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Black Bear Diner Owner Fights for Road Signs

Kudos go out to Brenda D’Amico, of Black Bear Diner, for speaking out on behalf of Oakley and it’s downtown business’s by requesting a road sign be placed alongside Highway 4/160 to lead drivers to downtown Oakley.

What I love about this is you have a restaurant who not only provides a fabulous meal and service, but you have an owner who is passionate about Oakley and its well being. Having heard her speak on Tuesday, you could feel the passion in her voice as she wants to make sure traffic continues downtown. I thought it would be important to share that she is out there speaking up on your behalf. I salute you Ms. D’Amico!

Here is a portion of the article that relates to Oakley from the article in the Contra Costa Times this morning.

POINTING THE WAY: What’s in a road sign? Potential customers, if you have a business in downtown Oakley, says Brenda D’Amico, who runs a Main Street diner with her husband and is bothered about the disappearance of a sign along eastbound Highway 4.

Once located just before the state route splits off toward Highway 160 and Oakley’s Main Street, the sign was removed by Caltrans during its realignment of Highway 4.

“We have nothing that tells any drivers where downtown Oakley is,” said D’Amico, who worries that State Route 4, formerly known as the Highway 4 bypass, might be living up to its old name in more ways than one as motorists unfamiliar with the area whiz by the turnoff.

Taking the second eastbound exit to Laurel Road is a less obvious way of reaching downtown, D’Amico said, noting that people must pass blocks upon blocks of residential neighborhoods before reaching Oakley’s commercial district.

But not for much longer.

Oakley’s City Council last week agreed to ask Caltrans to replace the signs it removed.

The agency will order a replacement ground-mounted sign with the words “Downtown Oakley, Use 160” at a cost of about $2,000, said Caltrans Office of Traffic’s Roland Au-Yeung, who’s in charge of the area’s road signs.

Although he said there haven’t been any studies on how much difference directional signs like this make, Au-Yeung says it can’t hurt.

“Let’s put it this way — I don’t see any negative,” he said.

Full article

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13 Responses »

  1. I have but one question. What happened to the original sign and why are the tax payers on the hook for $2000 to replace the one Cal Trans removed (i assumed they disposed of as well) I feel for downtown businesses and any thing has to help.

  2. Where is the Chamber of Commerce in fighting for it’s members? Burk is right, this is the “Chamber of No Commerce” when business is stuck fighting for itself.

  3. FANTASTIC. . . .but I do question where the Chamber was in this issue. . . also something that really burns me . . . is the amount of vehicles that go into the right hand turn lane just past Black Bear only to cut off drivers in the left lane that are driving straight thru? A zillion tickets could be written right there. And this is not because of the construction. This has been a continual issue. Just saying~~~

  4. agreed Cha-Cha-Cha that angers me as well. It happens right in front of police exiting the police station and they do nothing (pre-construction of course). You can’t write tickets any cheaper than right in front of the police station and city hall!

  5. This is great that Brenda is getting credit for speaking up during a council meeting. I agree with the comments about the Chamber, they should be taking a more active role in city policy to ensure business is being looked after. Burk should go run that joint! Where is Doug Scheer speaking up for business or is he too busy using the Chamber as a way to promote his own business at the expense of others?

  6. It’s evident from the comments and assumptions here that none of those commenting are business owners that are also members of the chamber.

    If they were, and have functional e-mail, they would have gotten e-mail about the whole signage issue long ago. In fact, on Monday, August 20, 2012. The e-mail from the chamber came with a sample letter to Mr. Sartipi at Caltrans (District 4) to bring attention to the signage issue and a firm request that they consider reinstalling the sign saying “Downtown Oakley, use 160”. The signage issue had also been discussed several times with the breakfasts with the mayor over the past months.

    If the attempt to convince Caltrans fell short I would say that all of us as businesses either didn’t make an impression with Caltrans or perhaps many were too “busy” to take a few minutes to put in a tiny effort. At any rate, the awareness of the signage issue has been very clear to everyone for a while.

