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Oakland to get CHP help - What about us?

We have posted on several occasions about the lack of traffic enforcement in our unincorporated nowhere-land. The County Sheriff does not enforce traffic laws here. Why? Because under state law, enforcement of the motor vehicle code is assigned to the CHP for all of the state's unincorporated territory. Cities are a different story, as they have traffic law enforcement authority.

In our community, the CHP does not clamp down on "minor" offenses like the excessive speeds drivers use on our local streets, the routine stop-sign-running in our neighborhoods, or the ongoing use of center left-turn lanes ("suicide lanes") as parking places for delivery trucks. Keep in mind that exceeding posted speed limits, failing to stop at stop signs and parking in a center left-turn lane are all violations of the CA Motor Vehicle Code. Yet, because the CHP doesn't have enough resources - money or staff - to systematically patrol our streets and issue citations to local violators, mostly all they can do for us is show up at bi-monthly Sheriff meetings and urge people to send them email or call their non-emergency number. Further, like our Sheriff's Deputies, CHP Officers are often called away to deal with more urgent matters in other places. Like, for example, when the Governor recently announced he would provide the City of Oakland with 120 CHP Officers to take a bite out of crime there.

Urban street with cars, a car hauler truck, and a "CAR EXPO" sign.
Bad planning in action: car haulers routinely violate the CA MVC by blocking center left-turn lanes. You can't park there, but they can.

Meanwhile, back at the's a photo of not one, but two, car transport trucks blocking the suicide lane on Fulton while they unload used cars for car dealers there. This is an problem that stems from lazy land use planning by the County, which OKed car dealerships on smallish lots without considering how the dealerships would replenish their product inventories. As a result, drivers who need to make left turns into adjacent businesses' driveways or intersecting local streets are placed at risk. CHP Officers aren't there for us because they have other law enforcement issues to deal with, whether supporting the protection of Constitutional Officers, responding to freeway incidents, or being temporarily assigned to places like Oakland. They have too many duties and are spread to thinly to provide our community with any functional traffic law enforcement.

You would think the state, which is complaining about being broke these days, would be open to letting new cities be formed, such that the CHP's workload of local traffic law enforcement could be reduced along with budget stress. Ah, but you would be wrong. Doing so would require innovative thinking and initiative on the part of our Legislature. Yeah. Good luck with that. In conclusion: Law enforcement circumstances mean public safety can be seriously compromised in unincorporated communities. We must learn to be comfortable with that, it seems.

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