POINTING THE WAY: What's in a road sign? Potential customers, if you have a business in downtown Oakley, says Brenda D'Amico, who runs a Main Street diner with her husband and is bothered about the disappearance of a sign along eastbound Highway 4.

Once located just before the state route splits off toward Highway 160 and Oakley's Main Street, the sign was removed by Caltrans during its realignment of Highway 4.

"We have nothing that tells any drivers where downtown Oakley is," said D'Amico, who worries that State Route 4, formerly known as the Highway 4 bypass, might be living up to its old name in more ways than one as motorists unfamiliar with the area whiz by the turnoff.

Taking the second eastbound exit to Laurel Road is a less obvious way of reaching downtown, D'Amico said, noting that people must pass blocks upon blocks of residential neighborhoods before reaching Oakley's commercial district.

But not for much longer.

Oakley's City Council last week agreed to ask Caltrans to replace the signs it removed.

The agency will order a replacement ground-mounted sign with the words "Downtown Oakley, Use 160" at a cost of about $2,000, said Caltrans Office of Traffic's Roland Au-Yeung, who's in charge of the area's road signs.

Although he said there haven't been any studies on how much ¿difference directional signs like this make, Au-Yeung says it can't hurt.


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"Let's put it this way -- I don't see any negative," he said.

PLANNING AHEAD: The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors set aside nearly 20 minutes at the outset of Tuesday's meeting to alert everyone in attendance about the importance of thinking and planning ahead. It was part of a presentation in which September was officially declared "Emergency Preparedness Month."

Because the Eye is a big fan of irony, we couldn't help notice that the supervisors didn't get around to this task until Sept. 25.

Don't FEED THE CATS: There's never a shortage of topics at Antioch City Council meetings, but one item brought up last week was the cat's meow.

Resident Chris Valenta told city leaders during Tuesday night's meeting that Antioch has a problem with feral cats. Some are encouraging the felines by going around town at night leaving cardboard boxes of cat food.

The Eye, admittedly, didn't think much of the claim until leaving City Hall on Tuesday night when he spotted a box full of cat food that had been left out.

VOTE FOR MEASURE Q: The "Yes on Measure Q" campaign might have a new poster child: "Hair Dye Lady."

Concord resident Roylen Stack spoke from personal experience at Tuesday's council meeting when she explained why she supports the Contra Costa Fire District parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

On Super Bowl Sunday in February, Stack fell down her stairs, broke her ankle and called 911.

"I sent all the bones to the right, all the tendons to the left, and the guys from Company 6 were really great. I had hair dye in my hair, they helped me deal with that. They forever now know me as 'hair dye lady.'"

STAYING DRY: BART, known as a high-tech transit system, sometimes resorts to a low-tech solution for rain leaks into the Pleasant Hill station: buckets.

Rain sometimes leaks through elevated passenger platforms and tracks at the station and forms puddles near the faregates where passengers line up to get in and out of the station.

To capture the water, BART sometimes sticks out buckets.

Over the next few weekends, BART crews plan to apply a waterproofing material to the structures to stop the leaks. Sounds like a plan to keep riders' feet dry and prevent them from kicking the bucket.

Staff writers Rowena Coetsee, Tom Barnidge, Paul Burgarino, David DeBolt and Denis Cuff contributed to this column.