Q I am leaving on Thanksgiving morning for a trip to a family reunion from the San Jose airport. Do you think there will be a parking place left at the airport in any long-term spots by Thursday morning or will the departures on Wednesday take every spot?
A The long-term or economy lot will fill up that weekend, but you have other options. Parking rates will be reduced at the closer daily lots to $18 a day, which is a daily discount of $4, and offered from Friday through Nov. 23. Those flying on Terminal A airlines (American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, United, US Airways and Volaris) should park in Daily Lot 4. Travelers on Terminal B airlines (Alaska and Southwest) can park in Daily Lot 6.
Shuttles will transport travelers to their respective terminals. For a complete parking map and rate list, go to www.flysanjose.com.
Q Gary, your response that metering lights would help the commute along Interstate 80 was only partially correct. They are the cheapest tool, but they are only a stopgap.
The best way would be to extend BART to Crockett to pick up more of the traffic. There has been land available in Hercules and along the Richmond Parkway for stations but nothing has been done except to widen Interstate 80 for more traffic. Do you know why all of the other BART lines have been extended, but the Richmond line has not been?
A There may be some hope. BART is studying a concept called BART Metro, which looks at potential high-capacity transit corridors and additional stations along I-80 and other routes. The study is expected to be completed around Labor Day 2013.
Q The stretch of El Monte Road going southwest, between Foothill Boulevard and I-280, has a speed limit of 30 mph. But rarely does anyone drive that slowly. I've driven this road for years, and drivers commonly go 5-10 mph over the limit (not me, of course, but I am convinced I'll be the one to get popped). Going the posted speed limit invites road rage as drivers race toward the freeway.
My question: Why fight it? A speed limit of 30 mph feels awfully slow for this area. Can it be raised to something more reasonable?
A Maybe. Several years ago Los Altos set the posted speed limit on that section of El Monte at 30 mph because there are several driveways on the north side between Foothill and University Avenue. It's now conducting new speed surveys and a change could be recommended early next year.
Q We recently started using Highway 84 as an alternative to the 580-680 mess. It's great. Traffic flows smoothly and no crazy lane-changers going from 580 to 680, or long lines waiting to get on 680. Try it, you'll like it.
A Many, many others have weighed in on this option, which we'll discuss at length later this week.
Q I'm a new commuter from Fremont to San Jose. Mornings are OK, but evenings are awful no matter when I head home (even though I joined the local Y to work out to wait out traffic). I've tried getting off at Dixon Landing Road and taking Kato Road and Warren Avenue to South Grimmer. It may or may not be faster, but it's more fun for me and my new dream car -- a Mini Cooper.
But as I get onto Warren, there's a sign saying that the Tesla Road is a private road. How important is it that I pay attention to their sign? Is it really their road?
A Yes. Avoid it for now. The Tesla frontage road connecting the Kato bridge over Mission Boulevard to Fremont Boulevard and Grimmer is a private road originally built by General Motors to get to their plant. It is now owned by Union Pacific Railroad and Thermo Fisher Scientific adjacent to the vacant land south of the Tesla factory, by Tesla in front of the factory and by Union Pacific north of the factory. Driving on the road now is trespassing.
Q As one travels northbound on the frontage road of Interstate 80 at Powell Street in Emeryville, one comes to a clearly marked "STOP" at Ashby Avenue. The marking consists of lettering on the roadway.
But the actual "STOP" sign seems to have been broken off at its base and has been lying in the roadside greenery for many, many months. I would have thought that by this time some traffic control officer would have noticed this and reported it to the appropriate jurisdiction (Berkeley? Emeryville? the state?) and had the sign reinstalled. There has been no evidence of any change in a long time.
A I passed this onto the city of Emeryville. I would suggest next time something like this happens that you go online and contact the city directly at www.ci.emeryville.ca.us/forms.aspx?FID=42.
Q Are there any plans afoot to take the vacant triangular lot in San Leandro at 14th, 150th and Hesperian Boulevard and turn it into a traffic circle? I think it's a natural.
A A roundabout was considered, but those plans were scratched after engineers said the layout of the current intersection made it difficult to build one. Instead, the city will add more turn lanes, realign existing lanes and add bus stop areas. Work may begin late next year.
Q Caltrans recently improved the southbound Interstate 280 onramp from Westborough Avenue in Daly City. There are now two lanes onto 280, which is great. However, there is no carpool lane. I am surprised, as the next onramp south from Avalon Drive was also improved and does have a carpool lane for one of the two lanes. Any idea why one would have it but not the other?
I've been driving a Ford Ranger EV (electric vehicle) for almost 13 years now, and one of the many advantages is being able to use the carpool lanes and onramps with just one driver. My wife has been driving a Nissan Leaf for more than a year as well, and also qualifies for the carpool lanes.
This isn't a life-and-death issue, but I am curious why one onramp has a carpool lane and the other doesn't.
A Caltrans will install carpool lanes at all metered onramps where feasible. But the state says one is not feasible at Westborough because of limited space. A carpool lane here would require widening the ramp to three lanes, as two lanes are needed for the heavy demand of solo drivers. To have just one lane for solo motorists would lead to significant delays and backups that would extend onto local streets.
Q Sorry, Gary, I have to disagree with you on cops being allowed to park their patrol cars in red zones. I understand cops don't always get a lot of time for coffee or lunch. But darn it, they should try the parking lot first. If that's not available, I suggest a handicapped space -- most are unused anyway.
The red zones are there for everyone's safety -- for autos to be able to see around a corner or near a driveway which would be obstructed if a vehicle were parked there. Aside from that, our peacekeepers should set a good example for other drivers. Way too many times I've seen them run lights, make turns without signals and park illegally when unnecessary.
A Sorry, but I am going to disagree with your view that they should park in disabled spots. The red curb is OK with me.