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El Cerrito dental office holding Halloween candy buy-back

The following announcement was issued by the dental office of Linh Cao-Chan in El Cerrito:

It’s that time of year again- Halloween, and the huge amount of candy our kids bring
home from trick or treat! Our dental office is sponsoring our 3rd annual Halloween
Candy Buy Back on Wednesday November 6 at 3:30-5:30 pm. We’ll buy back UNOPENED candy
from your kids for $1/pound, and donate proceeds to Operation Gratitude, and they’ll
ship the candy to troops stationed overseas. So convince your kids to trade in the
sweets for some cash, and hopefully spare the cavities!

When: Wednesday November 6th at 3:30-5:30pm
Where: Linh Cao-Chan DDS
10110 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
510-526-4747

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New stop signs installed in El Cerrito

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El Cerrito this week installed new stop signs at four intersections:
* Barrett Avenue at Arlington Boulevard , creating an all-way stop;
n Stockton Avenue at Ashbury and Albemarle avenues (pictured above), creating an all-way stop;
* Ashbury Avenue at Central Avenue , creating an all-way stop;
* Curry Avenue at Pomona Avenue, creating a one-way stop.
El Cerrito police said Oct. 30 that “many drivers are not noticing the new signs, creating some near misses,” a concern that will be even greater when tick-or-treaters are out Thursday evening.

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Richmond: New lane closures for Interstate 580 project

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If negotiating the lane closures and alterations on Interstate 580 by the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge hasn’t been confusing enough, and judging from the traffic backups it has been plenty confusing, here is the latest round announced Tuesday by Caltrans:

Interstate 580 Scofield Avenue and Western Drive
Bridge Decks Replacement Project

Eastbound Lane Closures Resume

Contra Costa County – Eastbound lane closures resume for the Interstate 580 construction project east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

· Tuesday night, October 29, through Thursday night, October 31, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
· Friday night, November 1, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
· In general, during November, eastbound lane closures will continue as necessary Monday night, through Thursday night, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Friday night, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

This is an active construction site and the 45 MPH speed zone will be enforced by the California Highway Patrol. Drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Please remember to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about the project, call the message line at (510) 286-5820 or visit the Caltrans webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/580scofieldave/

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Unbuilt Albany: A pedestrian underpass is proposed under San Pablo Avenue in 1939

albanyunderpass1939
Solano Avenue at San Pablo Avenue is not the busiest intersection in Albany today (that honor goes to Buchanan and San Pablo), but it was in 1939.
Traffic was so heavy that the city considered building a pedestrian underpass so safely cross San Pablo to and from school.
There had been a jump in residential development on the west side of San Pablo, meaning an increasing number of children who had to cross San Pablo and Solano to get to and from school. Buchanan Street at that time was a two-lane road that was located farther north of its present location, unaligned with Marin Avenue as it is today. The USDA lab on Buchanan was seven months from completion and another development, a horse racing track at Fleming Point on the waterfront, was being debated. Albany was already discussing relocating Buchanan and years later would claim a slice of the Gill Tract to build the thoroughfare we know today.
The Eastshore Highway was two years old at the time the underpass proposal was made and the main route to get to the highway (and the Bay Bridge) from Albany and North Berkeley was to cross San Pablo on Solano up and over Albany Hill to the highway entrance on Pierce Street.
The underpass idea was floated in October of 1939 and gained some traction, but attempts to get state or federal assistance lagged and two years later there was a war to deal with.
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This section of an early 1940s map of Berkeley is one of the few to show both the Golden Gate Turf Club (Golden Gate Fields today) and the El Cerrito Kennel Club. Neither were in operation at the same time. The El Cerrito dog track closed in early 1939, while the Albany horse track closed after less than two weeks in early 1941. Note that what is now frontage road through to Emeryville was then a one-block stretch named Front Street.

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An enlarged and numbered view shows that Marin Avenue (1) and Buchanan Street (2) are still unaligned. Buchanan only runs to Cleveland Street and does not enter the highway. A separate section of Buchanan does go from the highway to the race track. Crossing Solano at San Pablo (3) leads to Pierce Street (4) and access to the highway. Note the size of the Gill Tract, which had previously included the USDA lab site.

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Visit this Albany teen’s haunted house and help a good cause

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Albany Haunt as it looked Friday morning with the donation barrel to the right.

If you are looking to do something for Halloween for the family or even just yourself, consider going to Albany Haunt, a homemade attraction at 1048 Peralta Ave. in Albany that will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday and again on Oct. 31. You’ll have some homegrown fun and feel good about it at the same time because admission is a donation — canned goods or monetary — to the Alameda County Food Bank.
You’ll feel even better because the attraction is the creation of a teenager wanted to do something for Halloween, but also wanted to help people in need.

From Michael Altfest, communications manager of the Alameda County Community Food Bank:

There’s a 13 year old boy building what seems to be an elaborate haunted house in his driveway – and he’s asking for food and fund donations for the Food Bank as the admission. He’s a really neat kid – seems to be really talented (you can check out his haunted house facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Albany-Haunt/127487577452389). When I asked him why he was doing this he said he really loves Halloween, but he also “realizes that there are a lot of people in our community who are struggling and he wanted a way to help.”

You know the food bank would love to see a full barrel.

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The attraction looks much spookier at night.

