Letter to the Editor | Problems with new sidewalks, curbs at Holly and Manor

The following was sent to Piedmont City Council Members on August 29.

I am a long-time resident of the Piedmont Manor neighborhood at 38 York Drive.  I want to express my deep concerns about the new sidewalk and curbs being installed at Holly Place and Manor Drive. The selected design decision was clearly made without regard to the function of sidewalks and streets in this pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly neighborhood. There is clearly no citywide consistency in design standards, and I urge you to direct Public Works to install infrastructure that meets the needs of users.  

My objections to the partially-completed concrete infrastructure: 

  • Safety is degraded
  • Pedestrian flow is reduced
  • Green space is reduced

Safety degradation: The previous design was pedestrian-friendly, with wide and minimally-sloped transitions from sidewalk to street.  The new infrastructure requires almost a 90-degree turn by each pedestrian, and only one person at a time, almost like cattle being slotted into a narrow chute. People do not move in this manner, and most will step up the new curb, across the new concrete and down the other step into the deeply-guttered street. This movement involving new hazards is almost required by the current design.  

Pedestrian flow degradation: Holly Place and the public cut-through from Holly to Ricardo Avenue is a conduit for hundreds of students headed to Beach School, PMS and PHS every day. The movement of young students with parents toward Beach School is made in groups, and the new design squeezes the flow into single-file, one-way movement. This is not feasible for parent+children parties, or groups with bikes, scooters, wheelchairs or strollers. The natural work-around will be to use the street for group movement, which will be worse than the current situation.  

Green space reduction: The city will be moving against its own environmental policies by turning green space between the sidewalk and street into concrete.  

This location is best served with wide, minimally-sloped transitions from sidewalk to street.  

I see many Piedmont sidewalks with date stamps from the 1920s and 1930s — please do not move forward with a design that degrades safety, pedestrian flow and green space for the next 100 years. 

6 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Problems with new sidewalks, curbs at Holly and Manor

  1. I agree with the previous comments. The curbs are tripping hazards to all pedestrians, especially the blind and those in wheelchairs. ADA requirements are meant to remove barriers, not create them, which these curbs have done.

  2. When can we go to City hall to revolt on this terrible change?! Even as able bodied going down the yellow bumps you are confronted by an extremely steep slope to the street. Ridiculous

    • I believe it’s on next week’s City Council meeting. It looks like the staff defense will be ADA requirements, but there should be some design flexibility.

  3. They do look over- done – I assume the design is driven by latest ADA code.

    This intersection is a great opportunity for green infrastructure – curb design that retains or diverts street runoff into soil thereby diverting pollutants from the bay. Three of the 4 streets naturally slope down to this intersection so redesigning these ramps to manage runoff could lessen the visual impact and improve pedestrian flow. This intersection, the wildwood/nova circle, Oakland crosswalks – all could be designed as green infrastructure. Why isn’t the city doing this?

  4. I agree with the writer. What appears to be a both unnecessarily complex and expensive curb ramp design is appearing elsewhere in Piedmont. Rather than a nice slope, there’s an unnecessary vertical curb at right angles to the direction of pedestrian flow on the sidewalk. I believe they are a potential trip hazard. Did the Council know what they’d be getting when they approved this budget item?

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