Odds and Ends – February 2024

Errant sirens going off at all hours of the night… Is it trains? Is it the parking lot? Nobody knew for sure what it was or where it was coming from, but for neighbors near Trader Joes, it was annoying as all get-out and they were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery quickly.

Some neighbors raised it at the Grand Lake Neighbors meeting, and Councilmember Bas’ staffer Debra Israel promised to investigate. Over the weekend, Nextdoor was filled with complaints and conjecture. One neighbor referred the group to a Reddit post that pointed to the Verizon shop as the culprit.

Caitlin Vega, who lives on Rand, talked to the Verizon staff in person and on the phone, and all denied that the siren could be theirs. On Saturday night, she did some in-person sleuthing and took video of the offending siren…prominently installed on the Verizon shop’s building. She went back to the store and showed it to the staff. With the proof in front of them, they said that they’d get it taken care of. The Lakeshore BID has confirmed that the store took ownership of the problem, and with no complaints on social media, we assume the siren has been silenced.

Hooray to everyone who participated in the process and especially to Caitlin who acted fast to identify the culprit.

By Debra Chaplan

Over a period of just ten days (from January 12 through 21) there were two major accidents in our neighborhood within two blocks of one another involving a total of eight vehicles — seven of which were heavily damaged.

The first was at the corner of Grand and MacArthur at the foot of the eastbound freeway offramp. We’re not sure who was at fault but excessive speed was obviously a factor.

The second was on Santa Clara adjacent to the westbound freeway onramp and the problematic crosswalk that Jerry Barclay discussed in his article in this month’s News. Speed was again a major factor and there’s reason to believe the driver was inebriated. Either way, we’re pleased to report he was arrested by OPD as he tried to escape.

Both accidents fall within the area that Caltrans is required to improve when the pedestrian over-crossing is torn down.  Hopefully, the plans that are finalized in concert with Oakland’s Department of Transportation and input from the community will improve safety and minimize such accidents.

By Ken Katz

The Splashpad News has repeatedly broached the subject of understaffing in the Public Works Department — most recently in this August 2023 article. Accordingly, we were thrilled to learn, via C.J. Hirschfield’s article in The Oaklandside, that Oakland had just hired 17 new gardeners and 15 new employees to work in the repairs and maintenance sector. These include two new carpenters who, late last week, began repairs to the wood decking where Tagere Coffee sets up on Saturdays.

This past Sunday at Splash Pad Park, Mary Jo Sutton’s volunteer team had three reasons to celebrate: the unseasonably warm morning, the hiring of all those new gardeners, and a total of 10 volunteers weeding, transplanting half a dozen yellow lupine seedlings, and picking up litter. The next work day in the California Native Garden will be Sunday, February 25 from 9 to noon. By the way, if you’d like to meet Mary Jo and/or have landscaping questions, she’ll be with the folks publicizing the Grand Avenue February 8 Art Walk at the Farmers Market this Saturday from 11 until Noon.

Cafe Lakeview has launched a new monthly event called Social Saturdays — a poetry showcase featuring the published author and poet, J. Rice plus other local artists. Other draws include free mimosas and Tarot Card readings as well as artist interviews and raffle prizes. The next date is this Saturday from 4-7 pm. 

By Ken Katz