Q Regarding the tragic shooting death of the CHP officer and subsequent closing of Interstate 680 on Sept. 4, I said to my wife: "Wonder how long it will take for someone to complain about the length of the closing?" My guess is you probably received emails while it was still closed. What next? An apology from his widow and kids? Find something better to complain about.
A Many agree with you, but others do not. Interstate 680 was closed in both directions near Livorna Road for nearly eight hours following the 8 a.m. shooting on Sept. 4. It took place on the southbound side, and the CHP had planned to open northbound lanes sooner until they found bullet fragments on that side.
Q I am both appalled and disgusted with the people that have complained about lane closures and traffic when two people lost their lives in the 680 shooting. Shame on all of you. One person said family members were held hostage, not knowing where they were. But you did eventually make it home to your family; the officer did not.
A And ...
Q While I appreciate your article about the I-680 shutdown, and no one would disagree with the need to do the investigation, I think a point was totally missed: the frustration and danger that was created by not managing detours around the closure.
It always befuddles me that Caltrans and the CHP show no consideration to drivers stuck in the backups and road closures and make zero effort to manage the alternatives. If they can have 65 personnel from various agencies investigating the scene, they need the same amount of people involved with managing the traffic mess around the closure. People were abandoned on the freeway and had to turn around on their own and drive off on ramps to get off the freeway.
I saw on the news that Danville was so backed up that it took two hours to get through town. One father interviewed had to abandon his car and walk his child to school. Now you have children walking around this snarl-up. What if there were a fire, heart attack or some other emergency in that area? There is no way for emergency services to get through. More lives were put in danger unnecessarily.
What was done last week was unacceptable and people should be outraged.
A Emergency crews had a tough time getting to the site of the shooting because it occurred at the peak of the morning commute along one of the region's most congested freeways. The 65 emergency responders included those handling traffic.
Q Yes, it is very sad that a policeman lost his life in the 680 shooting. But the majority of commuters who travel these roads every day do not agree with the explanation given for closing the highway for all those hours. This shooting was on the side of the road. Why not close the outside lane only? There's no getting around how badly this situation was handled, and someone should be reprimanded for their actions.
A Remember, when bullets are fired, evidence can be scattered for miles.
Q I remember a CHP shooting a couple of years back on 580 near 980. The CHP kept westbound 580 closed most of the day. Neither officer was hit and the suspect was arrested. I remember the crime scene being cleared of vehicles and the freeway was still closed. I didn't see the justification then and I don't see the justification now. Does it really take that long to secure such a small crime scene?
A It can.
Q It once took me two hours to travel 16 miles of congested side streets after a fatal accident on Highway 101 near Ralston Road killed a mother and seriously injured her daughter. Every time impatience surfaced during that commute (and I am NOT a patient person), I just kept thinking that I was certainly having a better day than that family.
A The delays were difficult for many to take, but investigations like this often take hours to complete and the CHP stands behind the way it handled the shooting.
Coming Monday on Roadshow's new website, a review of what constitutes a free right turn. Look for Gary Richards at www.facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335. The fax number is 408-288-8060.