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Cop on the Block




There was a large turnout of 46 walkers and two K-9 best friends at the Exedra this Wednesday for our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays weekly walk, and we had a special guest to welcome. Captain Chris Monahan of the Piedmont Police Department, assisted by April Fitzgerald, was there.


Captain Monahan has been a police officer for over 33 years, 28 of them were with the San Jose Police Department, and he joined the Piedmont Police in 2017. He told us about his new PPD program, "Cop on the Block." This is a year long series of community outreach, non-enforcement events. Each week a randomly selected officer from the department will walk up and down a

Piedmont block for a minimum of half an hour. They will answer questions and talk with residents about anything they want. Just like Walking onWednesdays, the police plan on walking every one of Piedmont's 145 streets each year. People with questions, and those would like their street included, can call Captain Monahan.


Captain Monahan also told us about "National Night Out." This is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. This year it will be on Tuesday, August 1st, from about 5 to 7 PM. The goal of Piedmont's National Night Out is to join other communities nationwide in promoting public safety. The idea is to turn on porch lights, lock doors, and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. Some neighborhoods will host a block party, and others will have a simple get-together. Residents can register their events with Captain Monahan.


The first street selected for "Cop on the Block" was Olive Avenue between Oakland and Sunnyside Avenues on the far west side of the city. An officer walked it the previous Sunday. We hadn't been to Olive this year, so we took the PPD's street suggestion and made it the destination for our morning's walk. The next street is going to be Bonita Avenue between Oakland and Blair Avenues on Saturday, July 22nd, at 7 PM. After thanking Captain Monahan for all the information we took the attached group photo with him.


However, before we headed off to Olive, Joyce and Bill A invited us to take a short detour during the walk and see their garden. They live on Lake Avenue, which is about half a block from Olive. Their hydrangeas are in full bloom, and Joyce and Bill thought we would enjoy a quick view of them.


Off we went, down Magnolia Avenue, past the pool construction. Some walkers peeked through holes in the construction fence to check on the progress. We turned right on El Cerrito Avenue and started down Oakland Avenue. At San Carlos Avenue, a PPD officer was parked and checking traffic, and waved to us. Our long line came back together at Grand Avenue, and while we were regrouping to cross the street, another PPD officer drove by.


Going up Oakland we took notice of the tall, old yucca tree along the street. It's magnificent, but only seen by walkers. People driving in cars never do. We crossed over the Oakland Avenue Bridge and took a left on Sunnyside Avenue. Just down it is Olive, and going back up it creates a loop that took us back to Oakland. However, there was a surprise waiting for us at a home in the middle of the block. Tom C, a 50 year resident, was sitting inside his very unusual garage. It is decorated from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with antique signs promoting old time products and other memorabilia. One made reference to Tom's own wine that he has been making for 48 years for personal consumption.


After a nice conversation with Tom, we continued on, crossing Oakland and continuing up to Lake Avenue. At the top of the hill, Bill Ahern told us on the left was once the site of an early Piedmont mansion, and on the right was its stables. Homes and a unique, crescent shaped house are there now.


Just down Lake, past a free book library built into the side of a home's garage, was Bill and Joyce's 1909 home. Our long line of walkers made its way around the side of the house to the backyard, where we found colorful hydrangeas, 14 different varieties of fuchsias, a grove of four redwoods, and other garden beauty.


It took a while for us to make our way around and through the garden, and return to the street. It was time to make our return to the Exedra, which we did via Linda, Grand, Wildwood, and Magnolia Avenues. Along the way we were passed by another Piedmont Police car patrolling. It had been about a three and a half mile walk, and we felt well protected doing it.



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