Town Crier: Dangers lurking in the Oakand Hills

MONTCLARION: April 9, 2010

One of my favorite things about living in Montclair is also one of my biggest fears – being involved in an accident.

I’ve often opined about cars parked on curves, forcing motorists out of their lanes. It’s selfish and dangerous and should be illegal, yet it’s the norm in the hills.

Even more unsettling is the chance you might hit a pedestrian – something reader Greg Case witnessed twice as an Oakland firefighter responding to accidents on Grizzly Peak Road. . “One of these calls was for a man that walked every day up Colton…” he remembers, saying a car met the man on a blind curve and – giving him a wide berth – struck an oncoming vehicle. The pedestrian was caught in the middle and killed almost instantly. He’d been walking in traffic so no charges were filed but a life was lost and you can imagine the motorists’ grief. “Even if you’re in the right,” Case says, you could be “dead right”.

Please consider these factors when you walk on hills roads, and be acutely aware of traffic. And if you have to park on the street, try to park on a straight-away. The life you save may be your own – or that of a neighbor or friend.

Email bag: Thanks to reader Nancy Gerow for her thoughts on high rents forcing shop owners out of Montclair. She echoes the sentiments of many folks who don’t understand landlord logic in tough economic times. “How on earth do landlords figure they are entitled to charge such outrageous rents?” she writes, after a report that Colonial Donuts is saving $1500 a month by moving around the corner to LaSalle. Blockbuster Video is another retailer struggling to stay in its current location, as are several more shops in the Village.

Then there are the continuing comments on whether dogs should be leashed or unleashed on local trails. Several folks say they avoid the Shepherd Canyon trail to Montclair because they’re intimidated by off-leash dogs (illegal on this pathway). But some readers say that animals are more aggressive on-leash, and the hills need more places for dogs to run free.

Oops factor: After more than three decades of requests, the East Bay Regional Park District is finally getting highway signs. You see all kinds of postings for people who’ve “adopted a highway” but apparently Caltrans didn’t think park signs were worthy until now. Ironically, though, at least 20 of the signs have mistakes on them – mostly wrong exit numbers – but mistakes just the same. So they’re back in the sign shop. How long it will take for the state to make the corrections is anyone’s guess.

Around town:  Here are a couple of events that put the “fun” in fundraising: Reader Phil Regan took my column on bowling and organized his own charity event at Diablo Lanes in Concord April 11. Phil wants to raise $2000 for Oakland’s Women’s Cancer Resource Center and you can help by calling 510-763-0101.

If you like outdoor exercise, the first “Head for the Hills” 5K family run is May 1, supporting the Montclair Library and Aurora School. Check it out at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at Follow Ginny on Twitter at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s