Click photo to enlarge
The right way to dispose of paint: A hazardous-waste collection facility in Martinez.

Q The reason we have paint spills on our roads is because some contractors don't want to bother with the disposal of unused paint, so they "accidentally" let the cans fall from the back of their vehicles. Pretty cool, right?

Tony Susan

A Cool it is not, but Tony may be on to something.

Q Some painters began dumping their excess paint on the roads after a law was enacted in the early '90s requiring that paint be taken to a hazardous waste disposal facility. Many painters don't want to spend the time and money -- especially small operators.

I've seen three methods for dumping paint on the road: Just toss it out; dump the paint in the truck bed and let it dribble out the back; and or run a pipe through the cab floor so that the passenger can pour paint out under the truck. I once had the misfortune to run over a fresh pool of paint. Fortunately it was latex, but it still took almost three hours to clean the mess.

Robert Otwell

Sunnyvale

A Dan-the-County-Man says this is what he suspects as well: "I would expect if true it only applies to a few bad apples we should all be watching for, as they shift an unnecessary expense to taxpayers, which is doubly maddening because it would be much cheaper to dispose of properly then to have our maintenance personnel diverted from planned maintenance to perform cleanup where spilled paint obscures lane markings."


Advertisement

Q I've been a truck driver in San Jose for 40 years and have seen the benefits of metering lights. Last month, though, a light was activated from Dixon Landing Road to southbound Interstate 880. This one makes no sense. Over 90 percent of the affected vehicles are trucks leaving the landfill. Over 90 percent of the time, there is only one vehicle at the light. The light is at the bottom of the ramp, which then prevents us from reaching freeway speeds by the time we have to merge. How can we convince Caltrans to reconsider this new meter?

Pat Lamb

Santa Clara

A Alan-the-Caltrans-Metering-Man agrees with you. He says traffic on this ramp is very light and there is no need to meter it at this time. The light will be set on solid green for now, and Caltrans will monitor traffic.

Q WOWEEE!!! Talk about a QUICK RESPONSE!!! I sent a note to Mr. Roadshow at 1:24 p.m. last Friday about problems at the Highway 85 ramp to Almaden Expressway.

At about 7:30 p.m., the telephone rings. Someone (I do wish I had gotten his name) from an agency that controls signals on Almaden was calling to ask for more information regarding the backup mentioned in my note to you. I was blown away by the quick response.

Richard Engfer

San Jose

A This was way beyond the call of duty. The call came from the Santa Clara County roads department. Richard was complaining about backups on 85 when exiting to Almaden, and he asked if the timing of expressway lights had been changed.

They had been changed to extend time for ramp traffic on weekends and will be checked out. There are plans to improve the ramp when the Almaden Ranch development takes place.

Q My 14-year-old daughter will be visiting in July. She lives in Iowa. She will have an Iowa learner's and student driving permit when she gets to California. Does California allow 14-year-olds to drive with an adult if that 14-year-old has a learner's permit valid in Iowa?

Mike C.

A No. The CHP says a nonresident must be 16 and have a valid driver's license from their home state to drive in California.

Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.