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Tennyson/I-880 Interchange Dangerous Intersection

Posted by Emily Ruby | May 02, 2024 | 0 Comments

I've got a bone to pick with the Tennyson/I-880 Interchange. Can you believe that in just the past couple years, this interchange has claimed two lives and left two others seriously injured? It's a tragedy waiting to happen, again and again.

Tennyson I-880 Intersection

But here's the kicker: between 2010 and 2014, this interchange saw four pedestrians and eight bicyclists get hit, with one poor soul losing their life. It's like playing a game of Russian roulette every time you try to cross the street or ride your bike through here. And that's just not right.

The Tennyson/I-880 Interchange has been a real nightmare for too long. It's time to get serious about making this stretch of road safer for everyone who uses it. We're going to break down exactly what needs to be done to turn this deathtrap into a smooth, secure ride.

Table of Contents:

The Urgent Need for Safety Improvements at Tennyson/I-880 Interchange

Tennyson Road is one of Hayward's major backbones for people walking and biking, but it's also one of the City's most dangerous. Over the past two years, the I-880/Tennyson Road interchange, which connects the western and eastern sides of Hayward, has seen two deaths and two serious injuries.

26-year-old Jose Enciso Hernandez was killed in a hit-and-run while biking through the interchange, and a pedestrian was also seriously injured. In 2015, 21-year-old Denesha Turner was killed while walking across the interchange with her baby, who also suffered critical injuries.

Sadly, tragedy at this interchange is nothing new. Between 2010 and 2014, four pedestrians and eight bicyclists were hit, resulting in one fatality. The Tennyson interchange contains several critical safety hazards that make it dangerous to walk or bike, including:

  • High-speed onramps and offramps that encourage drivers to accelerate through crosswalks
  • Poorly marked crosswalks lacking appropriate signage, lighting, ADA decidable warnings, or high-visibility markings
  • Inadequate sight distances and ADA ramps associated with overgrown vegetation on sidewalks
  • Multiple-threat conflicts stemming from dual-lane onramps
  • Class II bike lanes along Tennyson that terminate without warning when approaching the interchange

Caltrans and City of Hayward's Response to Community Concerns

Caltrans has a short-term plan to put up new signs within the next few months to limit car accidents, but that won't fix the dangerous design flaws of the cloverleaf interchange. Pedestrians and cyclists are still at risk when navigating this outdated layout.

Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo said in a statement: "There are no quick or easy solutions to addressing some of the safety concerns identified by the community, but the city is committed to evaluating options and working with interested groups on these concerns."

Advocacy and Community Involvement in East Bay

Bike East Bay, a bicycle advocacy group, has been collaborating with the City and Caltrans to improve the experience of walking and biking in Hayward. If you're a resident or community member who wants to share your thoughts and stay informed about cycling developments in Hayward, you can join the Bike Walk Eden Facebook group or subscribe to Bike East Bay's email newsletters.

It's clear that the Tennyson overpass is a major safety concern and an obstacle to creating a vibrant, healthy community. The city needs to make evaluating a long-term fix a top priority and get started right away. We can't afford to wait any longer.

Comparing Safety Measures with Berkeley's Quick Action

While City Manager McAdoo is partially correct that an engineering study is needed to effectively design these safety improvements, this process need not take 16 months. Berkeley, for example, addressed a serious safety hazard along Fulton Street in a matter of weeks.

Trimming the nearby vegetation where Jose Enciso Hernandez tragically died is a basic but essential step that could be done in a matter of days. You see, when cities truly care about protecting their most vulnerable road users, they can take immediate action to make a difference.

The Design Flaws of Cloverleaf Interchanges

The cloverleaf interchange design, used at Tennyson/I-880, has inherent safety flaws that put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk. These include high-speed free-flow onramps and offramps, inadequate sight distances, and a lack of dedicated infrastructure for people walking and biking.

Visibility Issues and Overgrown Vegetation

One major issue with cloverleaf interchanges is poor visibility, often exacerbated by overgrown vegetation. When sight lines are obstructed, drivers may not see pedestrians or bicyclists until it's too late, especially when traveling at high speeds.

