Q Gary, you and your tax-and-spend buddies are bigger morons than I thought if you believe that one cent of this additional sales tax money in Alameda County would go to roads or other infrastructure and basic services. The socialists that you dopes have elected would just spend it on new social engineering programs. How many more of these scams are you going to fall for?
A Drew responded to my column last week about lowering the two-thirds threshold to pass county sales taxes for transportation. While you may not agree with all the projects, remember that past "scams" have paid for the widening of virtually every highway in the Bay Area, including Interstate 880 between Oakland and Fremont, Highway 85 in the South Bay, Highway 4 in Contra Costa County, Highway 101 in San Mateo County and I-205 near Tracy, to name just a few. The Alameda County sales tax would have provided the spark to add a northbound carpool lane on I-680 over the Sunol Grade and rebuild the 580-680 interchange -- two of the biggest bottlenecks in the region.
Sales tax dollars are also covering much of the cost of extending BART to San Jose. And having local funds in place can secure critical state and federal aid for other locally funded efforts.
Yep, some measures include questionable projects, such as extending light rail from Campbell to Los Gatos for $175 million to attract
The latest Alameda County proposal has fallen just short of two-thirds support, and a recount is planned. All I want is a more level playing field, where the threshold is 55 or 60 percent.
Q They don't need to lower the requirement of a two-thirds vote to increase the sales tax. What Alameda County needs to do is break down its proposed measures so that voters can vote for several projects, but not everything under the sun. I have no problem with a sales tax related to highways, streets and BART, but I didn't want a majority of funds going to public transit. Nor did I want taxes wasted on a Dumbarton rail.
A smaller tax for just highways, streets and BART would have probably passed easily, especially if there was a sunset clause. And if the voters want to approve a reasonable tax for public transit, so be it.
A I understand your feelings, but here is the reality. To get a two-thirds approval rating, tax authors need to appeal to a widespread audience -- and that can mean giving every group something they can support under one overall proposal. Why would an AC bus rider vote for a tax to widen 680?
Q My father and I were driving down to San Jose in the southbound I-680 express lane when we got stuck behind a slow driver. He was doing at most 55 while the speed of traffic in the next lane was 65-70, and had a long line of cars stacked up behind him.
Signs along the highway make it clear that drivers are not allowed to exit the express lane except at specified points, but the state also has a law requiring slower drivers to move to the right when a certain number of cars want to pass. Which law takes precedence here?
A You cannot cross the double white lines, and you can only exit at specific locations on 680. The only exception is if an emergency vehicle approaches from behind with its lights on. So while this driver should have sped up, he could not have moved over.
Q I think I learned that parking closer than 20 feet from a red stop sign is a violation, yet there are two places in my neighborhood where people actually park exactly by the sign, thereby forcing right-turning traffic to go around. Is this legal?
A Possibly. Unless there is a red curb next to the stop sign that would restrict parking, there is no distance requirement for parking near a stop sign.
Q I am hoping you can help me out. The light at Page Mill Road and Hanover Street in Palo Alto has gotten stupid. It used to be that when crossing on Hanover the light would sense cars and bikes and change for just that direction if there were no other cars. Now it will change and let cars/bikes go whether there are any cars/bikes there or not and then let the other direction go. This makes everyone wait longer. Is this by design or is something broken and now the light is in stupid (timed) mode?
A There are problems with detector loops here. Santa Clara County technicians will fix this when weather permits.
Q I have a question that's been plaguing me. After finishing that new pedestrian overpass crossing near Blossom Hill Road and Monterey Highway, new right-turn stoplights were also installed to get on and off Monterey to Blossom Hill. Now the lights all have a solid circle stoplight with a sign on the right saying "Stop here on red" just before the pedestrian crosswalks. I'm pretty sure that just means make a complete stop at the line before the crosswalk that the sign is pointing to and then proceed when safe, as there isn't a red arrow stoplight and there's no other sign stating "No turn on red."
However, there's been a mixture of people completely stopping and not proceeding to turn right till they get a green arrow, and then the rest just stop and go when safe. Which is correct in this situation?
Reginal Lumagui, J. Kenton, Tom Ferro and more
A Boy, a lot of questions on this redesigned intersection. It's legal to make a right turn on the red ball when it's safe to do so after first coming to a complete stop.