Vigil held for pedestrian killed in Oakland hit-and-run, advocates call for safety improvements

Concerned residents and neighbors gathered on 61st and Bancroft avenues in East Oakland where just over a week ago, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Tim Courtney is with a group called the "Traffic Violence Rapid Response Team." He said they formed the group to raise awareness about pedestrian and cyclist death and planned this vigil to highlight what happened and call for safety changes.

"We need traffic calming safety improvements on our streets and we need that now, soon," said Courtney. "Not five years from now ten years from now whatever. We need it done before another person is killed by a driver."

"People aren’t stopping like they used to. It’s very disheartening," said Oakland resident Nenna Joiner.

She said safety improvement like a lighted crosswalk could help people safe at night.

"It’s a drag strip for sure," said Joiner. "If people are going to go fast - you can see some of the markings in the street – this is basically sideshow territory. But you know cyclists are here, people live here and also people want to walk here."

City Councilmember Loren Taylor joined neighbors at the intersection where they were passing out flyers.

"This is devastating that we have to come out as frequently as we have at different intersections in East Oakland," said Taylor.

He said he contacted police and the Department of Transportation to emphasize the urgency to make improvements.

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"We have to respond more quickly and make the changes that are necessary across the entire spectrum," said Taylor. "From design, how we design our roadways, to ensuring that we change the culture with enforcement as well."

This is the third pedestrian fatality near the area of 61st and Bancroft this year. A woman was killed in a hit-and-run in May and another pedestrian was killed in January.