Q Caltrans has removed the construction barriers on Interstate 880 before Brokaw Road and there sure appears to be a lot of space on the right for a northbound merging lane from 101 to 880. Will that be the case?
A It's not. The new pavement will be used for exit lanes to the Brokaw Road offramp but not all the way from 101. Next year crews will fit in a carpool lane, which is another reason for the extra pavement.
A lot will be happening in the next few days. The northbound ramps at Brokaw will be closed this weekend and new ramps will open Monday. The ramps will be shifted roughly 70 feet to the east. For now, there will be two left-turn lanes and one right turn lane. But before construction ends next summer, a second right-turn lane will be added on the ramp to east Brokaw.
There is no truth to the rumor that is being done to appease Mr. Roadshow at my usual exit to the Mercury News, though I am happy about it.
Q I'm pretty dubious about the priorities in widening 880. This area isn't even the biggest bottleneck on the South Bay end of 880 -- the 280 interchange is clearly worse. But more importantly, work on 880 these past years has turned it into the least bad local freeway commute.
A You are kidding, right? I drive 880 every day and it's no picnic.
Q I used to commute up 85 to 101 to Palo Alto, and changing to 880 was a huge relief. Why on Earth is more money being poured into 880, instead of 85 and 101? I really don't want to believe that the priorities are being driven by a toll lane feeding frenzy, but what other conclusion makes sense?
A Partly you are right. Extending carpool lanes has high priority and the current 880 widening will do that from 237 almost to 101. No tolls will be charged on this stretch of 880 for quite some time, though.
Q I have a serious hate-hate relationship with the 880 north exit to Gish Road.
A Why is that?
Q When I take the exit, I don't do so without my hand on my horn ready to honk at some moron who doesn't realize that exiting freeway traffic doesn't have a stop. No less than once a week does this happen to me. Most people don't realize that this is not a 3-way stop and I'm surprised that I don't see more accidents. Is there someone who can put up a sign or something to make sure that people know that those exiting 880 don't have to stop!?
A And ...
Q We see near-accidents at Gish and 880 several times a day. Is Caltrans planning to do anything about this intersection?
A Sorry, no. Caltrans says a sign saying offramp traffic does not stop might be more confusing. And here's why those drivers don't need to stop: Federal rules say offramp traffic can only be stopped if the amount of traffic at cross streets is "approximately equal" to traffic coming down the offramp. According to Caltrans data from a couple of years ago, 8,000 vehicles use the offramp each day -- more than twice as much traffic as there is on the streets that have to stop.
Q Gary, good behavior on the road needs to be reported, too. On Sept. 10, I and my bike went sprawling across Alpine Road in Menlo Park after I clipped a rock. Ignoring the possible wrath of drivers behind her, the driver of the car behind me got out and insisted in checking out my damage. No one even honked!
No road shoulder there, so after a few minutes we moved to an area with a shoulder, where she insisted on cleaning, applying antibiotic cream, applying a cold pack to a badly road-burned area, and having me drink a yogurt! Only after perhaps another 10 minutes would she let me proceed, but only on the condition that I signal to her, as she waited farther up the road that I was OK.
She did. I did. What could have been a real downer for me turned out to be a pleasant experience. Thank you Erika in the BMW, and the patient people in cars behind her.
A Erika, you are a princess.