Q Mr. Roadshow, there have been many improvements in our transportation system over these many years. What would you consider the most significant -- the vote to bring BART to the South Bay, the new Bay Bridge, the 152-156 overpass north of Hollister, completing Highway 85, the introduction of toll lanes or widening the Nimitz from Oakland to Fremont?
A All are important, but the other day this email rolled in and it reminded me of what I consider the most significant -- which was approved 15 years ago.
Q Gary, you were especially helpful in our efforts that successfully got the median barrier installed on Highway 101 from Morgan Hill to Gilroy. It's hard to imagine how many lives have been saved because of that. As I travel 101 in South County, I see evidence of how frequently it is smashed and mangled but probably saved someone's life.
Former Morgan Hill mayor
A Before 1997, state regulations called for a guardrail only if the median was less than 45 feet wide. But after seven deaths on Highway 85, where the median ranged from 46 to 54 feet, Kennedy and Assemblyman Jim Cunneen led the fight to install median barriers on any highly traveled highway with medians up to 75 feet or with a history of crossover crashes. The policy shift led to the installation of barriers on more than 400 miles of freeways throughout California, including Highway 1 in San Mateo County, Highway 4 in Contra Costa County and Highway 13 in Alameda County.
Q Several months after the median barrier was installed, I received a call from a man who asked if I was the mayor and if I had anything to do with getting the median barrier installed. I said yes and explained my role. He said thank you, it probably saved the life of him and his family. They were driving north when a car heading south came careening towards them and it was stopped by the median barrier. It brings tears to my eyes, now, even many years later.
A Seven deaths in crossover crashes on Highway 85 led to a new state policy on when median barriers should be installed. To read the 1997 story, go to mercurynew.com/mr-roadshow.
Q I've found that one can take their credit card inside for pre-authorization of more than $75 when buying gas and not worry about the $75 limit at the pump. Inconvenient, but no worse that what we had to do 100 percent of the time in the past. Or follow my wife's advice and never let the tank get more than half empty.
A Wives are so practical.
Q When is Campbell going to repave Hacienda Drive between Winchester Boulevard and Burrows? I was riding my motorcycle recently and my right floorboard snapped off from the vibration of this rough road, almost causing me to bail. City officials should be ashamed of themselves.
A That is not good. Campbell hopes to upgrade Hacienda next year.
Q Here's a thought. Highway 85 has been shut down periodically for repaving between Fremont Avenue and El Camino Real. Why not use this opportunity to replace the offramp sign for Fremont Avenue that was damaged by a big truck more than four years ago?
A It has taken a long time. That sign was obliterated by a truck whose driver left the rear loader upright. A new sign should be installed early next year.
Q You recently printed a letter from a reader who said he'd seen the tolls "inverted" on the Interstate 680 toll lane, i.e. it cost more to go to Mission/262 than it did to go farther to Calaveras/237. I chalked it up to an optical illusion or a momentary glitch -- sort of like a UFO. Well, I saw the same thing another day -- 60 cents to Mission, but only 50 cents to Calaveras. What gives?
A This should not happen now that toll officials have checked their equipment and made fixes.
Q Not too long ago a truck overturned during morning rush hour, pouring strawberries over four lanes of traffic. My first thought: