Oakland Removes Intersection’s Traffic Lights amid Copper Thefts Blamed on Homeless

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Residents and officials in Oakland are outraged after the city made the dangerous decision to remove traffic lights from an intersection and replace them with stop signs. The move comes amid rampant thefts of copper wiring that some attribute to a nearby homeless encampment.

According to local reports, the intersection of 36th Street and San Pablo Avenue has been plagued by multiple incidents of copper wire thefts over the past few months. This has resulted in frequent power outages and disrupted traffic flow in the area.

In response, city officials removed the traffic lights and installed stop signs as a temporary solution until new traffic signals can be installed. However, this decision has sparked widespread criticism and concern among residents.

One resident, Mary Johnson, expressed her frustration with the city’s actions. She stated, “I can’t believe they would put our safety at risk just to appease a group of homeless individuals. This is outrageous!”

Many others share Johnson’s sentiments, with some even going as far as accusing the city of prioritizing the needs of homeless individuals over public safety.

City officials have denied these claims and insist that their decision was based on practicality rather than political agendas. In a statement to Fox News, Oakland Department of Transportation spokesperson John Goodwin explained that replacing stolen copper wires is costly and time-consuming.

“We understand that this may cause inconvenience for drivers, but we had to make a difficult decision due to repeated thefts,” Goodwin said.

However, some critics argue that this move is part of a larger pattern where the city has been lenient towards homeless individuals at the expense of public safety. They point to the recent decision by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to allocate $32 million towards homeless services, despite a rise in crime and homelessness in the city.

Meanwhile, local business owners in the area have expressed their concerns about the removal of traffic lights. Many fear that it will negatively impact their businesses as customers may avoid the area due to increased traffic congestion and accidents.

One business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “We already struggle with thefts and vandalism from the nearby encampment. Now with this decision, we are losing even more business.”

The intersection where the traffic lights were removed is also a major bus route for public transportation. Bus drivers have reported difficulties navigating through the intersection without traffic signals, leading to delays and confusion for passengers.

In response to these concerns, Goodwin stated that city officials are closely monitoring the situation and will make necessary adjustments if needed.

This is not the first time Oakland has faced backlash over its handling of homeless encampments. In 2019, residents successfully sued the city for failing to address health and safety hazards caused by an encampment near Lake Merritt.

Despite repeated calls for action from residents and business owners, it seems that Oakland’s leadership continues to prioritize political correctness over practical solutions.

As one resident put it, “We need leaders who will put our safety first instead of coddling criminals and ignoring real issues facing our community.”

While city officials claim that they are working on a long-term solution for this intersection, many remain skeptical. For now, drivers and pedestrians must navigate through this dangerous intersection without any traffic lights – all because of misplaced priorities by those in charge.




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