Raised bumps installed to minimize sideshows

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Sideshow drivers will find themselves encountering some bumpy rides near Martinez, courtesy of Contra Costa County Public Works Department.

Employees have installed about 100 raised pavement markers at the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.

The raised markers are designed to combat illegal sideshows, said the department’s spokesperson, Steve Padilla.

Looking something like small domes with reflectors, the markers are about six inches wide and rise above the pavement a little less than two inches.

In announcing the markers, Padilla said, “This is a first of its kind project to combat illegal side shows in the Bay Area.”

Sideshows are usually illegal automobile exhibitions in which drivers spin their cars to create doughnut-shaped skid marks. Some drivers exit their moving vehicles and climb onto the hoods.

Practitioners have caused problems throughout the Bay Area. In September, Oakland Police towed upwards of about 100 cars and arrested two people after a large sideshow. Before that, three were arrested and 43 others were cited in Antioch during a sideshow that attracted about 200 people.

Martinez Police investigated a rollover accident last October at the Martinez Marina in which an Alhambra High School student was inured while a driver was spinning doughnuts in the car in which he was a passenger

The Alhambra Valley and Bear Creek roads area is where people ride horses, but it’s also where sideshows have forced the interruption of traffic. Padilla said in his announcement that the department is hoping the raised bumps will discourage sideshows in that area.

“While the new pavement markers will not inhibit everyday drivers, they should make it a less attractive and uncomfortable location for side show participants,” he said.

“Over time, Public Works will rely on local residents, CHP (California Highway Patrol) and the (Contra Costa County) Sheriff’s Department to see if they are having their intended effect, and if they notice a decrease in illegal side show activities at that intersection,” he said.

That’s not the only approach the department has taken, he said. Public Works also upgraded the shoulder lines, added new reflector markers and put up advanced warning signs of “Traffic Calming” to warn motorists they would be approaching the new raised pavement markers.

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