Berkeley Trashcan Battle, Round 2


Though I’m spending the week in Seattle, an informant alerts me that the simmering hyperlocal brouhaha over trash receptacles on the sidewalk in the 1500 block of McGee Avenue (just north of Cedar) appears to have entered a new phase. The disgruntled and anonymous resident who recently offered a neighborly chiding to those who had failed to remove their garbage cans from the sidewalk after trash pickup — see “Berkeley: Your Absolutely Free Advice of the Week” — has upped the ante. He or she has now duct-taping an official-looking notice informing them that they’re in violation of city ordinances.

On the off-chance that the person who’s posting these notices reads this (it’s a long shot): I’d love to talk to you about the history of your grievance. Send me an email or leave me a comment.

Berkeley: Sidewalk History Underfoot

A ubiquitous feature of pedestrian life here: contractor stamps in the local sidewalks, saying who built the walk and, sometimes, when they did it. I assume the practice is much wider-spread than here in the Bay Area. When we were in Portland the week before last, I noticed a stamp on SE Ankeny Street, at SE 27th Avenue, that recorded a contractor’s name (Ryan) and year (1915).

What I like about the stamps: They give some sense of the history of the place. Walking around my neighborhood, you get a real sense of how development proceeded block by block. two blocks south and three blocks east, there are sidewalks dated 1910 or a little earlier. On the blocks immediately surrounding, the walks didn’t go in until the late 1910s or early ’20s.

I’m also impressed by some of the work I see. There’s a patchwork of replaced sidewalk here in Berkeley to replace walks damaged by tree roots or age. But a lot of the vintage walks have last nearly a century or more and look like they’re good for another 100 years. (I’m guessing that the climate here helps: There’s no hard freeze in the winter.)

Anyway, here’s a slideshow–a small collection of local sidewalk stamps and a handful of other notable sidewalk finds: