Stoplight Gives Pause to Some

WHAT CAN $250,000 buy? If properly spent, it can pave a lot of potholes, spruce up our schools, or pay the overtime salaries of a few more police officers in Montclair. Or it can buy a stoplight that some folks seem dead set against. The city of Oakland is poised to put in a light at the corner of Mountain Boulevard and La Salle Avenue — an intersection the traffic department deems is one of the most dangerous in the city. But not everyone is buying it.

“It’s total nonsense,” says Derek Liecty, who is starting an Ad Hoc Committee to Stop the Stop Light. He claims the department’s evaluation methods were wrong and they’re trying to ramrod the project through without public input.

Well, the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council did hold a meeting on the matter last week, and the opposition was vocal. But the MSIC’s Roger Vickery says, now that the stoplight has been OK’d and funded, there’s a potential liability issue if the city doesn’t go forward and someone gets injured at the intersection.

“Public Works is open to adding enhancements to the project,” he says, such as sidewalk bulb-outs, landscaping, benches, etc. But opponents are more worried about how a light will affect traffic in the village. Think about the issue and then decide. If you don’t have a problem with the new light, then do nothing. But if you feel, as many do, that a stoplight is a bad idea, then contact Derek Liecty at 510-339-2345 or by e-mail at

E-MAIL BAG: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s another plane. Realtor Laurel Strand says there has been a significant increase in the overhead airplane noise over the hills these past few months. “The noise has literally interrupted my Montclair open house conversations with prospective buyers,” she says, “and now prospective buyers are asking sellers about the jet stream noise patterns!” Strand says when she calls government agencies to complain, they have no advice. Has anyone else noticed the noise? If so, let me know and we’ll get to the bottom of this.

MORE MAIL: Reader David Walther has these thoughts on last week’s piece about a promised trail that the homeowners are fighting for along Shepherd Canyon Road. He says that would be great, but his first priority would be to expand the parking lot at the soccer park, where the overflow of cars often spills into the street. I would offer up that before some child is killed there, or people get injured while crossing or walking along the roadway, that the city expands the parking lot.

NEIGHBORHOOD BLIGHT: Remember that little service station in the Woodminister District that always sold gas for less? Well, it’s been shut down for quite a while now, and neighbors are banding together to see what can be done. “We don’t know whether the tanks are leaking,” says reader Jackie Care. “They might be, so as a neighborhood we’re just trying to get it cleaned up.”They’ve put in a blight complaint and are meeting with merchants in the area to come up with a solution. Meanwhile, they’re not even sure who owns the place, but they think he has other property in Montclair and San Ramon.

DEEP DISCOUNTS: I’ve wanted to stop by the Wine Mine for some time now. Not only is it owned by a dad at my son’s former school, I’ve read great things about it on Internet wine blogs. Tucked just behind Telegraph Avenue (5427 Telegraph) in an old red brick building, the Wine Mine does have rock-bottom prices. “My business plan doesn’t pay me a penny for two years,” says owner David Sharp, who seems perfectly content with the arrangement. And where did he get the name for the place? From his dad, who calls his own cellar stash the “wine mine.” Check it out — especially on Saturdays when you can taste six wines for a dollar.


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