A Fire-Slide Chat

by Hugo Evans

Fear over fire safety rages on Rettig Avenue even though repair work on the landslide started in December.

Residents and community members are looking to the city for a final decision about how Rettig Avenue will be used and how Peralta Creek will be protected after the slide is finally cleared off the pavement. Many are afraid that if traffic is reinstated on the single-lane road, residents could be trapped by vehicle congestion in an emergency, just as people were on Charing Cross in the 1991 fire. If fire trucks and residents are forced into the heavily wooded area, they don't want the tiny roadway obstructed by traffic in critical moments.
"Rettig's been closed for seven years. We forgot it's even there. It only makes sense to use it for emergencies," neighbors say.

After the 1991 fire, the Oakland Fire Department recommended that the city "designate and sign evacuation and emergency response routes" in urban-wildland areas like upper Laurel/Redwood Hts. Residents and community members want to implement the OFD's recommendations on Rettig Ave. They say, "If developers can build homes on the most steep, narrow, winding, dead-end streets in the Oakland Hills, they can direct their driveways to accommodate an emergency evacuation route on Rettig Ave." It's hard to disagree with the logic. Rettig Ave. is
located on a creek, in the Wildfire Prevention District, in the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone, and in a landslide zone, after all. That should count for extra safety precautions, shouldn't it?

For more information about Rettig Avenue and Peralta Creek, or about how you can help, e-mail rettigave\@yahoo.com.