That Undesired Traffic Light

Yesterday, Oakland City Council members green-lighted a Public Works department request to study La Salle / Mountain traffic.  Public Works can now apply for $100k in grants, which helps them assess the installation of a traffic light – one that’s undesired by locals.
Apparently the Public Works momentum won’t be derailed.  They noticed a few accidents and decided a traffic light was a priority to improve public safety.  Back in March, they held a hearing which covered the Montclair intersection.  Although support wasn’t clear, they moved forward through a City Council subcommittee yesterday.
Based on my chats around town, there seem to be many Montclarions opposed to the light and virtually none who think it’s a good idea.  Some villagers even showed up to protest Public Works’ efforts yesterday, including Derek Liecty, Jim Dexter and Claudia Falconer.
City Council members also agreed the traffic light isn’t necessary and yet authorized grant applications anyway.  According to Claudia Falconer, “Of the three Council members present, two stated outright that it seemed wasteful to place a signal in a neighborhood where most people didn’t want it, and the third suggested other intersections that might need it more.”
In the Montclarion (paid access), Michael Gourhan had framed the Montclair problem differently:  “So how do you reduce the number of people relying on Montclair as a stop on the way home?”  He suggested reductions by placing key services on Thornhill or outside downtown.
Meanwhile, there are efforts underway to beautify the Village and make it more walkable.  The Montclair Village Association (MVA) has arranged for a landscape architect to draft and develop changes now.  After getting inputs from citizens, MVA doesn’t recommend any radical changes but does support more amenities in the next year.
Thus, installing a traffic light should not be considered on an independent or isolated track.  Everyone’s intentions are good, but forging ahead doesn’t make good sense.