Q Why oh why, Mr. Roadshow, can't all-electronic tolling happen NOW? Many other states already do this. The Golden Gate Bridge already does this. All booths on Bay Area bridges already take FasTrak and have cameras. What's the excuse other than the need to hold committee meetings for a decade?
A I doubt you'll have to wait a decade. Officials say it's possible a couple of bridges could go all-electronic in a year or so, with others phased in later. They want to wait a year to evaluate how the system has worked on the Golden Gate Bridge, and will most likely test it next on the Dumbarton and maybe the Carquinez or Benicia bridges. The Bay Bridge would probably be the last one converted to electronic-only tolls, in about five years.
Q How long will the lanes be removed on Interstate 580 at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge heading west? The commute is a killer in the morning.
A It will be a slow, tedious summer. Lanes will be closed until around Labor Day.
Q There is a lot of orange mesh-like fencing all along the construction that is underway on Interstate 580 between Livermore and the Altamont Pass. What is its purpose?
A The fence is to keep small critters from entering work areas.
Q Driving to and from Oakland International Airport last week, I was appalled at the amount of graffiti covering buildings and fences. And worse than that, the road signs were so defaced that many were unreadable. This is hazardous, to say the least. Is anything being done to prevent this vandalism and to clean up the mess?
A And ...
Q In light of the fact that repainting over the graffiti on the 13th Street bridge in San Jose and other places is obviously proving fruitless, are there not other solutions being looked at? Barbed wire? Cameras? Super-sized rat traps? How about a sprinkler system that is activated by motion detectors? Surely we must be able to find some remedy.
A Caltrans is trying to remove this blight as fast as possible, but taggers are striking all over the Bay Area. State officials are mum on what strategies they are taking, but they are working with engineers on ways to keep taggers from getting access to signs and overpasses, and they are seeking more CHP enforcement.
Q I am proposing a change to a lane on Blossom Hill Road near Almaden Expressway that will prevent accidents. Currently, the No. 1 lane is the only "left turn" lane from eastbound Blossom Hill onto Almaden Plaza Way. However, the No. 2 lane has a solid white line to the right which, in this case, denotes that all traffic in that lane will be forced to turn left onto Almaden Expressway, one block ahead. Because the No. 2 lane is lacking forward arrows or a sign on the lamppost, many people incorrectly believe that this lane is also a left turn onto Almaden Plaza Way.
Too many times I have seen the left arrow turn green and cars from this lane attempt to turn with cars to their left, resulting in a collision entering Almaden Plaza (there is only enough room for one vehicle). This intersection is unsafe and I believe that a bit of paint and sign on the lamppost clearly identifying the purpose of the lane would help alleviate many of the accidents.
A You are going to get action. The roadway striping and marking will be changed any day.
Q In response to Angie Ferone's comment about wanting to be able to read her map, GPS and calendar while driving, here's a very serious reason about why not to:
I was driving north on Highway 101 about a week ago near Coyote Creek and in the lane to the right and about four cars ahead of me was a truck carrying about six porta-potties (thankfully clean). I drive with my eyes ALWAYS on the road scanning ahead and both hands on the wheel.
All of a sudden one of the potties start to sway and before I knew it, it was in my lane, sliding toward me, not far away. Thankfully I wasn't reading and no one was to my left. It only took seconds, but I was able to swerve around it.
If my eyes had been off the road only for a few seconds, I wouldn't have had time to react, I would have hit it and possibly cars behind me would have crashed into me. SO, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD, HANDS ON THE WHEEL. FORGET THE DAMN CELLPHONE.
A You express my sentiments exactly.
Q Over the past year, my spouse has been sent to Texas by his employer every other month. He's commented many times on the courtesy of drivers there. The other day we were trying to change lanes on a Bay Area freeway, waiting patiently with our blinker on. Erik got very frustrated, saying: "In Texas this wouldn't happen! Someone would move over and let us in!"
The Bay Area draws pushy, arrogant and ambitious people, and on the freeway it shows. Erik, who is a long-haired, barefoot Berkeley boy, is finding Texas very appealing.
A A Berkeley boy liking Texas. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from Southern manners.
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