top of page

Street Car Walks

The Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group had a run-in with the law on July 3rd, but was the good kind. Sergeant Nichole Bolden of the Piedmont Police Department wanted to let the walkers know about some of the police department's programs, notably the "Dog Walker Watch" program.

Bolden thought it made good sense for the Wednesday Walkers to become actively involved as extra eyes and ears for the police department.

She also encouraged them to participate in National Night Out the first Tuesday in August, when neighborhoods have block parties and get to meet one an- other and meet police officers on a. first name basis.

The day proved to be another strong turnout of walkers, with 28, plus five K-9 best friends. The group was pleased to welcome first time walkers Pamela and Joyce with her K-9 best friend Mocha. Additionally, Kim got her daughter, Rowan , and her friend, Lilly to walk. Rowan and Lilly are Piedmont Middle Schoolers and they brought their K-9 best friends Vanilla and Sherpa. The participation of Rowan and Lilly significantly lowered the average age of the walker. One day in advance of the 4th of July Parade, all the empty chairs were in place on Highland Avenue. The walkers realized that by walking up Highland they could beat all the other groups and claim the distinction of being the first group to walk the parade route.

Additionally, articles by the Piedmont Historical Society about the city's early streetcar lines had interested the group. The Piedmont Historical So- city, had reported that between 1903 and 1912 Francis Marion "Borax" Smith developed three streetcar lines in Piedmont that provided comfortable, inexpensive, and reliable transportation from Piedmont to other East Bay cities. These were the Key Routes and the Number 10 streetcar line was the longest line through Piedmont.

It ran from a station at 41st Street and Piedmont Avenue all the way to what is now Crocker Park at Hampton and Crocker Avenues in Piedmont. The streetcar left Piedmont Avenue, turned right onto a right-of-way between Grand Avenue and Brandon Street, turned onto another right- of-way on the east side of Arroyo Avenue, continued up Ramona and Park Way to Highland Avenue, went through the city, and ended at Crocker Avenue.

The walkers thought it would be fun and interesting to walk a portion of the Number 10 Route and see what had been built on the land the streetcars had used.

However, before the group got started walking down Highland Avenue Carol Long shared some relevant facts about Piedmont with the walkers.

Carol had learned that there are approximately 70 miles of sidewalks in Piedmont and 7,000 trees that line its streets. There are also about 3.5 miles of park pathways and 26 stairways that connect Piedmont neighborhoods.

When the walkers reached Highland and Park Way, a portion of Lombardi's article in the Post was read to explain why Highland Avenue is two lanes from Moraga Avenue to Park Way, but four lanes from Park Way to Highland Way.

The latter was the portion of Highland where both cars and the Number 10 line ran side-by- side. When the streetcars ceased to run, the land they used was available for cars, and also for 4th of July parade marchers later.

The walkers turned down Park Way and saw the homes that had been built on the land that was once part of the Number 10 route. A little further down Park Way the walkers found the 107-foot path and stepsthat go up to Ramona Avenue. They followed it on what was once the Number 10 route to Ronada Avenue. Ronada ends at Grand Avenue, where the Number 10 continued on to Piedmont Avenue. Tucked away at this intersection is the little-noticed Parkside Drive, a cul-de-sac. The opportunity to see this seldom-walked street was too much to resist, and the walkers marched down and back.

From there they went up Arroyo Avenue to another set of secret stairs that go up to Lorita Avenue. At the top of Lorita they could see land over a fence that had once been the streetcar route. They followed Lorita to Montecello Avenue, where they found a third set of secret stairs.

This time it was the 169-foot path that leads to Artuna Avenue and Lower Dracena Park. From Artuna, the walkers returned to the Exedra, their starting point, by way of El Cerrito, Blair, Carmel, Oakland, Hillside, Vista, Bonita, and Magnolia Avenues. On a 2-1/2-mile walk lasting an hour and a half, the group covered a lot of streets.

The walk was an enjoyable start to the 4th of Julv weekend.


bottom of page