Q Some of our local leaders are crafting plans to reduce El Camino Real to two lanes from Santa Clara to Palo Alto to make room for dedicated express bus lanes. The idea is that this will give us an incentive to get out of our cars and use public transportation, thus reducing traffic on El Camino. I am very skeptical and expect El Camino to become a traffic disaster area. Apparently there is federal money available for the work. How far along are these plans? Is it too late to stop this?
A We'll know more in a few months. The Valley Transportation Authority is currently conducting the environmental analysis for Bus Rapid Transit along El Camino, which involves analyzing seven alternatives, some of which include dedicated transit lanes and some of which don't. The public and cities will have a chance to comment on alternatives after the draft document is released in June 2014.
The VTA will select a preferred alternative in September and that alternative will then be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for funding.
Q I have a question, and you may be the only person who can answer it. Most states have license plate slogans in which its citizens can take pride, like The Silver State, First in Flight, Land of Lincoln, etc. Not California.
It started what may be the most geeky, useless slogan ever: dmv.ca.gov. Are you kidding me? It is a national embarrassment.
Can you figure out when this started and how we can get it stopped? Maybe readers might have alternative slogans to suggest to DMV to replace the current one. How about State of Innovation?
A The dmv.ca.gov reference was put on plates several years ago to try to get drivers to conduct their DMV business online. I prefer the "Golden State" slogan of years go.
Q My 19-year-old just received her first driver's license in the mail. It is in vertical format, rather than the traditional horizontal or credit card style. She said her friends all got the other type. What is the story?
A The state changed to the vertical look three years ago in an effort to make them more secure. Information on the new cards remains the same, but they come equipped with several features to protect against fraud, tampering and counterfeiting.
The most noticeable change is the layout for persons younger than 21. On all documents, the cardholder's date of birth and signature can be felt by touch; some images can be seen only with the use of ultraviolet light; and a two-dimensional bar code on the back replicates and verifies information on the front. Drivers are not required to get new ones until current cards need to be renewed.
Q How many years does it take to fix the offramp from southbound Interstate 880 to Valley Fair? It's been under construction for many years and it still has not been fixed. Is this a permanent construction area?
A It may seem like work has been underway forever, but construction just began a year ago. Completion of the $61 million job could end late next year.