Q Gary, every three months we cross the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to a doctor's appointment. My question: After the toll collectors are gone in a couple of months, do I need to open a FasTrak account, and how accurate are the camera's reading of the plates?
A I would get FasTrak, as you can save a buck per trip by opening an account.
When the toll collectors leave around the end of March, bridge officials will convert to all-electronic tolling with either FasTrak or what is called Pay-By-Plate. At the Golden Gate Bridge, FasTrak users will pay a discounted toll rate -- $1 off the $6 toll for two-axle vehicles.
Plate accounts do not require a prepaid balance, as does FasTrak. Instead, it will offer drivers a pay-as-you-go option, with your credit card charged when you cross the bridge.
Mary-the-Bridge-Spokeswoman says the license plate image captures are "excellent or we would not be using this proven technology."
Go to www.goldengate.org/tolls for more information.
Q I was told by a toll booth guy that cars should not pull up too soon after a motorcycle is at the booth as the car transponder will be charged twice.
A Unlikely, but screwy things happen with motorcycles because the equipment sometimes does not locate them because of their size. Bay Area bridge officials say a customer's account cannot be charged twice for the same trip because the equipment looks for duplicate transactions at the same toll plaza within a certain time frame. If there are two transactions, one of them is discarded.
Q My brother used a disabled person's plaque that you hang from your rearview mirror. But he has passed away. Should I destroy the placard or mail it back to the DMV?
A So sorry about your brother. The placard should be given back to the DMV within 60 days of the death of the disabled person. Mail the placard to: DMV, Registration Operations Division, P.O. Box 942869 MS C271, Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Q For years westbound Foxworthy Avenue at Almaden Expressway in San Jose had a "No Through Traffic" sign. But about two or three years ago that sign was removed. Since this removal, the Walgreens pharmacy has opened at this intersection. Yet the roadway westbound shows only a left turn allowed on the pavement. Is this now a through roadway, or is it still a left-turn-only lane?
A George, what took you so long to email me? Dan-the-County-Road-Man, who knows everything about the expressways, was stumped: "We're not sure why the sign isn't there now," he said, noting that the sign was installed to address concerns of nearby residents about potential traffic increases. "We have not made any changes to that agreed concept and will replace the sign."
Q Have the powers that be ever considered building a pedestrian bridge across Stevens Creek Boulevard that would connect Santana Row near Crate & Barrel with Valley Fair mall? That would be so awesome.
A Improvements may be coming, but not what you want. They are tied into future development at the two shopping centers that seems imminent. Improvements on the south side of the intersection will include removal of the "pork chop island" and expansion of the sidewalk refuge in front of Crate & Barrel. The pedestrian push button will then be moved to the sidewalk, eliminating the need to cross the right-turn pocket to activate the pedestrian signal on the island.
The existing striped crosswalk will be increased to 12 feet and a second crossing will be added on the east leg of the intersection crossing Stevens Creek.
But there will not be a bridge.