PHOTOS COURTESY OF GUS ROLDAN
Durant Avenue residents legally parked their cars on both sides of the street for a Critical Mass on Friday evening to narrow the lane and slow down traffic.
By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times
Durant Avenue residents staged another “Critical Mass” last Friday evening to slow down traffic on their street.
The neighborhood group has been trying to cut down on speeding and stop big trucks from using their little residential street as a thoroughfare.
So on the last Friday evening of every month, the Durant Avenue Task Force stage a critical mass by parking their cars legally on the street to narrow the lane and slow down traffic. All the neighbors go outside with signs to get the message across.
“We’re making progress,” said Durant Avenue resident Gus Roldan, who started the Durant Avenue Task Force. “We have more people joining now and we’re starting to move in the right direction.”
Some progress is being made, Roldan says. Four “no trucks” signs were installed on Durant recently, and City Councilwoman Pauline Cutter has plans to meet with Oakland City Council members this month, since Durant is on the city line, shared by both cities.
Until recently, big trucks, even semis, rumbled down Durant.
Roldan says they still have a ways to go, but Durant residents got a couple of things they’ve asked for. The police department installed a portable speed monitor sign on Durant for two weeks. The signs display the 25 m.p.h. speed limit and electronically flash the speed of passing cars, so drivers are more aware of their speed. And police have given more tickets recently, Roldan says.
Roldan says they need the electronic speed limit signs up permanently on Durant, but they’re apparently in demand and needed in other parts of town.
Also, raised crosswalks are needed, Roldan says.
Durant residents were glad to see City Councilwoman Pauline Cutter who joined them at Friday’s Critical Mass. Cutter has arranged a meeting with a couple of Oakland City Council members to address problems with traffic on Durant. The meeting will be on Thursday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the Sister Cities Room at City Hall, 835 East 14th St.
Another possible source of the truck traffic on Durant, Roldan believes, was that Google Maps showed Durant as a major thoroughfare, not as the little residential street. At Roldan’s request, Google finally fixed the map this week.
Having the Critical Mass last Friday didn’t stop the speeding entirely. Two cars came racing down Durant, side by side.
“It seemed like they were thumbing their nose at us,” Roldan says.
But when the cars reached the narrow lane where the neighborhood cars were parked, they had to slow down, and the signs with the scary monsters may have helped, too, Roldan says.
One of the neighbor’s cars parked on the street had its side-view mirror knocked off by a passing car, not an uncommon occurrence on Durant. The car belonged to Durant Task Force member Leah Hall and Roldan later sent our an email, thanking Hall for “taking one for the team.”
CAPTION: Neighbors on Durant Avenue took to the street on Friday evening, despite the rain, to slow down traffic on the residential street.