Public Comment

Why are there NO OUTLET signs on Elmwood streets that have outlets?

Hank Chapot
Friday June 28, 2019 - 05:38:00 PM

I worked at the Clark Kerr campus for a couple years, and I take my dogs walking above the campus. I long ago noticed that there are numerous streets in the neighborhood north of Ashby, west of the Kerr campus, between Warring and College, that have prominent NO OUTLET signs on streets that have outlets. You make a few turns because of the barriers Berkeley put in in the 1970s, but you can get to College from Piedmont, Warring or Derby if you disregard the signs.  

Drive along Piedmont or College and check out these streets; Parker and Warring, Derby and Warring, Steuart and College, Derby and College,. They all have NO OUTLET signs. The only truly NO OUTLET block I found was Etna street, and I did only a cursory drive through. 

I contacted Elmwood/Claremont neighborhood Association and got no reply and sent this public records request to public works: 

This email is a public records request regarding any and all documents pertaining to NO OUTLET signs on streets in the Elmwood neighborhood, north of Ashby, east of College and west of Clark Kerr campus. Including but not limited to; Parker and Warring, Derby and Warring, Stuart and College, Derby and College.

All these streets are through roads but all of them have NO OUTLET signs. I am prepared to pay any fees accrued and pick up hard copy of these documents when produced. 

I heard back from City spokesperson Matthai Chakko who said his staff is looking into it. I told him I would go ahead with this editorial.  

So my question is, are these just a relic of the 1970s closure of streets in the Ashby corridor, signs no longer needed but neglected by the city, or are they a sign of city sanctioned protection of wealthy homeowners privilege? Do rich neighborhoods have the political clout to deceive drivers stuck in traffic? Does their entitlement allow them to surreptitiously divert traffic onto other folks streets? I am tempted to get a cutting torch and cut down every one of these signs, but then I’d have to deal with messy criminal charges and lawyers and all that. 

I get it, nobody likes traffic on their street. I don’t like traffic on my street. I live on 58th Street in north Oakland near the highway 24 off ramps. Two blocks south and one block north of mine are truck restricted.. My street has become a designated truck route with traffic apps describing it as such. For the last few years, we’ve had semis, containers and every other monster truck on our street. It sucks. But we all need to share the burden. So, Berkeley, it’s your call.