It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and Montclair is a madhouse. Our sleepy Village is teeming with shoppers, walkers and traffic.

A bicycle cop stands at the corner of Mountain and La Salle -- watching the intersection.

"It's crazy how people drive on a Friday afternoon," he says, shaking his head. "It's dangerous, and pedestrians are getting injured."

Now, we don't have the market cornered on rude and impatient drivers, but we do have the sense to know better. When a driver makes a sweeping U-turn in an intersection, it's a traffic hazard. When a vehicle double-parks on a short, congested street, it creates confusion and encourages risk.

Here's the bottom line: We all need more patience, (me included) and more awareness of how our driving may impact others. And if these words aren't a motivator, than here's something else to consider: Oakland police are watching. Citations to follow.

Email bag: If Oakland is the new Brooklyn, then reader Allan Feinstein says we might want to consider merging with San Francisco.

"As we all know, about 100 years ago Brooklyn was an independent city, but along with other independent cities, and Manhattan, they joined to form New York City."

He says it may sound radical, but Oakland is already becoming a bedroom community for San Francisco, "having lost most industry, but now providing residences for San Francisco workers."

On another topic ... fundraising continues for a mural on the old railroad trestle on Mountain Boulevard. And while we're at it, readers Chris and Lisa Bunn ask, "Why not also replace the trestle itself? It would be so great to have a walking bridge between the trail and the park."

They say the dogs, kids and moms would love avoiding the traffic of Mountain Boulevard.

Around town: The art world descends on Montclair Village on July 27-29 with the 39th annual Montclair Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival. More than 80 artists from the western United States will be showing everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and ceramics. Couple that with beer and wine tastings and live music, and you've got a great community celebration.

Walking billboard: Speaking of art, you can now "rep" the Village by buying a Montclair T-shirt. The new cotton tees feature the same Village scene that artist Michael Wertz designed for the Montclair street banners and the mural on the south side of Rite Aid -- and are available at Montclair Sports. Best yet, the proceeds go to more Montclair art.

Animal tales: Milkshake the cow is the new darling of YouTube. Google it, and you'll see a video of a cow loping along with a woman and her dog. That's my cousin's cow, and she seems to have a knack for attracting odd animals. Her last acquisition was billed as the world's smallest dog, a dachshund mix that fit into a spoon.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.

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