    • Thanks for the information Stefan. My only question is if the Chamber was so pro-signs as you state, where was the Chamber during the council meeting to speak out in public about this issue? Care to share those emails from the Chamber to CALTRANS?

      Breakfast with the Mayor is a joke? I’ve seen Burkes pictures, there is like 6 people at those things. Kevin Romick is not a mayor who has proven to get things done and the people will speak out against him in November. He is only around to get his picture on Burkes blog and the Brentwood Press.

      • Of course I don’t have the e-mails that the chamber sent to Caltrans. The only way I’d have possession of those is if I had access to the chamber’s e-mail server. Which, as you perhaps might guess, I haven’t. 🙂

        Perhaps Burke’s pictures need better angles or are from a period when it was first being held? We hosted it last month and had 14 people attend, including a few new chamber members. (Details here: http://salliegoetsch.com/2012/09/10/hosting-breakfast-with-the-mayor/). Of course, by saying that you probably would say that Kevin Romick only attended to gets his picture on my site which almost certainly gets more traffic than this one and The Press combined. LOL!

        I don’t really see a point of having the chamber be in a counsil meeting over the signage when it was already a hot topic for a long time and as far as I can tell, everyone was aware of it and agreed that something needed doing. Re-hasing that in a meeting, as I see it, is just wasting more time stating what’s already been discussed at nauseum. Getting businesses to bombard (which, given the # of businesses here might be a difficult thing during the best of times) Caltrans about the signage and why that didn’t bear any fruits is a far more interesting question to ask.

      • You are a funny man Stefan. I checked out your picture. 14 people and you have a picture with the mayor next to two empty seats. No fan of Burkes, but your angles need work as well 🙂 I will stick by my comment about the Mayor wanting his picture taken.

        I would have to disagree with you. The more who speak up the better. Remaining silent is how things do not get moving forward.

  7. The picture was taken by Sallie, I believe, before everyone had arrived. Unless you would like to claim nobody wants to sit next to Kevin. 🙂 When I get all my professional camera gear back in the next two months I’ll take some real pictures at the next event. 🙂

    And who, as you I assume are implying, had remained silent about the signage issue? How many businesses actually did contact Caltrans about this? How many show up at places to make themselves heard and if they aren’t showing up, who’s fault would that be?

  8. Mike,
    Was wondering. Since you started your Public Relations Firm earlier this year. Did you get your business license to operate a business from the city? Have you joined the Chamber of Commerce as a local business.

  9. Thank you Brenda for your efforts to get signage pointing to downtown Oakley. I see many negative comments regarding the Chamber’s efforts toward this goal. But what I see as more important, is what did the City Council do to protect Oakley businesses when the Hwy 4 Bypass was opened? Why didn’t the City fight for correct signage for it’s local businesses when we brought the matter to the City Council (complete with photos of the overhead and highway signage) almost four years ago? Jim Frazier lists his position as Chairman, State Rt. 4 Bypass Authority and Vice Chair, TRANSPLAN on his web site. And it was Jim, who almost 4 years ago told the City Council he would look into this matter. So, I will tell you why Brenda had to write her own letter to the Bypass Authority – it’s because the City Manager and City Council refused to do it. And I can also tell you that not two months ago, we were told by city staff to write our own letter to Caltrans because the City did not want them to feel “strong armed”. While a small sign on Hwy 4 telling drivers to take the 160/Main St. exit for Oakley is a step in the right direction, what we have always said is that until the Laurel Rd corridor is developed and properly signed, the overhead signage at the Highway 4 Bypass split, should point drivers toward the Main St exit. This is a no-brainer to each and every business on Main St. in Oakley.
    All the City Council did to help in this matter was to put up small signs along Laurel and Empire pointing to downtown, and even that took almost two years. You have no idea how difficult it is to get the current city manager or city council to work with the businesses in Oakley who have supported this community. Instead, they refer to us in public as “difficult to deal with”. So, if you want to know why businesses don’t flock to Oakley, just ask the business owners.

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