Published November 14th, 2018
Hillcrest Drive residents get traffic to slow down, at least temporarily
By Sora O'Doherty
Orinda residents on Hillcrest Drive hold signs to encourage drivers to slow down. Photo Sora O'Doherty
Neighbors lined both sides of Hillcrest Drive on a bright autumn morning, holding up signs urging drivers to slow down. The cars did move through slowly, as drivers read the signs and were careful to avoid the parents and children standing by the side of the road on Nov. 5. But in the following days, some drivers returned to their bad habits of speeding, Hillcrest residents report.
Hillcrest Drive runs into Glorietta Elementary School. "The street becomes a conduit for school traffic each day school is in session," said Hillcrest resident Heather Swedeen, although parents are supposed to turn onto Martha Road from Glorietta Boulevard for carpool drop off and pick up. The problem of parents exceeding the speed limit when rushing to drop off and pick up children is exacerbated, Sweeden says, by a blind curve halfway between Overhill and Martha roads. With dozens of students and families walking on Hillcrest to get to school or simply crossing the street to get their mail, the neighbors believe it is a recipe for disaster. Which is why a group of them have filed an application with the city of Orinda for traffic calming measures. The residents are requesting "no right turn during school hours" signs from both Martha and Overhill roads onto Hillcrest, with the exception of Hillcrest Drive residents. They would also like to see speed cushions, a school crosswalk at the intersection of Martha and Hillcrest, a speed limit of 15 mph as well as parking restrictions.
"This school year seems to be worse than others as we've seen several near-accidents of cars barely missing kids walking and riding their bikes to school," Sweeden said. "One Monday, we clocked more than 100 cars passing through Hillcrest Drive between 7:45 and 8:05 a.m., many (if not most), going well in excess of the speed limit," she added.
Residents plan to put postcards on cars that are illegally parked and to work with the Orinda police department to ticket those drivers who are breaking the law.

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