Author blogs about growing up in Hayward, with quiz

Kevin Nelson, who is appearing at the Hayward Area Historical Society museum to promote his new book, is a product of Hayward. After his parents moved here when he was 3 years old, he went to East Avenue Elementary School, Bret Harte Jr. High and Hayward High.

“I still have a lot of friends there, and I still blog about it,” said Nelson. 

That blog can be found here. Hayward-related entries include a tribute to a favorite high school teacher, tales stemming from his dishwashing days at Banchero’s, and the Bully of Bret Harte Jr. High.

There’s also a How Well Do You Know Hayward test, which is incredibly tough. Take a look.


Northbound I-238 closure

Caltrans just faxed the following info re: northbound I-238, which will be closed between I-880 and I-580 beginning midnight and until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Detours for motorists traveling westbound on I-580 will exit at Strobridge Avenue; turn left onto Castro Valley Boulevard, heading west, make a right onto Mission Boulevard and heading north, turn left onto Lewelling to access I-880. Signs will also be in place to guide motorists to the detours.

Caltrans: The closure is necessary so contractors can install bridge joint seals on the several bridges along I-238. Motorists should expect minor delays and proceed with caution through construction work zones.


Post bridge-break traffic

Morning radio reports sounded dire — Hayward city streets in gridlock due to a deluge of commuters trying to get to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. Jackson Street backed up, solid, to Foothill.

However, Hayward Police traffic division Sgt. Jeff Lutzinger said it wasn’t so bad.

“We had some minor congestion, but we get that every day,” Lutzinger said. “For the spontaneousness of the (Bay Bridge) closure, I was surprised we didn’t have bigger problems.”

Lutzinger said he was very worried coming in to work about what the morning traffic would look like.

“I didn’t know what I would get stuck in,” he said. “But if the bridge does not open tomorrow, I only hope things can go as smoothly as they did today.”

Officer Christina Tagle of the California Highway Patrol said that all things considered, Hayward-area freeways “went pretty smoothly. Traffic cleared out and by 9:30 or 10 it was back to normal, and nothing major happened.”

However, Tagle said that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot more cars on the road. She estimated that it took commuters about twice as long to get through the area. “Plan on giving yourself an extra hour,” she advised. “People just need to be patient.”

Online traffic reports indicated things were getting sticky around 3 p.m., and we will soon see what the afternoon commute brings. There’s also a CHP incident report page that’s useful for finding potential freeway troubles.

Anyone have an eyewitness report, either from a.m. or p.m.? Or suggested alternatives to the main arteries that you’d care to share?


Pick Your Part octopus cuts off Hayward tentacle

There’s one less auto recycler around after Pick Your Part closed its NorCal scrap yards, including the one at the end of W. Winton Road. Sure, there are plenty of other such recyclers in the industrial areas near the shoreline, but I have fond memories of the octopus yard as the site of great bounty: Cheap parts for a 1966 Volvo 1800S  back in the mid ’90s.

Even then, good specimens were a rare find in a scrap yard, and after an exhaustive search, PYP proved to be a veritable treasure chest of old Swedish iron.

Not sure why they closed — the guy at the PYP number confirmed that both Hayward and Milpitas branches are gone, but had no idea why. Seems like an auto recycler would do well during a recession. Will look into it.


Checking in with San Lorenzo Creek

The National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for the Hayward area, meaning that nuisance flooding could occur. Not nearly as extreme as a flash flood watch. Regardless, we went down to take a look at San Lorenzo Creek in a number of spots and found it flowing rather rapidly.

Here it is near Foothill Boulevard and City Center Drive.

Here it is at the Grove Street Bridge.

Here it is behind the Meek Mansion.

Want to know how your surrounding area would fare in a 100-year-flood? Here’s a FEMA site where you can punch in your address and get an overview.

And here’s a Daily Review from the mid-1950s, before the San Lorenzo Creek was calmed by dams and culverts.

Let us know if you are aware of any particularly flood prone areas in the greater Hayward area that we should be keeping an eye on.


South Hayward charrette wrapping up

The series of meetings and design sessions aimed at coming up with a form-based code for the area around the South Hayward BART station wraps up on Sunday, with a 5 p.m. presentation of the results at the City Hall council chamber. Designers will be in production mode through the weekend, but the public is invited to stop by. The process included a field trip to the site earlier this week, at which nearly two dozen residents accompanied city officials and the consultants.

“There were a lot of seniors, longtime residents of the area who were very engaging,” said Laura Hall of consultant firm Hall Alminana. “A lot of them are scared by the current conditions, frightened to go out even during the day.”

