Tsunami wall suggestedBy John Horgan
The ever-vigilant Alice Barnes, who has sounded the alarm about deaths along the Caltrain corridor in her hometown of San Bruno for many years, is getting used to the prospect of a massive grade separation over three key intersections in that North County burg.
Once finished, the planned structure will allow vehicular and pedestrian traffic to use San Mateo, San Bruno and Angus avenues without a danger of being struck by a train. Barnes, as you can imagine, is in favor of the proposal.
But there is one aspect of the plan that does give her some pause. That would be what amounts to a huge 20-foot wall that will divide the east and west portions of the town for several key blocks.
But Barnes, always creative, has come up with a possible way to ease the inherent visual blight that would be involved.
She has recommended that the walls of the grade separation be painted to give the appearance of being a tsunami, a reminder of what could occur, perhaps in nearby San Francisco Bay. Hmmm. Sounds like a winner in this corner.
Though it might not win any awards for artistic merit, anything's better than grafitti.
CLARIFICATIONS -- On the subject of a tsunami, a careful reader has pointed out that an item in this space last week used the term "tidal wave" as though it meant the same thing as a tsunami. Not so.
A tidal wave, by definition, is generated by tidal action. A tsunami is created by an undersea earthquake. Point taken.
In this same linguistic vein, Iona Luke of San Mateo has written to correct another mistake here. That one involved crows. She said to use "rooks" or "jackdaws" as synonyms for American crows is inaccurate.
As she put it most politely, "I don't think you would hear the rook and jackdaw referred to as crows, only by those names, in England nor our crows as rooks or jackdaws."
In other words, England has its rooks and jackdaws. We've got crows. So there. And, Iona, thanks for sharing.
RELATIVES -- This tale that came across our desk has nothing to do with crows or jackdaws but it does have a certain flavor of rural fauna about it:
A couple drove down a country road for several miles. They didn't say a word to one another. An earlier chat led to an argument, and neither wanted to concede.
As they passed a barnyard replete with mules, jackasses and pigs, the husband piped up sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?"
The wife casually responded, "Yep. In-laws." Ouch.
THEY'RE BACK -- Don't look now but day laborers are filtering back onto San Mateo streets in and around the downtown area, mainly east of the Caltrain rail line.
A relatively new city-sponsored center for them, located on Fifth Avenue adjacent to the Caltrain tracks, was supposed to take care of the problem.
However, with increasing frequency, workers seeking jobs seem to be avoiding that facility. But it's still a reasonable solution.
Maybe some enforcement would be helpful.
Copyright ©2005 San Mateo County Times. Published 01/14/2005.