Vote Earth Tones at Lafayette Reservoir!

The public is chalking in ballots for colors (or absence of color) for the stamped-brick walkway over the dam.

Egypt got its democracy. Tunisia got its democracy. And now the Lafayette Reservoir is busting out some chalk democracy.

The paved walkway over the dam at the reservoir is traversed by hundreds and thousands of walkers a day. For some weeks now, it has had seven carefully painted rectangles with earth-tone colors under consideration for painting the stamped-brick area in the next few weeks.

On Friday morning, a friend of Diane Haist of Orinda named Nancy put out some chalk. And the public began casting their votes.

Eight different ways. People chalked in their votes underneath seven colored rectangles, and they even chalked in an empty rectangle for "no color or clear seal."

Here is the count as of 2:10 p.m. Friday. Patch consulted with a couple of women walkers from Oakland in naming the colors:

  • Earth brown — 39.
  • Taupe — 27.
  • No color — 21.
  • Beige — 7.
  • Brick red — 7.
  • Ivory— 6.
  • Pale terra cotta — 2.
  • Cream — 0.

Haist wrote in an email:  "Many of us 'walkers' have wondered and been concerned about what color EBMUD would choose. Today, I met a lady named Nancy who went out and bought a box of chalk so people could vote to let EBMUD know our feelings.  This just started this morning. She informed the rangers what she was doing and now it is up to people to vote. As you can tell this is very informal but hopefully helpful for deciding what I feel is a lasting decision.

"I personally want the path to stay natural with NO color. Adding color will only need re-doing in future years. All the people I have talked to agree they would like to see it natural.  Perhaps they can take the money they save and add more fish to the reservoir."

Scott Hill, East Bay Municipal Utility District manager of watershed and recreation, said Friday, "I don't know if the architect has made a decision yet. The samples were put down primarily for the project staff … maybe the architects will take this into consideration." Hill said he would check on the chalk votes this weekend.

Gigi February 02, 2013 at 05:31 PM
I agree with ClaireX and Eileen. Oakwood did a similar treatment at their entry and it started chipping right away. The maintenance or lack of funds for maintenance, a more likely scenario, will be disastrous and disruptive for everyone.
White Rabbit February 02, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I have to agree with many of the other voters, I would pick the earth brown. How often would it have to be repainted?
Claire February 02, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I did find out on my walk today that apparently there will be benches put on the painted and stamped strip of the walkway, which will mean there won't be quite as much constant foot traffic on the painted area. The dark brick color seems to be leading in early voting returns.
Gail February 03, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Did anyone ever consider a dark pine green color? Not quite walking on grass but carrying on the beauty of color that surrounds you. Would not show footprints as much, and I fear I am much to late but I still worry if you paint, no matter the color the upkeep may be more $ than you bargained for. And perhaps even sooner than later.
Justine Parmelee February 04, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I think the obvious choice is yellow brick.


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