Maintaining clear sight distances by regularly trimming vegetation and removing visual obstructions is crucial for improving safety at these interchanges. However, this is only a band-aid solution to a fundamentally flawed design.

High-Speed Merges and Lack of Signage

Cloverleaf interchanges can be a real danger zone for pedestrians and cyclists. With cars zooming on and off the ramps at high speeds, it's like playing a game of chicken trying to cross the street or merge into traffic. The design of these interchanges prioritizes fast-moving vehicles over the safety of those on foot or bike, making it a risky proposition to navigate.

Compounding this issue is the frequent lack of appropriate signage, lighting, and high-visibility markings to alert drivers to the presence of vulnerable road users. Without clear visual cues, drivers may not be prepared to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists, leading to dangerous conflicts.

Infrastructure Improvements for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

To truly address the safety concerns at Tennyson/I-880 and other cloverleaf interchanges, we need to redesign these facilities with the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists in mind. This means providing dedicated infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes and signalized crossings, to separate vulnerable road users from high-speed vehicle traffic.

Extending Bike Lanes Through Interchanges

Want to ride your bike through the interchange without any interruptions? The city is working on extending dedicated bike lanes all the way through, so you can enjoy a safe, protected route from start to finish. No more sudden merges with speeding cars or sidewalk detours - just a smooth, uninterrupted journey on two wheels.

Interchanges can be intimidating for bicyclists, but extending bike lanes with clear markings and signs will make these areas more predictable and secure, encouraging more people to ride.

Addressing Transit Access Challenges in Low-Income Communities

Imagine living near the Tennyson/I-880 interchange, where your daily commute to work or school depends on your own two feet or a bicycle. For countless residents in these diverse, lower-income communities, that's the reality they face due to limited vehicle ownership and a lack of reliable public transit.

The interchange's current design? It's a real problem for these communities. Huge barriers, safety issues - it's limiting people's ability to get around and get what they need. We need to address these inequities ASAP. Targeted infrastructure improvements, community engagement - these are key to making transportation fair and accessible for everyone.

Future Plans for Tennyson/I-880 Interchange Improvements

Caltrans and the City of Hayward are planning to implement safety improvements at the Tennyson/I-880 interchange, but the process is slow. In the long run, signage and striping improvements will help, but they won't address the underlying fatal flaws of the cloverleaf interchange design.

Evaluating Options for Modifications or Replacement

To truly address the safety concerns at this interchange, Caltrans should work with the City of Hayward and the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) to evaluate options for modifying or replacing the cloverleaf design.

Imagine a city where free-flow onramps and offramps are replaced by well-lit intersections with clear signals. Picture wide, inviting sidewalks and bike lanes that make it easy and safe to get around without a car. Visualize an interchange designed with the most vulnerable in mind – pedestrians, cyclists, seniors, and children. These transformations may require significant investment and effort, but the payoff is immense: lives saved, communities connected, and a transportation network that works for every citizen.

Key Takeaway: 

Tennyson/I-880 Interchange is a hotspot for accidents, hurting or even killing those on foot or bikes. The area's fast ramps and unclear crosswalks are big dangers. Thankfully, plans to make things safer are in the works, but action needs to speed up. Simple steps like cutting back bushes can save lives now.

Tennyson/I-880 Accident Assistance

The Tennyson/I-880 Interchange safety improvements can't come soon enough. With lives on the line, it's time for Caltrans and the City of Hayward to step up and make this interchange a priority. No more temporary Band-Aids or half-measures.

The cloverleaf design is outdated and dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. We need to address the core issues by improving visibility, reducing vehicle speeds, and creating separate spaces for those not in cars. It's the 21st century – let's bring this interchange up to modern standards!

The community is watching, and we won't rest until the Tennyson/I-880 Interchange is safe for everyone. So let's make some noise, keep the pressure on, and get these safety improvements done. Lives depend on it.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $100 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.


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