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Albany Planning Commission to discuss University Village development on Wednesday

Here are the agenda for the Albany Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at City Hall, 1000 San Pablo Ave.:

Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting – Rescheduled from 10/23/2013
Date: 10/30/2013 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: Albany City Hall – Council Chambers
1000 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, California 94706
Add to my Outlook Calendar

Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 6:30PM, Albany City Hall – Council Chambers, 1000 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA.
This meeting includes discussion of UC Village Mixed Use Development Project, Conditional Use Permit for after school program at 1109-1111 Washington, Study Session for new home at 850 Hillside, Study Session for 2nd story addition at 1501 Visalia, Design Review & Conditional Use Permit for two-story addition at 1008 Ordway, and status report on Public Works Service Center at 540 Cleveland and Resolution of Intention to amend Planning & Zoning Code related to fully animated signs.

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Pretty soon they’ll be doing this in reverse: Last Bay Bridge cantilever section ready for construction in 1936

baybridge1936cantilever

One section of the eastern (cantilever) half of the Bay Bridge remains to be built in this aerial view published February of 1936 in the Oakland Tribune Yearbook. The wake of a ferry that has passed through opening is visible.
In the background, the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge are visible, but no roadway has been constructed yet.
Alcatraz Island is in the background at the right.

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Albany plans bolstered traffic enforcement on Friday

The Albany Police Department issued the following announcement:

SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AND CRASH PREVENTION
October 23, 2013
On Friday, October 25, 2013, the Albany Police Department will have additional officers assigned to traffic enforcement within the city limits. Officers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on speed, red light, and stop sign violations, as well as seat belt and child safety seat violations.
The Albany Police Department has been awarded a $49,160 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.
The grant received by Albany will aid in the city’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. The Albany Police Department will use the funding as part of an on-going commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.
Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For additional information, please contact Sgt Chris Willis, 510-525-7300, cwillis@albanyca.org
Prepared and

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The great Key System strike of 1953 lasted 76 days

keystrike1

It’s easy to look at the BART strike and the possible AC Transit strike and pine for the “good old days” of public transit in the East Bay. But an earlier generation might laugh at that.
In 1953 the personnel of the Key System went on strike for 76 days, two-and-a-half months, bringing public transit to a halt in the East Bay.
Some key differences:
* The Key System was privately owned, rather than a public agency.
* Its workers did not receive nearly the compensation given to BART workers.
* The Bay Area population was much smaller. (Though so was the roadway system feeding commuting workers to the Bay Bridge or downtown Oakland.)
But at the time the Key System was the equivalent of BART and AC Transit, running streetcar and bus lines.

keystrike3

The workers walked off the job July 24, 1953 and residents — surprise — began forming car pools, something many of them became familiar with during World War II.
Businesses howled, commuters and shoppers complained loudly. (Click the pictures for a larger version if you want to read the articles.)

keystrike2

But the strike dragged on and drew attention in Sacramento after it entered its third week, as Gov. Earl Warren called a special session of the state legislature to consider a government seizure of the system. Legal representation of East Bay cities and Alameda and Contra Costa counties had met in Richmond and gave their approval to the governor’s plan. The government threat to seize the Key System didn’t happen then, but it laid the groundwork for the creation of AC Transit seven years later.

Our friend and El Cerrito rail buff John Stashik writes: “The long Key System strike in 1953 was the company’s undoing. Legislation enacting the AC Transit District occurred after the 76-day strike and in October 1960 AC Transit was running the bus lines.

“Privately owned transit could not make a profit. Today everything is publicly owned. Muni was one of the first to be a publicly owned system and it began in 1912. The city bought out the Market St. Railway in 1944 and finally the California Street Cable Railway in the early 1950s.”
The consortium of automotive-related industries that controlled the Key System also wanted out by the late 1950s and the system would make the conversion from private to public ownership.

The strike finally ended on Oct. 4, 1953 — the 73rd day of the walkout. But it was announced that it would take three more days before trains and buses would roll again, compared to having limited service the next day after the settlement of this week’s BART strike.

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Richmond: More lane and ramp closures for I-580 construction

Caltrans issued the following announcement Friday:

Interstate 580 Scofield Avenue and Western Drive
Bridge Decks Replacement Project

Eastbound Lane and Ramp Closures Continue Next Thursday, October 24

Contra Costa County – Eastbound lane and ramp closures continue for the Interstate 580 construction project east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

· On Thursday, October 24th, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
· The eastbound on-ramp from Western Drive to Interstate 580 will also be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On Thursday night, October 24, Caltrans will shift eastbound lanes to the left side of the Scofield Avenue Bridge, and lanes will no longer be in a split traffic configuration. Construction will take place on the right side of the bridge. Bridge deck construction is expected to be complete in December 2013. Depending on weather conditions, some paving may remain to be completed next spring.

Eastbound traffic is currently in a split traffic configuration, with one left lane, one right lane, and construction taking place in an island between the lanes. Caltrans has observed that during the day, some drivers are confused about the eastbound lane configuration. Please be aware that when both lanes are open, either lane will take motorists through the construction zone. They will remain on eastbound I-580. Due to narrower lanes and concrete barriers on both sides of the lane, drivers are slowing down in the construction site. Please allow at least an additional 20 minutes for the eastbound afternoon commute.

This is an active construction site and the 45 MPH speed zone will be enforced by the California Highway Patrol. Drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Please remember to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about the project, call the message line at (510) 286-5820 or visit the Caltrans webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/580scofieldave/