Q What do you think of the scandal in New Jersey about the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge? I'm relieved to read about a traffic problem that we do not have here in the Bay Area.
A Me, too.
Q Are you sorry you don't report in New York City where you could talk about Chris Christie, the Port Authority and the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee? I don't think that could ever happen here in California, but as a Jersey native, fuhgeddaboudit!
A Fuhgeddaboudit indeed!
Q The George Washington Bridge closure reminded me of a time I was driving during the evening rush on Interstate 680 when traffic came to a complete stop. The radio reported all lanes closed due to police action. I was curious but never found out what level of crime would justify closing a major artery for hours. Is this a regulated activity? Can roads be closed to study traffic?
A What amazes me about this story is that the lane restrictions went on for four days without any advance warning. Four days! When the Bay Bridge was shut down last year, warnings went out from Los Angeles to Redding days in advance. When construction began at Doyle Road in San Francisco, at the 280-880 interchange next to Valley Fair and on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, alerts were posted well before work began.
Only emergency work, a bad crash or a police action would result in a major road closing here. Trust me, they would not close off lanes for a "traffic study." What a lame and indefensible excuse.
But that doesn't mean some work doesn't wear on our patience.
Q Your column about the never-ending construction zone on Mission Boulevard in Fremont prompted me to ask about the never-ending construction zone on Highway 101 in Mountain View. I've been commuting through this to Menlo Park for years, and it looks like they may be getting close to completion.
Caltrans commented that by closing the Bay Bridge over holiday weekends they were able to get months' worth of work done per day. So, a modest proposal: If the 101 construction is not finished by summer, please just close it over Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, whatever. Take an entire week if they need to. Just finish it.
I'm willing to deal with a week of "Carmageddon" if it means that the 101 construction would be done.
A The widening and repaving of 101 from Highway 85 to Palo Alto should be done this summer. That will likely mean significant lane closures at night, so you might partially get your wish.
Q With reference to a question about how the toll direction is set on Bay Area bridges, many years ago, the Philadelphia-area bridges going into New Jersey were all reconfigured for tolls in the westbound (Philadelphia) direction, but free in the eastbound (New Jersey) direction.
The Philadelphia Daily News comment on that was "You get what you pay for."
A No disagreement here.