Maxwell Park Neighborhood News

by Sarah Hipolito

Adelle Foley, Traffic NAT Chair, stands by one of her favorite signs. Photo by Nick Lostracco.

What's traffic got to do with it?

Have you noticed how irritated and angry you become when faced with a reckless driver? How about drivers that blast their music as loud as their speakers will handle? Traffic has a big impact on safety and the quality of life in the neighborhood.'

On busy High St., there are high density traffic issues, such as speeding in center lane, doughnuts, reckless driving, and use of the center lane for passing. On residential streets, there is speeding, ignoring stop signs, some doughnuts and reckless driving. All over the neighborhood, traffic issues affect us all.'

The 3 E's of traffic safety are Enforcement, Engineering, and Education. The first two exist now, but Education has dropped by the wayside since Nate Miley left the City Council. Education about traffic safety used to take place at schools and through a public awareness campaign, including bumper stickers. Unfortunately, due to Oakland's high violent crime rate, traffic safety is a low priority for the Police Department.'

The way people drive tells you something about the community—how people are expected to act, and also tells you something about the drivers respect for their neighbors and the community. Believe it or not, there are some nearby cities (such as Alameda) in which there is little to no speeding!

We are fortunate in Maxwell Park to have a Traffic Neighborhood Action Team (NAT) chaired by Adelle Foley. Also on the team are Nancy Karigaca, Joe Davis, Jan Hetherington, Rosetta Egan, and Paulette Bruder-Dorado.'

Adelle has been working on traffic issues since 1993, when she was in the High Street Neighborhood Alliance (HSNA) and was drafted into their traffic group. She educated herself by attending city traffic safety conferences and met monthly at police headquarters with City Council aides from Districts 4, 5 and 6, Oakland Police Department (OPD), City Traffic Engineering, Parking Enforcement, and Araina Richards (the current Neighborhood Services Coordinator for Maxwell Park Neighborhood Council).'

The Traffic NAT works with neighbors and the Neighborhood Council by soliciting information about traffic hot spots. Several traffic hot spots at a time can by worked on by OPD. This information should be submitted to Adelle, with a statement including where the hot spot is, when traffic is worst, and what OPD intervention is desired.'

The NAT also works on specific traffic projects, such as the High St. Exit from I-580 East. Drivers exiting left onto High St. do not understand that opposing traffic turning right onto High from Redding have the right of way. A sign was posted at the intersection, but it is set too high, so most drivers do not see it. The NAT hopes to continue working with the City Traffic Engineer to resolve this problem.

The center lane at High St. is due to the work of our NAT and the Melrose High Hopes traffic group. They will continue to seek improvements on High, as there are still traffic problems.

The traffic NAT is looking for a few good volunteers. To join this NAT, or to forward traffic problems, contact Adelle Foley at jandafoley\

Sarah Hipolito can be reached at shipolito\