Hayward will be adding piano keyboard crosswalks throughout the downtown traffic loop under construction.

This summer, the crosswalks at Foothill Boulevard and Hazel/City Center Drive were painted to resemble giant keyboards.

"We wanted to do something different and fun in the downtown area," said Kevin Briggs, city project manager for the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project.

City Council members said last week they liked the idea of adding keyboard crosswalks at intersections along the corridor project traffic loop, which will include Foothill, A Street and Mission Boulevard, Briggs said.

"We like the uniqueness and innovation of the crosswalks," Councilman Francisco Zermeno said.

Briggs said that when city staff members were beginning to design the Route 238 project, they looked at various crosswalk configurations in use and came across the piano keyboards.

"We thought they were a little more interesting and something that would go over with the public," he said.

Staff members have posted a survey on the city's website asking if people liked the keyboard crosswalk.

"So far, we've only gotten positive comments," Briggs said.

Oakland voters feel pessimistic, less safe

Twice as many likely voters think Oakland is going in the wrong direction and four times as many residents feel less safe, according to a poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce.

The poll, released this week, found that voters' top priorities were fixing streets and adding police officers, although there isn't enough support to pass an additional parcel tax to pay for more officers. Oakland property owners already pay special taxes to pay for community service officers and help fund pensions for retired public safety employees.

The Chamber has been asking voters about the city's direction for over a decade and found the electorate in one of its most gloomy moods.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said Oakland was on the wrong track, while only 26 percent said it was going in the right direction. When the Chamber first asked the question in 1999, three times as many respondents said Oakland was going in the right direction.

Likewise, 47 percent of respondents said they felt less safe than a year or two ago, compared with 12 percent who felt safer. In 1999, twice as many respondents said they felt safer.

The poll, conduced by EMC Research, also asked respondents about this year's city elections, but the Chamber refused to release those results.

However, the citizen's group Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter did conduct a recent robo-poll in Districts 1 and 3, where backyard livestock is most common and the two incumbent council members aren't running for re-election.

The poll found no discernible leader in District 3, which includes West Oakland and downtown, and Amy Lemley with a small lead in District 1, which covers North Oakland. In both races, the vast majority of voters said they were undecided.

The poll also found that slightly more than half of those polled in the two districts opposed the breeding and slaughter of backyard animals, such as goats and rabbits.

San Leandro libraries added to fiber optic loop

San Leandro's libraries are now hooked up to the Lit San Leandro fiber optic loop, greatly speeding up Internet connections.

The libraries will celebrate the "lighting" of the fiber connection at 4 p.m. Monday in the Karp Room at San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Ave. Patrons will be able to test out the new connection speed at the celebration. The main library and the three branches are sharing the bandwidth.

"Although Lit San Leandro has been largely focused on serving and attracting businesses, the connection to our library system will be of tremendous benefit to the residents of San Leandro," Mayor Stephen Cassidy said.

The city is also adding Wi-Fi access throughout the main library, including meeting rooms.

"One hundred people could show up with their laptops for a conference and work on their projects at the same time," said Jeff Kay, San Leandro administrative analyst.

Connecting to the fiber optic loop will speed up Internet connection speeds for all the computers at the library.

"In recent years, as we've increased the number of public computers and added wireless Internet service, available bandwidth has been constrained and connection speeds have suffered," said library services manager Theresa Mallon. "Now visitors to the library will be able to connect at incredibly high speeds."

Lit San Leandro is a public-private partnership between the city and Patrick Kennedy, CEO of OSIsoft, a San Leandro-based company that makes software for monitoring heavy industry. Most of the 11-mile loop is already in operation, and there are plans to expand it to almost 20 miles.