Q I live not far from where a father and daughter were killed by a speeding 17-year-old a short time ago in Concord. A few nights ago we had another one on Main Street in Walnut Creek, where a mother was killed and her daughter-in-law injured when struck by a vehicle as they walked downtown. After two of these types of accidents in a short time, will Walnut Creek police step up traffic enforcement on its main thoroughfares? People drive way too fast on them.
A I wish the answer was yes, but it's not. Regular Walnut Creek patrols work traffic enforcement, especially in the higher traffic volume areas. But as is the case with many law enforcement agencies, budget cuts have led to fewer cops, and traffic units have been among the hardest hit.
In Walnut Creek, officers have been reassigned to cover patrol staffing shortages, so there are currently no units assigned solely to traffic enforcement. In some Peninsula cities, traffic officers are working to curb the rash of home burglaries, and in San Jose, some traffic cops have been reassigned to stem the increase in gang-related shootings.
Q If you go south on Highway 101 to exit at either Capitol Expressway or Yerba Buena Road, you'd know that it's a big mess. Long lines stretch back almost to Tully Road. Cars dangerously stopping in lane No. 3 because they want to cut in at the last second -- dangerous to both the cars that have to come to a sudden stop and cars that have to come to a sudden stop by being cut off in lane No. 4.
With all this craziness, I often drive past this exit and use the Hellyer Road exit and circle back to use the north 101 to Yerba Buena exit.
A A good tip that you'll need for about three more years. On Monday, groundbreaking on the new 101-Capitol-Yerba Buena interchange will take place.
The $36 million job will build a southbound lane between Capitol and Yerba Buena, change the outdated cloverleaf to a partial cloverleaf, extend the fifth southbound lane from north of Capitol to south of Yerba Buena and add a northbound onramp.
Until then, try David's route on those nights when the traffic jams are really nasty.
Q I am writing to ask the help of your readers for the family of California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom. I did not know Officer Youngstrom, but as a former California Highway Patrol officer, I feel a responsibility to try to assist his wife and four children during their period of grief.
A Steve urges you to contribute to a memorial fund through Wells Fargo Bank. Donations for the family can be made at any branch through the Officer Kenyon Youngstrom Memorial Fund.
Q Have you heard about the move to change the name of a section of 680 where Officer Youngstrom was killed? What does it take to do this?
A Usually, a state legislator will propose a bill to name a section of highway after a fallen trooper. That's what happened after the deaths of Lt. Michael Walker on Highway 17 in 2005 and Officer Scott Greenly on Highway 85 in 1998 -- both of whom were struck by motorists while making traffic stops. I think it's a sure bet that this section of 680 will be named after Youngstrom.
Q In response to your response to the granny and her granddaughter who "woke up" a sleeping driver on Interstate 580, you didn't go far enough. Although waking him by beeping her horn was commendable, she said he sped off. Granny should have immediately called 911 and told somebody. With his license number, or at least a description of the situation, the driver might have been pulled over. Who's to say that guy didn't fall asleep at the wheel a few miles down the road, when Granny's horn is long gone?
A A very good point. Plus, here's another reason for calling 911: The driver may have had medical issues or been drinking.
Q Regarding the note from Michelle Zachlod of Manteca and the man asleep behind the wheel in a car next to her on 580:
Several years ago on 580 through Livermore, traffic was bumper to bumper but at least 65 mph an hour in the fast lane. I was in the next lane and noticed a man who appeared to be nodding off. I thought of doing nothing but knew if traffic slowed down people in front of and behind him were in danger. I also thought honking at him might startle him and cause problems. I opted to honk and move out of the way.
When he caught up to me he flipped me off!
A That ungrateful sleeper.
Q Thanks for doing columns on the East Bay. Improvements are being made to Castro Valley Boulevard. I noticed that they took away left-hand turns into the Castro Valley Village Shopping Center near Redwood Avenue, which is a major shopping center. I'm hoping this is temporary. Are they really not going to replace the arrows that allowed us to turn left into the center? This so hard to believe.
A Left-turn movements have been temporarily restricted during construction but will be allowed into the shopping center when work is done in November.