It’s Time to Make the Ivy Turn Legal

Margaret Ross, News Editor

In 2000, the Orinda City Council banned left turns on Ivy Drive between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on school days. In 2011, the Council banned turning left onto Southwaite Court and U-turns in front of Southwaite Court on school days between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., after residents complained about drivers using Southwaite Court as a way to get around the prohibition on turning left on Ivy.

During the meetings at which these decisions were made, no representatives of Miramonte were present to offer commentary.

According to members of the Council, speeding was a major problem on Ivy prior to the no-left law. Naturally, prohibiting any driving on that street was the obvious solution to a speeding problem.

Keeping in mind this implementation of laws that directly targets Miramonte students, take into consideration some characteristics of Orinda. While a strong correlation is not guaranteed between quality of public education and nearby property values, Orinda’s pricey housing and well-regarded school system seems to fit the bill. Among United States towns with homes priced $800,000 and up, Orinda ranks 7th in education quality according to Forbes. Despite the pricey properties, families continue to make the decision to raise their children in Orinda, often for the sake of the fantastic schools.

When a neighborhood of Orinda families files complaints about the Miramonte students that use their street as a route to school, it sounds like a “not in my backyard” situation. They move to Orinda because the hard work of Miramonte students has created an impressive reputation for the town, but as soon as the same students need a shortcut to get to class on time, the students become the enemies.

Not only is the law insulting to the dedicated students who benefit the town every day, it is unreasonable. If the problem was, as the Council members said, dangerous driving on Ivy Drive, perhaps the Orinda Police Department could simply enforce the speed limit that already existed. Would it really be that much different for the entirety of the OPD to wait at intersections and monitor the stop signs than to spend their mornings just past the left turn? It is impractical to implement a new law every time the police do a poor job of enforcing the current law.

It is clear that students will find ways around the extraneous law, as they did with Southwaite Court until 2011, and continue to do with Altamount Drive and other residential side streets. Even if the Council makes it illegal for students to get to school any way other than Moraga Way, they have done nothing to address the problem of dangerous driving; they have only pushed the problem into another neighborhood.

If Miramonte is any part of the reason you moved your family to Orinda, then allow Miramonte students to drive on the public roads in front of your home. We won’t run over your children or crash into your house. All we want is to get to school so we can continue working to keep your property values high. You’re welcome.