Q Please tell me why the San Mateo Bridge, only three lanes wide, has a posted speed limit of 65 mph, yet the Bay Bridge, at five lanes wide can only accommodate a posted maximum speed of 50 mph. This makes absolutely no sense. Can Caltrans make sense of this for me?
A The speed limit on the approaches to the five-lane Bay Bridge begins at 50 and Caltrans believes its best to keep it at that level for the entire bridge especially since the long west span has no shoulders. State engineers say it would be confusing to raise the speed limit only for the 2-mile stretch of the new Bay Bridge to 65 mph when the longer older stretch and approaches are at 50.
The low structure of the San Mateo Bridge consists of three lanes and shoulders for each direction. While the high-rise structure lacks shoulders, the approaches to this bridge can handle traffic at 65 mph between Mariners Island Boulevard in Foster City to just east of the toll plaza in Hayward, based on a traffic study in 2004.
Q On a freeway onramp that has a carpool lane, can a solo driver be in that lane after 9 a.m. if the carpool timing ends at that time even with metering lights on? I often take Fremont Boulevard to I-880 where there are no hours listed for the carpool ramp.
A If no hours are listed, the carpool onramp lane is reserved for carpoolers 24/7. This is the case at nearly all onramps from city streets like Fremont Boulevard.
Q I've had the same experience as the reader who asked it he should put two new tires on the rear or front and wondered why they put them in the back on a front-wheel drive vehicle. I believed the pros, however, and have always had new ones in the back.
With our recent rain, I found myself having trouble with the back tires spinning. Your article made me go check my tires. Evidently the last time my tires were rotated, the new ones got put in the front and I didn't notice! I found out the hard way (luckily no accidents!) that it really is true that the good tires go in the back!
A That's what the tire experts say. If you are installing two new tires, they go on the rear.
Q I am looking for aids in getting around to places I can no longer drive to. Can you advise me about resources available, if any? Mostly I can't drive at night because of my lack of night vision. But that also means I can't go anywhere during the afternoon, if returning home means it would be after dark. Taxis are very expensive.
A Roadshow readers, let's help Margrit.
Q The electronic freeway signs that said $159 for a seat belt ticket now say $160-plus. Why the extra dollar? Do state officials need it so they can continue to read your online column?
A Base fines and assessments are reviewed by the Judicial Council of California twice a year. Sometimes those fees go up a lot; sometimes a smaller amount as in this case. They go to the courts for operating expenses, to emergency medical services, collection of DNA, etc.