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April 23, 2008 > The widening of D Street

The widening of D Street

By Joe O. Ramos
Photos By Joe O. Ramos

Imagine that you have built a new business or made major improvements to your home and once settled in, a representative of the city tells you that they want a piece of your property. This is what happened to Alice Nguyen, owner and manager of Le Paradis Vietnamese Restaurant and La P‰tisserie French Bakery.

The City of Hayward, wants to use a portion of her property to widen "D" Street by about 10 - 15 feet. "The city will need to acquire about 8 - 10 feet, maybe 15 feet on 'D' Street's south side," said Roxie Carmichael-Hart, Acting Transportation Development Manager of the City of Hayward.

"My mom has built up her business. Many of her customers come from many different communities to Hayward to taste my mother's French Pastries," said Natalie Nguyen, a sophomore at San Francisco City College and daughter of Alice Nguyen. "But [I] know my mother's business will be negatively affected."

The City of Hayward has been working on this project for the last year. Widening "D" Street is part of a plan locals call the "Mini Loop" project which will make "A" Street a one-way street. "The City of Hayward will begin the widening of 'D' Street within the next two years," said Carmichael-Hart. "How much space, whether 10-15 feet, is needed depends on the design," she added.

Though the widening may be good for the City of Hayward as they receive state or federal funds for the Route 238 Coordinate Improvement Project, it is not necessarily good news for homeowners or businesses in its path. "I am scared that it [the widening of D Street] will drive my mother's business down the drain," said Nguyen. "Mom has an outside patio where additional guests are able to eat their food or pastries in the summer. The city wants to take 10-15 feet of her property."

As plans progress for street widening, city officials expect the effect will be to bring more businesses and customers to downtown Hayward. In the long term, they may be right, but in the meantime, local proprietors and property owners are facing significant and possibly detrimental impacts. "The decision has already been made to widen 'D' Street in the next two years," said Carmichael-Hart.

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