Q Even the carpool lanes on both northbound and southbound Interstate 880 between Highway 92 and the Dumbarton Bridge are bogged down and useless during commute hours. Any plans to widen this stretch of I-880?
A If voters in Alameda County approve a sales tax measure in the upcoming election, there are plans to rebuild key interchanges from Oakland through Hayward, and to build a carpool lane from Hegenberger Road near the A's ballpark to A Street in Hayward. But there are no other road-widening projects on the horizon. Go to http://alamedactc.org/files/managed/Document/6898/ALAMEDA_TEP_Final.pdf for details.
Q I am at a loss to understand why B Street in Hayward was closed recently at 8 a.m. one weekday morning -- the busiest time of the day. There were no trucks or people anywhere in sight. I was trying to take my grandson to school and it took me 40 minutes to get from E Street to Winton Middle School.
A The city has been working on the Mission-Foothill corridor since 2010, and sidewalk, curb and gutter reconstruction is substantially done in the downtown area. Crews are now paving on Foothill and that required the closing of intersections from A Street to D Street. Work will continue on Mission Boulevard and D Street as weather permits and should wrap up early next year.
Q The only thing that would have been more helpful in your article on disabled parking was a mention of what the fine would be if you are caught parking in a handicapped spot illegally. The cost of a ticket is a big deterrent nowadays.
A The fine can be as much as $500 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense and $1,000 for three or more offenses.
Q I have no idea what they're called, but they are the raised cement bumper type of barrier some evil elf installs in parking lots. These are supposedly to tell a driver when they've gone too far into a space, but the real intent is to utterly ruin the underside of anyone's car that was not built to fight a war. The builders of the Maginot Line could have taken lessons from these elves. This invention might have changed history. My question: Why?
A The barriers are called "curb stops," and they are installed for a variety of reasons.
Open parking lots often install them to mark the front of a space and to keep drivers from unsafely pulling through the adjoining space to exit, or to keep drivers from pulling too far forward and taking up more than one space.
In garages, curb stops are more likely used to protect whatever may be on the other side of the stop, such as electrical boxes. When no railings or solid walls are on the interior of garage ramps, they are used to keep drivers from pulling too far forward and driving off the level they are attempting to park on. When walls are present, the curb stops help keep vehicles from being driven into the wall, helping to avoid vehicle and structural damage.
Alas, as you point out, cars that are lower to the ground have the potential to sustain damage on the underside of the vehicle if the front end is positioned too far in the space and over the curb stop -- like my Prius.
Q There has been a lot of road work on Highway 1 between State Park Drive in Aptos and Salinas Road in Watsonville. Most of the effort has been on repaving that stretch of freeway. In some areas a solid center barrier has been constructed and new guardrails have been installed.
However, I am at a loss to determine why a longer guardrail was not installed on a very curvy part between Rio Del Mar Boulevard and State Park Drive. Numerous accidents have occurred on the northbound side of the freeway because the road is narrow and curves sharply as it dips under the railway trestle. Some new guardrails were installed but are not long enough to protect that section of road with the sheer drop.
A A guardrail is coming and will be installed on a project that begins construction next summer. The ongoing road work is repaving Highway 1 from Watsonville to Aptos, with some older guardrails being replaced.
Q For months now, there has been a big sofa chair precariously hanging on a hill at the Highway 87 exit ramp from Interstate 280 south. I thought for sure it would have been removed by now; you can't miss it. With the rain, it is just a matter of time before this sofa is dislodged and comes crashing down on the traffic exiting I-280. Can you let the powers that be know they need to remove this potential traffic hazard very, very soon?
A Done. You can also contact Caltrans yourself by making a maintenance request at www.dot.ca.gov/pioform.html.
Q It's El Camino UNreal. Always bad, southbound and northbound. Commute-hour traffic through Menlo Park on El Camino Real has worsened noticeably in the past month or so. It appears that someone may have changed the timing of the lights, and got their number wrong. With no alternative route, the car-bound in my office are in despair. Could you inquire with the authorities? You would be a hero to the masses!
A Repairs are under way. A paving job damaged the detection and traffic controller communication cable through Menlo Park. More paving is under way and could damage signal loops from south of Harvard Avenue to north of Berkshire Avenue in Atherton. So more delays are likely.
Q Three times recently I've been unfortunate enough to get behind gravel trucks on Highway 84 out of and into Livermore -- both spraying a trail of muddy water and rocks, and splattering a trail of rocks behind every time the trailer hit a bump. Isn't there a law that prevents these trucks from laying down a swath of destruction behind them?
A Yep, there is. Sgt.-Tom-the-Alameda-County-Man says: "Those truck drivers should not be leaving the quarry like that. It causes more problems than you know."
These drivers are required to cover their loads, and nothing is supposed to fall off the back of a truck except clear water or feathers from live fowl.
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