Q With the economy picking up and school back in session, the Page Mill Road exit off south Interstate 280 in the morning is a real mess. Regular commuters have mostly learned to ignore the paint striping on the exit and usually create two lanes, but it still backs up onto the freeway for a long ways, with jerks stopping on the freeway (!) in the next lane over trying to push into the exit line.
A total rework of the intersection is needed, but it seems that at the cost of some paint, the striping should be changed to reflect what commuters do anyway, and the exit markings on the freeway should be extended to control traffic better and discourage dive bombers.
A Your recommendations are good ones, and there is finally some hopeful news on this exit that drivers have been yelping about for nearly two decades. Santa Clara County and Palo Alto have funded a feasibility study to look at potential short- and long-term solutions. One interim step is to install a traffic light at the end of the exit and get rid of the stop signs now to hopefully eliminate the backup on the southbound offramp. This study could be done by Christmas and work could begin in 2014.
Then the various agencies will work on an overall redesign of the exit. This will take a few years, perhaps, but help at last seems on the way.
Q I read the column about the traffic lights on the Bayfront Expressway but was disappointed because it talked only about the University Avenue approach. My complaint is from the west on the expressway coming from Marsh Road in Redwood City. Any hope for these lights to be timed better? The worst one is the Willow/Bayfront intersection. It takes at least three cycles to clear that light daily.
A Min-the-Caltrans-Signal-Man says he'll get his folks on it in a week or so.
Q I am going to commute from Castro Valley to Redwood City taking the Highway 101 exit at Woodside Road. I need advice on the fastest way to go. Fortunately, I have a flexible schedule and get on the road anywhere from 9 to 10 a.m. and I leave the office between 5 and 7 p.m. I've also considered starting the trip as early as 6 a.m.
I may take the Castro Valley exit off Interstate 580 due to heavy traffic on 238, and then take side streets to either Highway 92 or the Dumbarton Bridge, which is not too bad. But the onramp from 92 to 101 south tends to be a bottleneck any time I take it. The same is true during the evening commute. Also, Woodside Road gets pretty congested at points, so I'm hoping to find a back road to the 101 or either bridge.
Can someone help?
A Folks, a fellow commuter needs our advice getting from the East Bay to the Peninsula. Any suggestions?
Q Gary, I beg to differ with you on your answer to finishing the resurfacing of Interstate 80 between Dixon and Vacaville. I drove it the other day, and it is the same rough, busted-up piece of road it has been for years. Much to the ire of the have-to-drive-over-the-speed-limit group, I camp out in the middle lane through that stretch because the potholes in the slow lane are large enough to eat my Mini Cooper. Try again?
A Your comment surprised Vince-the-Caltrans-Man, who had been told work was done. He dialed the project manager, and you were right. Last month crews finished installing new concrete slabs that replaced cracked or damaged pavement on that stretch. But a bigger project that will overlay the existing pavement with asphalt could be under way this winter.
Q As a FasTrak holder, I am always disappointed to find on my commute home that the Antioch Bridge has one lane for carpoolers only, and two lanes shared by cash and FasTrak users. The purpose of having FasTrak is to not sit in a line with cash-paying customers. Why not have one lane for carpoolers, one lane for FasTrak and one for cash only? Maybe if those cash-only folks have to sit a bit longer, they might be tempted to get FasTrak.
A Your idea makes sense to me, but I bring bad news. There used to be one lane each for cash-paying customers, FasTrak users and carpoolers during the afternoon commute. But the cash lane backed up badly and bridge officials decided to go with two cash/FasTrak lanes. Complaints about the current configuration have dropped, so they are not considering going back to a FasTrak-only lane at this time.
Q We have noticed lane closures along Moorpark Avenue at the Interstate 880 overpass near Valley Medical Center. What does this construction entail and how long before this is completed?
A Two projects are under way. The overpass is being sandblasted and painted, and that should be done around Oct. 19. Further east between Thornton Road and Bascom Avenue, Valley Medical Center is adding a light on Moorpark. This will remove some street parking eastbound before Bascom, where parked cars often blocked the right-turn area.
Q Mr. Roadshow, what can you tell us about the Devils Slide Tunnel? We were under the opinion that it would be open on Labor Day. What happened?
Fran and Cliff Lawrence
A The targeted opening remains December. Keep your fingers crossed.
Q When will Tioga Road in Yosemite close for winter?
A It all depends on snow. Last year park officials kept it open until mid-January, which is extremely rare. Typically, the pass is closed before Thanksgiving.
Q What traffic project is occurring on Hale Avenue between Tilton and Main streets in Morgan Hill? I see new sidewalks going in, but do they plan to repave that section of road? It could sure use it. And are there plans to pave Monterey Road between Metcalf Road in San Jose and the Morgan Hill city limits? They did a great job repaving the area near Blossom Hill Road.
A Morgan Hill will soon begin repaving Santa Teresa/Hale from north of Laguna Avenue to West Main Avenue. This will include a rubberized asphalt overlay, pothole repairs, minor widening of the shoulder to support bicycle use, drainage and various pedestrian improvements. This should be done early next year.
San Jose completed a slurry seal job on Monterey Road between Bernal and Metcalf, but there are no plans to work south of Metcalf.
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat at noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com or 408-920-5335. The fax number is 408-288-8060.