Q I just wanted to put this answer on your radar in case this question every comes up: "What if I don't trust a casual carpool or those sites like 511?" I think some people don't try carpooling because they believe it's neither trustworthy nor convenient.
A Hmmm. In the Bay Area, casual carpooling is where drivers pull up to certain locations and give rides to strangers across the Bay Bridge, allowing them to use the carpool lane and pay a reduced toll. It's been going on for decades. I have never gotten a complaint about casual carpooling across the Bay Bridge, and my daughter took advantage of it when she commuted from Oakland into San Francisco with no problems for almost a year.
So, casual carpoolers, tell me: Do you consider the practice safe? Any tips you wish to offer? Carpooling can shave 20 minutes off your commute.
James has organized carpools and has a website, www.groupcarpool.com.
Here are some good reasons to look for a carpool, based on the impact of the BART strike Monday from the traffic monitoring group Inrix.
The 16-mile morning drive between Walnut Creek and the Bay Bridge on Highway 24 took 45 minutes, more than double the time a week earlier.
Northbound I-880 from Fremont to Oakland took one hour and 45 minutes. The previous Monday, it took one hour and two minutes.
Westbound I-80 from Highway 4 to the Bay Bridge took one hour and six minutes. A week earlier, it was 45 minutes.
And I-580 between I-680 and I-880/I-80 took 45 minutes, compared to 32 minutes a week earlier.
Q I drive from Danville to Menlo Park at least once a week, and west Highway 238 to south Interstate 880 is always a bottleneck just before the flyover exit. I am convinced this is because only the right lane can exit south, even though the flyover goes immediately to two lanes.
The left and middle lanes continue to north 880. I am convinced that if the middle lane could go either north or south, the bottleneck would disappear. Most of the traffic does seem to be going to 880 south, so this would seem to make sense to me, if not to Caltrans.
They did a very similar change just a few miles ahead at the east I-580 to west 238 split so that the No. 3 lane can go either to west 237 or east 580, and that seemed to help that area. Any thoughts?
A I think it makes a lot of sense, and I've asked Caltrans for a couple of years if this change is possible, to no avail. I'll keep pestering them.
Q I drive with a dash cam because you just never know, and the other day a woman tried to drive through me. She was in the left-most lane on the exit ramp that has three left-turn lanes to go from Highway 17 south to Camden Avenue, and during the turn she decided she wanted to go all the way over to the right lane. I swerved into the lane to my right (luckily the person there also swerved right), slammed on my brakes, honked my horn and she just kept going with her blinker on, so it was entirely intentional.
I only record video (no audio) so you don't hear the horn or the swearing. But everything is quite clear. Do you know if I can do anything with this?
A Police cannot use your video to issue her a ticket for an unsafe lane change, and I doubt if they would send her a warning letter. But had there been a collision, the video would have come in handy as a piece of evidence in determining fault, and that's why I suspect video cameras in cars will grow in popularity in the U.S.