A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Crime in Rockridge

A member of Rockridge Residents, the somewhat more affluent neighborhood to the northeast, did an analysis on crime in their hood. Here is the report: "Oh. My. God. Rockridge OPD crime reports are at a 2.5 year high, and that’s only because I only went as far back as 10/31/05. 2008 Crime reports are running over double the '06 & '07 average."

In HarriOak the numbers are not so bad as community organizing efforts by the Darries Project, Harpo and others are paying off, after a scary few months at the beginning of 2007. Please consider helping out these organizations as the situation throughout Oakland remains pretty tenuous, thanks to lack of action by the mayor and city council.

Report from the Bicycle Committee

The good people over at BPAC, the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, continue to fight for improvements to Oakland's distinctly unfriendly streets. Ron Bishop, one of the stalwart advocates for a more livable city, sent over a report from the meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21.

The committee discussed several options for improving the area around Whole Foods (27th Street and Bay Place). One is to have a 7' parking and 7' bike lane with the parking Ts extending into the bike lane as a warning to cyclists not to ride in the door zone. The second is to have 9' parking and a 5' bike lane. The third is to use sharrows, or shared-lane pavement markings. (For a positive article on sharrows in Portland see here.)

What solution to support? Bishop points out that the 9' parking could become a magnet for larger vehicles.

The committee also discussed the transition from the bike lane on Bay Place to no bike lane on 27th at the slip turn area. There are no provisions in the current budget to modify the island.

Dead ending 24th St and removing the slip turn at 27th and Harrison were dismissed because of budget priorities. The intersection at Broadway has a similar problem as the pork chop does not allow for a bike lane.

Bishop flagged the problem of the lack of a turn lane from the Westlake Middle School onto 27th Street -- a serious problem that the city has yet to deal with after more than a year of talks! "They seemed unaware," Bishop said.

IMAGE BY Robert Kurtz

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Couples Relay on Feb. 24, Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders

The Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders are holding their 30th Couples Relay on February 24. Each person will run 5K around Lake Merritt. There is a pre-registration fee of $16 for members of LMJS and $22 for non-members. Registration on race day is $28 at the Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Avenue, starting at 8 a.m. Register online here.
For more info call 510-339-2430 or email lgoldman at pacbell dot net.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bay-Friendly Gardening

A new round of gardening workshops is being offered by the Bay Friendly Gardening Folks. You can register at their Web site BayFriendly.org

Here's an abbreviated schedule:

Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bay Friendly Gardening Basics: An overview of design and maintenance practices
Location: StopWaste.org at 1537 Webster Street, Oakland

Saturday, March 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Gardening from the Ground Up (about healthy soil)
Location: Bay-friendly demonstration garden at Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland

Go Native. Attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Location: Marin Elementary School, 1001 Santa Fe Ave., Albany

Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

High-performing plans for low-water gardens: Discover the best-suited drought tolerant native plans.
Location: StopWaste.org at 1537 Webster Street, Oakland

Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Design a Bay-Friendly Garden (Gardening basics is a prerequisite and there is a $15 fee.)
Location: StopWaste.org at 1537 Webster Street, Oakland

Who We are Reading:

Mary Eisenhart, the longtime editor of "MicroTimes: California's Computer Magazine," and a HarriOak resident, has published a review of Nicholas Carr's "The Big Switch," in the San Francisco Chronicle. Carr, the former editor of the Harvard Business Review turned technology pundit, lays out an argument, cogently summarized by Eisenhart, that technology can oppress as much as it can liberate. Check out Mary's review here and feel free to log into the HarriOak Yahoo group she helps moderate here. "The Big Switch," is destined to be one of the most influential technology books of the year.

Obnoxious Car Alarm Alert: Outback Station Wagon License Plate 4GPG039

Last night, a green Outback Station wagon that was illegally parked in the yellow zone in front of the A&M store began repeatedly sounding its alarm for no apparent reason at 3 a.m. The noise went on for at least 45 minutes, waking up about two dozen households who live in the immediate vicinity.

This is incredibly inconsiderate and happens to be illegal. Police reported at 6:45 a.m. and will be contacting the owner later in the day.

We've been having an increasingly serious problem with random alarms. Please use a club rather than an alarm to protect your car when you are in HarriOak. You will be cited for nuisance alarms.

A Small Traffic Victory: Traffic Update

City engineers have contacted the HarriOak/Westlake Traffic Committee to let them know they will be immediately removing the second left-turn lane from 27th Street onto Harrison Street that was erroneously installed as part of the Whole Foods traffic modifications. The second lane made no sense from an engineering stand point and created lots of dangerous confusion.

Work continues on ome extremely serious and persistent traffic problems that have been aggravated by the opening of Whole Foods.

If you are interested in helping out in this effort, please send a note to harrioak at yahoo dot com. The committee has been working hard for several years and needs all the support it can get.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yoshi's Benefit for Piedmont Boy March 24th

There will be a benefit concert for Christopher Rodriguez on March 24th at Yoshi's Jazz Club at Jack London Square in Oakland. Shows at 8 and 10pm.
Featured performers (so far):
John Santos, Kai Eckhardt,
Roger Glenn, Frank Martin, Narada Michael Walden,
Carol Alban, Anton Schwartz, the Baguette Quartette, the Oakland Jazz Choir,
members of the Bay Area Chamber Symphony and others.
Please visit the event website for more info: www.myspace.com/benefitconcertinfo
Order tickets via the Yoshi's website http://www.yoshis.com/ or by calling their box office at (510) 238-9200.

Rodriguez is the the 10-year-old who was paralyzed by a stray bullet during a piano lesson at the Harmony Road Music School at 4382 Piedmont Ave. The school is part of the Piedmont Piano Company, a family-owned and operated music store that has been serving our community for 28 years. The store is located across Highway 580 from HarriOak in the Piedmont shopping district. The MediaNews story is here.

There will also be a benefit for Rodriguez at the The Chapel of Chimes (4400 Piedmont Ave) on February 10. The benefit will feature 11 bands playing from 2 p.m to 7 p.m. and proceeds will help the family with medical bills and a bunch of other costs, including a specially equipped van.

If you can't make the benefit concerts but would still like to contribute, a trust account has been set up at Wells Fargo: Christopher G. Rodriguez, Trust Account No. 7013202606. Donors may make the contribution in person or mail them to the Piedmont Avenue Wells Fargo branch, 151 40th St., Oakland, CA 94611.