Residents also got to weigh in on what they’d like to see in the area using green and red dots. A cursory look found that sit-down restaurants and a full-service grocery are most desireable, while fast-food joints and discount stores had few fans. The next step will be taking the results of the charrette before the City Council for review.

Director of Development Services David Rizk said he hopes to have the Sunday’s presentation available online early next week. Here’s the city’s page dedicated to the project.


Preliminary NTSB report on plane crash

From the National Transportation Safety Board Web site, regarding Wednesday’s crash at the Hayward Executive Airport:

NTSB Identification: WPR09LA451
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in Hayward, CA
Aircraft: Raytheon Aircraft Company B200, registration: N726CB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured. 

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On September 16, 2009, about 1220 Pacific daylight time, a Raytheon Aircraft Company B200, N726CB, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain while maneuvering during initial climb near the Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, California. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident, with its destination being the San Carlos Airport (SQL), San Carlos, California.

In a telephone interview with the Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that immediately after taking off and “still very close to the ground,” the airplane began to veer to the left. The pilot stated that he attempted to correct back to the right but the airplane didn’t respond, and as he was losing airspeed he lowered the nose. Shortly thereafter the airplane impacted terrain in a wings level attitude, followed by an ensuing post crash fire. The pilot stated that he was able to exit the airplane through the rear passenger door without injury. The pilot further stated that at no time during the event was there any indication of a loss of engine power.

The airplane will be recovered to a secure location for further examination.


Blackout blues in Hayward

Police said about 2,000 residents had their power knocked out until wee morning hours on Thursday, starting around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a car crashed into a power pole on the 26100 block of Eldridge Street.

Despite a dramatic, power-pole shearing crash, only one person was injured, and it was minor. Rob Ritchie lives nearby and sent us this photo. “I was sitting at my computer working on a project, when a huge thundering sound occurred, followed by an explosive sound, as well,” wrote Ritchie. “Instantly, all power went out. I went outside and looked down the street to see quite a horrific sight!”

Police said they had to put out stop signs and assign officers to direct traffic in the area. “It was a mess,” said Lt. Christine Orrey.

Ritchie said he has been trying to get speed bumps installed on his street for nine years. “Cars constantly speed on this street, sometimes at very high speeds for the conditions,” he wrote. “Perhaps the city of Hayward will reconsider, before other tragedies occur.”

Another Hayward resident called and said he had just taken his mother to a dialysis treament at a Jackson Street clinic when the lights went out. Karl Kanoho said patients had to be transported to hospitals because the facility has no backup power. His mother hadn’t started treatment yet and had to come back the next day.

“None of the (dialysis centers) have backup generators,” Kanoho said, adding that he felt lucky because his mother wasn’t in critical need of the treatment. “But it could have been a disaster.”

Anyone else with a blackout story?


That soon-to-be-overused Bay Bridge alternative

Anyone else concerned about how much traffic is going to flow over the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge starting Thursday night? As everyone knows, the Bay Bridge will be closed for the first time on a commute day on Friday (first time closed for the commute during the ongoing retrofit/replacement project. It was closed for much longer than one day following the Loma Prieta earthquake -E.), and it is optimistic to think that everyone who drives over that span will board a ferry or BART.

Any predictions for how bad it’s going to be? It’s always fun to look back on them after the fact.

And yes, the Caltrans-given name for our bridge is the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, but we correct that unfortunate juxtaposition here at the HayWord.


Missing the point on I-880?

Something has vanished along the Interstate 880 corridor. It used to serve as an unofficial road sign for southbound commuters — if you want to take 238 to 580, why, you’d better start moseying over to the right lanes.

According to the new tenants of 3199 Alvarado St. in San Leandro, they took down the landmark (albeit dilapidated) Levitz spike n’ sign about three weeks ago. It has been replaced with their own Dependable Logistics Services sign, which is about half as high as its predecessor. Dependable, a warehousing and trucking company, signed a 13-year-lease for the 260,000-square-foot space nearly a year ago.

Luke Sims, San Leandro’s director of community development, said current zoning would never allow for something as tall as the Levitz sign. He did acknowledge that it was an unusual piece of the skyline.

“The Levitz Needle,” he said. “Yeah, that was kind of a skewered, ’60s-looking thing.”

Dependable general manager Trevor Schirmer said the surrounding community had wanted the big sign taken down, and they were happy to oblige. It has been dismantled and scrapped.

“Now you can look at our sign and make it your landmark,” he said.

Photo is of the Levitz sign in happier discount furniture days, taken by Studio H on flikr one morning in 2005.