oakland
Due to an editing error, our April 1 feature, "Flow Jack City," contained a photo caption in which a quote by Sage the Gemini was misattributed to P-Lo. Our April 1 Theater & Dance preview, "Extracurricular Dance," misspelled Megan Nicely's first name. And our April 1 news story, "Putting Citizens in Charge of Police Complaints," mistakenly stated that Oakland's Citizens Police Review Board was established in 1994. It was established in 1980.