Oakland to ban street parking on Heather Ridge Way

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Like many streets in the Oakland hills, Heather Ridge Way can be a tight squeeze for a car, much less a fire engine.

That's why last month the City of Oakland sent notices to residents that soon, there will be no street parking allowed on either side of Heather Ridge.

"The community of Heather Ridge approached the City of Oakland several months ago," explained Deputy Oakland Fire Chief Nick Luby. "We drove fire engines down the street, we took measurements on the street and we agreed with the requests that parking on the street was creating issues with emergency access."

According to Luby, a typical fire engine needs 14 feet, plus another 6 feet if a car is parked on the street.

A recent city survey of Heather Ridge found at some spots, it's barely 14 feet wide and less than 20 feet in most places.

Still, some residents say banning street parking entirely is overkill.

"Well I think it's a bad idea," said Heather Ridge resident Frank Proner. "I think there's areas where I think a fire truck can make it through so I think it's going nuclear, a nuclear option when I think there's probably a middle ground."

"There are people, several houses here, that have no parking at all," said resident Daniel Matthews. "That's just the way the street was developed. They have no parking, so if you say 'no one can park in the street,' then I don't know what they're doing.'"

But others cite the disastrous Oakland hills fire of 1991 where fire equipment had a hard time getting in and more recent infernos in places like Paradise, where people had a hard time getting out, in some cases abandoning their cars to run for their lives.

"Clearly the Paradise Fire has made it very clear that we need to have the ability to get out from where we are," said longtime Heather Ridge resident Catherine Haley, who supports the ban on-street parking.
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