Enthusiasm curbed for Hayward landmark


Photo Courtesy of US News/Sci-Earthquake-Curb/LA

Louis LaVenture,

For decades, geologists, teachers and residents had flocked to the corner of Rose and Prospect Streets in North Hayward just east of Mission Boulevard near the La Piñata restaurant to study and observe how much a sidewalk curb had been offset because of seismic activity.

Ramon Zavala worked at Pacific Stereo and lived on Hotel Street just a few blocks away from the site for several years.

“It was cool because you go back every few months or so and you could see the curb move,” Zavala said. “It’s proof earth is alive and moving. It was just cool to show people how much, my daughter used to love measuring it.”

The infamous landmark is now gone. Kelly McAdoo, Hayward assistant city manager, confirmed that last week, the city of Hayward repaired and remodeled the curb in order to install a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The city spends anywhere from $450,000 to $510,000 annually to install wheelchair-accessible ramps all over Hayward, according to the city’s spending budget.

US Geological Survey Public Affairs Official Leslie Gordon said that the area around the curb is on the Hayward fault and had moved roughly four millimeters per year.

“Go back in a year, or two or three, the curb will offset again,” Gordon said, adding that the USGS has “instruments that are very precise where we get our real data and research from. This curb is more of a novelty.”

Gordon said the altered curb was originally discovered on a field trip by a local geology teacher. “I don’t think that we will do protection on sites like these going forward,” Gordon said. “These are educational not official.”

Luther Strayer, a Cal State East Bay associate professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences has a long history with the curb. Over the years, he took pictures of it and created three-dimensional models.

“I’ve been taking classes on field trips there for years,” Strayer said. “Places like these are what generate the public interest.”

City of Hayward officials confirmed that they were unaware of the significance of the curb and if they were aware, they might have made efforts to preserve the area. McAdoo said going forward, the city will take other sites like these into consideration before implementing changes.