Q After Thanksgiving we ventured up to Oakland to walk the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Several things we wondered about:
We parked in the parking lot off Maritime Drive south of the bridge. There is a nice lot adjacent to the trail access that allows for three-hour parking. As we were getting out, we noticed a parking enforcement officer chalking tires.
It took us two minutes shy of three hours to make the round trip (we stopped to eat sandwiches we brought). Not sure why there needs to be a three-hour limit, as it isn't like surrounding businesses are taking up spaces or you need turnover like the Golden Gate vista points.
There were plenty of open spaces when we arrived and when we left (this was a nice day, a Saturday). And half of the parking lot was closed off as well. Anyone using this lot is using it for access to the trail. It should be at least a four-hour limit. Once the trail is extended to the island, the three-hour limit will be quite unreasonable.
A The parking time limit was determined by the city of Oakland and Caltrans and was recently raised from two to three hours. Officials are now reassessing the parking needs of bicyclists and pedestrians, and will likely extend the number of hours people can park in the lot at Maritime and Burma Road. This could happen soon.
Q We were also quite surprised at all the visible rusting on the fencing and deck and benches on the self-anchored suspension section. Some of these areas had been touched up with gray primer. It looks like lots of the paint is failing on the railing and benches, already looking old and worn.
Not sure what is going on, but for $6 billion, you would think that at least they would get the painting right.
A They will. Painting of the new eastern span is not yet complete; only work essential to the structural and seismic integrity of the bridge was finished before it opened, and that did not include a final paint job.
Q What is the maintenance budget for this bridge? It is going to be a huge ongoing cost keeping that white paint fresh!
A Caltrans has a $7 million maintenance budget for its toll bridges in the Bay Area. In the past, the Bay Bridge has had a budget of about $850,000 at the start of each year, but the maintenance department can move budgets around between bridges as necessary.
Q Does a passenger bus have the same rules on the Santa Clara County side of northbound Highway 17 as trucks -- 35 mph? One night at 6 p.m., I followed a luxury bus down the No. 1 lane at 60-65 mph.
A No. Trucks must adhere to a 35-mph speed limit on 17, but buses can go as fast as 50 mph -- the speed limit for all other vehicles over the hill.
Q I would like to request that a carpool lane be added to the two Stevenson Boulevard onramps in Fremont to Interstate 880 south. There seems to be room to add another lane.
A There is. Caltrans says it is in the works at both the loop and diagonal ramps. But construction won't begin until 2015.