ALAMEDA, Calif. - Alameda police are investigating why an SUV plowed into an outdoor dining area, injuring two people. With nice weather forecast for this weekend dining parklets are likely going to be packed this weekend.
Alameda police are looking into what led to a crash Thursday night at the curbside dining area for La Penca Azul.
At about 9 p.m., a Nissan SUV turned and veered into the water-filled barriers protecting the dining area. Two people suffered minor injuries.
Police confirm the driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
"Nobody should going out to dinner and expecting to land in the hospital," said Jodie Medeiros from the pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF. She says drivers have sped up over the course of the pandemic, when they should be slowing down now that shared spaces, slow streets and dining platforms have proliferated. "As we see them take over space in our our streets in a very positive way, they should act as natural deterrents from speeding," said Medeiros.
That sentiment is echoed by police who say drivers need to be aware that the driving environment is changing, and that there are more pedestrians, cyclists, and even diners sharing the road. "These parklets do add another element to driving on the roads in San Francisco," said Adam Lobsinger from San Francisco Police Department. "So, again we're going to ask everyone, the conditions have changed. So, be mindful of these shared spaces and these parklets."
Many of the dining platforms already include barriers to protect diners and police say making them more visible adds another layer of protection. "So, anything restaurants can do to increase their visibility if they're operating out on or near the street is always good," said Lobsinger.