Q I have a question about safety around a car. Several neighbors turn on their engine, then go back in the house or continue to pack the car with people and items. Sometimes the driver's door is left open. Sometimes large dogs and toddlers are about the car or young children are in the car. They assume that having the car in park and/or an emergency brake set is enough safety. I have urged them to keep the engine off until they are in the driver's seat. Am I being overly cautious?
A No. You are being a good, concerned neighbor. Keep the engine off and doors locked. Kids can quickly get into an open car, shift the car out of park and roll up windows. But the big danger this time of year is heat. On a 90-degree day, temperatures can reach 125 degrees within minutes and kill a child or pet inside. Kids are especially vulnerable to heatstroke, as their body temperatures can rise five times faster than an adult's. So, Mary, keep nagging your neighbors.
Q Two toddlers were accidentally killed in our neighborhood years ago due to carelessness. We have new teen drivers with younger siblings as well as young families in our neighborhood.
This younger generation of neighbors has a more carefree attitude. But a young life can't be replaced. I guess I'd rather be bossy and say something than be grieving for them and their loss.
Q Is it legal for mothers with babies in strollers to walk them two, three or four across down a residential street and not move out of the way of cars driving on the street? This is a daily occurrence and nuisance in my neighborhood. It's dangerous, rude and a nuisance. My neighbors agree.
Q Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on roadways when sidewalks are available. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians must stay to the extreme left edge of the road and face oncoming traffic.
Q When people exit the El Paseo de Saratoga shopping center onto Campbell Avenue in San Jose heading toward Target, the exit arrows are confusing. Based on the arrows in the pavement, cars can exit only to the right or left. But many people want to go straight across Campbell Avenue to Target.
Do you know the purpose of not being able to go straight from El Paseo into Target? Seems like the arrows should include straight since most people ignore the markings.
A It's a mistake. The shopping center has been told to correct the pavement markings to include a left or straight turn from the left lane. A sign will also be installed on the signal pole in a few weeks.
Q Where are all of these trucks going to dump all 600,000 cubic yards of dirt for the BART construction to San Jose?
A The dirt will be either hauled off or reused for the BART extension. About one-third of it will be recycled for work at station sites while other clean soils will be taken to quarries for other construction projects. Any contaminated soils will go to state disposal facilities.
Q As a European implant in Silicon Valley, I read the column on congestion pricing in London with interest. It is true that the London congestion charge can catch people unawares. Normally, the car rental offices at the major London airports are very good at alerting renters about the charges.
But a further "gotcha" is that unless you have paid in advance, the charge has to be paid for ON THE DAY of use by midnight, otherwise there is a penalty. It costs about $3 more if you pay by midnight on the following day, then the fees really mount up.
Fees can be paid online, by phone or in person at many news agents and convenience stores around town. If you know when you are going to be in central London, it is possible to pay in advance up to 90 days ahead of the trip.
A I like tips that save money. Thanks.
Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335. To read columns online, go to www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow or use the main navigational bar under Opinion-Columns or at www.mercurynews.com/traffic.