Q I received an email from a friend with a link to a news report about E-15 gas, which is a mixture of gasoline and ethanol. The report said that most automakers will not honor a vehicle's warranty if this type of gas is used. Is this true, and is E-15 sold in California?
A E-15 is not sold in California and there are no plans to sell the controversial blend anytime soon. The state uses a different blend, E-10, which mixes gasoline with 10 percent ethanol. While no automakers have a warranty issue with E-10, some say E-15 will void their warranties. Only newer model cars can run on E-15 safely.
Q I travel Monday through Friday to Richmond from Concord and traffic on Highway 4 to Hercules isn't bad at 6:30 a.m. But once I get on Interstate 80 towards San Francisco, traffic jams start. Is there any future widening for this stretch of I-80? Any other routes I could take to avoid traffic jams?
A There are no widening plans for I-80 through Contra Costa and Alameda counties, although ramp meters are now being installed and could be working in a year or so. A possible alternative is to take Richmond Parkway instead of westbound I-80.
Another idea: Leave 10 to 15 minutes earlier. Caltrans
Anyone else have tips for Mr. Calderon?
Q I live very close to the Paseo Padre/Thornton exit coming off eastbound Highway 84 at the Dumbarton Bridge. There used to be a stop sign for people coming off the highway to make a left at Paseo Padre Parkway or right at Thornton. The city replaced this a couple of years ago with stoplights, which some people claim are working better.
The problem, however, is that people coming off the highway blatantly run red lights. No, I am not talking about the people who sneak in the intersection just as the light turns red for them. That always happens. The problem is that on every turn at least three or more people get in trying to make a left AFTER this.
And that is not all. When I have to proceed straight, I need to look right to make sure that there is not someone who is 50 feet away (who I would reasonably expect to stop) and who has no intention of stopping.
A red-light camera would help but knowing the city finances, it is unlikely. Can you please have extra patrolling on that intersection? I am sure there is potential for at least 10 tickets a day. And I am just talking 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays.
A James-the-Newark-Top-Cop says this intersection has caused problems in the past, and the traffic division used to have to work it quite heavily when it was a stop sign. He adds: "I wasn't aware that people were also running the red light. We will certainly look at this location as a possibility for a red-light camera approach if the violations and accidents justify it. In the meantime, I will be forwarding the information to the traffic unit for some increased enforcement."
Q What is the legality of speed cameras in California? I went to the Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek and when I left driving on Valley View, I noticed an electronic display with my speed above the sign of 30 mph. I initially was going 35 and slowed down to 30 to 31 mph, according to the display, and noticed a camera flash as I passed the sign. Doing some research, I found out that Walnut Creek does have a speed cam on Valley View, but it was not clear if this is used to enforce traffic fines.
When I saw the flash, I saw that my speed according to the display was 31 mph. Am I going to get a speeding ticket for this?
A No. Speed cameras for ticketing purposes are not legal in California. The electronic display is simply to alert drivers to their speed. They are usually installed after complaints by residents or during a traffic study. City officials do not know what the flash was that you saw, but they do not issue tickets in this manner.
Q Now that construction is going full blast on putting Warren Avenue below the railroad bridges in Fremont, Warren drops down to one lane at the railroad tracks pretty much every day when it isn't closed completely.
But I have an idea to help traffic flow better: Change the eastbound Warren right lane to a right-turn-only lane onto Kato Road, with signs all the way back to I-880. Currently, they use cones to narrow Warren to one lane before Kato, but this means that the many cars wanting to turn right onto Kato are trapped behind cars that want to go straight through the construction site. During rush hour, sometimes it seems like more cars turn onto Kato than go straight.
Also, is there any update when Warren is scheduled to be closed completely to dig under the railroad bridges, and for how many months?
A This could happen this summer and the closing will last for a year. The VTA will hold a community meeting a month before this happens.
As for the existing work here to bring BART to the South Bay, VTA has no plans to change the detour. They want you to take Fremont Boulevard across 880 to get around the closures on Warren, and not use Kato. The message board signs on I-880 are placed after the Mission exits to encourage drivers to use the official detour. They plan to change the freeway signs to read "Detour Fremont Blvd." vs. "Use Alt Routes" to make it clearer.