March is Zachary Cruz Pedestrian Safety Month in Berkeley, But City Hall Has Yet to Issue Plan of Action
The official proclamation issued by the City of Berkeley in 2010 naming March Zachary Cruz Pedestrian Safety Month in the City.
By Frank Eugene Cruz (Zachary's Father & Founder of OursDid.org)
This March is the 8th annual Zachary Cruz Pedestrian Safety Month in the City of Berkeley. Yet the Mayor's Office and the City of Berkeley have yet to elaborate on how they intend to focus on solving Berkeley's road safety crisis and keep the promise of the proclamation they issued 8 years ago in honor of Zachary Cruz. Cruz was a 5-year-old Berkeley kindergartner, brother, and t-ball player who was hit and killed by a car while walking with his teacher in the crosswalk at Derby and Warring Streets on February 27, 2009.
The annual city-wide focus on road safety for pedestrians and cyclists kicked off early this year, on the anniversary of Zachary's death, with the launch of a new community organization called OursDid.org and a day of action at the intersection where young Zachary Cruz was killed by a motorist nine years ago.
The Berkeley Police Department's embattled Traffic Division, armed with educational flyers produced by OursDid that featured Zachary's photo, joined the boy's family and community members during the AM rush hour at the intersection of Derby and Warring Streets. The Berkeley traffic officers spent the morning enforcing laws that keep pedestrians safe and educated motorists on the tragic consequences of everyday violations like rolling stops, speeding, and texting and driving.
Following OursDid's PM rush hour action at the intersection, Frank Eugene Cruz, Zachary's father and OursDid founder, led a group to City Hall to call on Mayor Jessie Arreguin and the council to take immediate action on Berkeley's road safety crisis.
OursDid.org provided flyers for the Berkeley Police Department to use to educate motorists on the tragic consequences of rolling stops, speeding, and distracted driving.
This crisis has only grown since Zachary's death in 2009, Frank Cruz told the Mayor. Nationally, pedestrian fatalities are at a 25-year high. And locally, according to the City of Berkeley and the state's Office of Traffic Safety, this East Bay town of 120,000 people is the most dangerous city its size in the state of California. Every month, a pedestrian or cyclist is killed or seriously injured in the City of Berkeley, according to UC Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center.
Frank Cruz, Zachary's father and founder of OursDid.org, calls on the Mayor of Berkeley and the City Council to take action on the road safety crisis in Berkeley on the 9th anniversary of his son's death.
During the first two years of the city-wide focus on road safety in March, The Zachary Michael Cruz Foundation produced educational flyers for the Berkeley PD to use in their enforcement campaigns, to humanize the issue and educate motorists. OursDid.org will continue their work this year, providing the Berkeley Traffic Division with educational materials to raise awareness for pedestrian safety among Berkeley motorists this month.
Take Action: Ask Mayor Arreguin and the City Council to define their plan of action for Zachary Cruz Pedestrian Safety Month, to make Berkeley a Vision Zero city, and to reinvest in the BPD's Traffic Division.