Q Why is it a Roadshow no-no to bicycle on a sidewalk? This is allowed in most cities except where restricted by signs. ... I think that you should have made clear that your comment that "another big Roadshow no-no is bicycling on a sidewalk" was your personal preference and not a legal requirement, nor is it an absolute rule for many very experienced cyclists like myself. Bike-riding on sidewalks, when done in a safe manner and yielding to pedestrians, is legal in many cities, including San Jose, contrary to what some people think. ... Don't you think it is safer for kids to ride bikes on a sidewalk than on a busy street?
Kevin Bracken, Peter Ross and more
A Yes, and riding on a sidewalk is legal in most cities, although often banned in downtown areas. But I put this in the Roadshow "no-no" file for older kids and adults based on the advice of safety experts. They cite the dangers of bicyclists catching motorists and pedestrians by surprise as they race along a sidewalk and into a crosswalk -- especially when riding in the opposite direction of traffic.
Q I think that toll-carpool lanes is the start of a great idea. When will I be able to pay extra to get all traffic lights to change to green for me? Or allow me to park in the handicap spot or in front of the fire hydrant outside my house? I am really tired of having to drive 25-35 mph on residential
A Billions would be raised, I am certain.
Q I seem to remember when Highway 101 from Morgan Hill to San Jose was being built, two oak trees that were in the way of the new road had to be removed. Is it true acorns were taken from those trees to start new trees? If so, were the trees planted along 101?
A You have a good memory. The valley oaks in the median were several hundred years old, and they had to be removed to widen the freeway a decade ago. One was dead, and moving the other would have cost about $200,000. That was deemed too expensive, and there was no guarantee the tree would survive the move.
But road workers gathered up acorns that had fallen from the trees and took them to a nursery, which tended to them until they turned into saplings stretching a couple of feet tall. They later were planted, some near 101, and others elsewhere.
Q I was going down Interstate 880 with a friend towing a boat through the Santa Clara area. As we passed over Monroe Street, the transition from concrete to asphalt was a jarring bump. So much so that my friend and I were thrown forward in the cab.
The boat trailer fared worse. It popped off the ball and snapped the safety chain. Miraculously, the boat managed to steer itself to a grinding a stop into the retaining wall before Bascom Avenue. The boat suffered minor damage but the trailer took the brunt.
Do I have recourse with Caltrans or do I just have to eat it?
A You can file a claim with the state, but I don't think you will prevail. Claims are usually upheld if Caltrans has failed to fix a road problem, but it is standard policy to use concrete at overpasses and underpasses, and sometimes there can be a bump when you drive onto asphalt. Go to www.dot.ca.gov and click on "Contact Us" to get a form. .
Q Please tell bike riders to stay off Junipero Serra Boulevard in Palo Alto, where it is not only torn up between Alpine Road and Page Mill Road, but on weekends it's filled with 18-wheel trucks hauling dirt. Combine the dirt trucks with normal traffic, torn-up roadway and bicyclists and you have a recipe for a dangerous ride. How much longer will trucks be on this road and when will it be repaired?
A PG&E is working on improving a major gas pipeline along Junipero Serra; engineers say traffic will be slow and those who have a choice should take alternate routes. Work could wrap up by the end of the year.
Q Will there be any public hearings planned for the makeover of El Camino Real in Santa Clara?
A Yes, probably early next year. The Valley Transportation Authority last week approved studying a two-prong approach -- converting one lane each way through Santa Clara for buses and continuing discussions to do the same in Sunnyvale and Mountain View, cities opposed to the change.