Hayward residents say city ruined iconic landmark for seismic scientists

HAYWARD, Calif. -- Normally, a sidewalk repair job would be seen as something beneficial to a neighborhood, but people in one Hayward neighborhood say the city has ruined what was once an iconic landmark for earthquake scientists.

A curb in Hayward used to stick out about eight inches. The street runs along the Hayward fault. The curb was well known by scientists who took trips there to study it and the movement on the fault. It's now been replaced by a new sidewalk and a lot of people are asking why.

The city repaired the crooked curb, but some say they ruined it. It showed the dramatic movement of the Hayward fault, a section of it runs under the street.

"It was a landmark and people would come here and measure I guess, how much the plate is moving," said neighbor Angel Chavez.

"And it was cool," said neighbor Jennifer Kenyon.

The city tore it out and upgraded the intersection to make it wheelchair accessible.

Science writer Andrew Alden took pictures during his many visits. He called the curb an icon for geologists, a textbook example of an earthquake creep.

Kenyon said buses of college students would take field trips here. She said she was surprised the city would remove such an important educational tool.

"Yes, you have to fix the streets and yes, potholes. But that was there to measure the fault line. The city should have known that," Kenyon said.

Assistant city manager Kelly McAdoo says they didn't know.

"Unfortunately, we weren't aware of this site prior to doing the work," McAdoo said. "There's a lot of sites within the city people are monitoring either informally, or formally. Seismic activity, we have the Hayward fault running through the entire community."

It's too late now to do anything about it, but she encourages people to let them know of any other such landmarks, so they can keep record of it and take that into consideration for future road projects.
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