As some of you have suspected, I don’t have much of a life and don’t have better ways to spend my time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so easily distracted Sunday afternoon on my way to Safeway to pick up groceries for dinner.
I was going east on Newell Avenue, and up ahead (!)I see one of these billboard trucks that I heard that the RAMPARTWC backers were going to hire to visually broadcast to Walnut Creek voters the message that they should vote “no” on Measure I November 3.
Measure I would allow Broadway Plaza to build a new 92,000-square-foot department store–a Neiman Marcus, we have been told–on the site of the former David M. Brian store.
RAMPARTWC opposes Measure I because they believe the design of the new department store violates the city’s General Plan and would bring unneeded traffic and parking congestion to downtown. RAMPART stands for “We Need Less Traffic and More Parking in downtown Walnut Creek.” RAMPART supporters also point out that there is no guarantee that Neiman Marcus, which is facing financial woes in the recession, would come to Walnut Creek.
Anyway, I see the truck and decide I’m going to follow it and see where it goes. It makes a left onto South Broadway, and continues north, past Safeway, where I was going to shop, and on through Mt. Diablo Boulevard. It continues past the new library under construction and Civic Park.
Then, at Civic, it makes a left. I’m now right behind the truck, and will stay behind it for the next 45 minutes.
We take a right on North California Boulevard, and go north, along to where California merges with North Main.
Now, we’re on North Main, and we stay on North Main for a while. I think the driver has figured out that I’m tailing him, especially when I signal left, just after he signals left, then I suddenly signal right, after he suddenly signals right, to turn onto Treat Boulevard.
Going east on Treat, the truck, even though it is not the most agile of vehicles, moves in and out of lanes. Maybe so the driver can see if he is being pursued by some Crazy woman in a busted up old Camry.
I wonder why we don’t make that right at Bancroft, but instead go up Treat, past De La Salle and Ygnacio Valley high schools. We’ve crossed into Concord, right? Then, he makes the right onto Oak Grove Road, and goes northeast. I follow until we hit Ygnacio Valley Road.
Right turn. We go all the way west on Ygnacio Valley Road, past Shadelands, Heather Farm, John Muir Medical Center, and back into downtown. The truck continues on Ygnacio Valley Road past the BART station, then makes a sudden left, just before the Interstate 680 overpass, onto Oakland Boulevard.
We continue onto Oakland Boulevard, then left onto Trinity Avenue, then back to North California, where we make a right. It’s at this point that I lose the truck temporarily. My car gets stuck at a stoplight as the truck makes its way south on California Boulevard.
At no point does the truck turn and move in to cruise closer to Broadway Plaza, the eye of the storm in this epic battle over allowing a new luxury retail department store to come to Walnut Creek’s retail heart. Rather, the truck driver seems determined to keep his vehicle skirting the outskirts of downtown and of Broadway Plaza.
I catch up with the truck again, after it has turned left onto Newell, and then left again on South Broadway, where, just shy of Vic Stewart’s, the truck pulls over to the side of the road. Th driver just hangs there for a bit, sitting in the cab of truck.
Maybe that’s it? He’s done for the afternoon? Or, he’s just taking a break. Or he’s calling into RAMPARTWC headquarters to report that he’s being followed–maybe, he thinks, by one of those “Yes on Measure I” folks.
I continue on my way to grocery shop, and I think that about about one the mhe messages plastered on the billboard and touted by No on I residents. They say they worry about a new Broadway Plaza development because they think, perhaps correctly, that a new department store will add more traffic and congestion to Walnut Creek’s streets and parking garage.
Yet, the No on I folks hire this truck to ride what are possibly multiple circuits around dowtown–adding to downtown’s congestion.