Q Could you please shed some light on the status of the Highway 84/Isabel Avenue widening in Livermore? It seemed to be moving right along and then for months, nothing. I haven't seen workers out there in ages and work seems to be at a standstill. It sure would be nice to have this finished up and opened before summertime traffic starts.
A Your wish could be granted as soon as next month. Caltrans is widening Route 84 from Jack London Boulevard to Stanley Boulevard from two to six lanes, and from two lanes to four from Stanley to north of Concannon.
The recent work has been off the main road and therefore less visible to the public. Paving and striping will be among the final things to do, and nighttime temperature times must be above 55 degrees.
There are also plans to widen Highway 84 to four lanes between Concannon and Ruby Hill Drive. That work will begin next summer and will take about three years to complete.
Q A couple of weeks ago someone wrote in about how they could fix a traffic problem with a can of paint, and that idea has stayed with me to the extent that I thought it would be a great way for people to propose low-cost solutions to traffic problems that might have a chance of getting implemented.
A Such as ...
Q I would use a can of paint to draw a merging lane where Highway 101 corkscrews back to merge onto west 237. This dangerous merge has the room to allow for a lane for those coming onto west 237 rather than people coming to a complete stop when they cannot see or actually do see someone coming on 237 at freeway speed. Simple, safe and cheap.
A And doable! Caltrans has plans to extend the merge from northbound 101 to westbound 237 about 300 feet from the 101 offramp to just beyond the bridge on 237.
Q I have a question about red-light cameras in San Jose. I'm always paranoid about red lights ever since I got my first ticket back in 2007 that cost me over $350 to pay out of my own pocket. Just recently, I wasn't really paying attention (which happens very rarely), and I made a right turn at a red light where there was a "No Right Turn on Red" sign next to a light rail station. There were no cops nearby, but I'm just really paranoid if a camera caught my license plate or anything else.
Do you know if San Jose has red-light cameras anywhere near Race and Parkmoor?
A Rest easy. There are no red-light cameras anywhere in Santa Clara County.
Q Are there plans to make Mission Boulevard north from A Street to at least Maddox Road in Hayward just as nice as other sections of Mission? This was once considered as an alternate route of the downtown loop, and is currently full of potholes and very rough areas. Or now that it lost out on being the official loop, will it be forgotten?
A Not forgotten, but the city wants to add Mission north of A Street to its Route 238 improvement list. However, before this can happen, Caltrans needs to relinquish this section to the city and repair the road. That may take at least a couple of years to happen.
Q Is it legal for drivers to use the carpool lane as a passing lane? The FasTrak lane on the San Mateo Bridge moves quite slowly until cars have moved over to get into the cash lane. Is there any possibility of encouraging commuters to adjust their schedules by offering a discount if a driver uses FasTrak and crosses the bridge before 6:30 a.m.?
Unless there are a lot of cars with stealth baby seats, it seems like quite a few single drivers are using the carpool lane to bypass some of the growing traffic on the San Mateo Bridge. Perhaps the carpool lane needs to morph into an express lane with an additional convenience fee?
A It's illegal to use the carpool lane as a passing lane, and there are no plans to offer a discount for early-morning FasTrak users. But perhaps by 2017 the carpool lane before the toll plaza will be converted into a toll lane for a 3-mile stretch on both the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges.