Q Who can help on getting a message to BART? They should change the color of preferred seats for people with disabilities. I've seen young, healthy people sitting on those seats and they do not give them up for pregnant women, the blind, older people or someone holding a baby. That is sad. People with no morals!
A This is something BART is looking at for its new train cars that are being built. But in terms of refurbishing current cars, it would cost more than $1 million for new seats and that's too expensive, the agency believes.
Added Alicia-the-BART-Spokeswoman: "But of course the problem isn't the color of the seat but simple common courtesy. We can't force good behavior and decency out of people, but we can remind them and we do. Federal regulations require that BART make seats available for those with disabilities."
But the law needs toughening up, as current regulations do not allow BART to fine or ticket those who do not give up their seats despite signs over seats for those with disabilities.
The agency also runs a courtesy campaign and has advertisement cards in each train telling riders to give up their seats to those who need them. Train operators also make this announcement and there are messages on digital platform signs.
Q I get on the 5:08 a.m. BART train at Fremont to get to San Francisco. The trains at that time are freezing and blow ice-cold air. Any chance they can turn on the heat?
A I suggest you bundle up. Each train has its own automatic climate control and BART workers check them regularly, but officials say despite their best efforts sometimes the cold persists. They suggest you let train operators know when it's too chilly.
It does take some time for trains to heat up in the morning, and you most likely were on one coming directly out of the Hayward shop to begin its morning service.
Q It appears that BART cars are never washed on the outside. I believe BART has the facilities in Concord to wash the outside. Do you know why they never wash the cars? I hate looking at dirty windows.
A Each train gets washed about once a week. But the cars have aluminum skin, which even when spotless clean is not going to look shiny. And BART has to be careful not to over-wash or under-wash the cars. Over-washing is costly and bad for the exterior material and the environment, as it uses special chemicals to break through the oxide that builds up. If they under-wash a car, then the oxide builds up and it becomes difficult to break through.
Q What has happened to the Caltrans cameras on the San Mateo Bridge? The pictures have disappeared from the SigAlert map -- www.trafficland.com/city/SFO/camera/16235/index.html -- which now says, "This image is temporarily unavailable." I have been using these every day to report traffic conditions to my wife as she commutes from the East Bay to the Peninsula.
A I like the driver who looks out for his wife. The pictures come from a company called TrafficLand, not Caltrans, which is in the process of upgrading equipment. It could be several weeks before the cameras are working again.
Q The other night while driving on Interstate 280 in San Jose around 6 p.m., there were two vehicles driving with their high beams on, and it was just a pain driving in front of them. My question: Is there any way to advise other drivers when they have their high beams on while driving?
A Here is what some do: Position the rearview mirror straight so the light will reflect back at them. Others do the same with their side mirrors as well.
Q Gary, I thought you would appreciate the humor in this. I had a client in my limo who made me pull over to send a text message. She heard that in California it was illegal to text while driving. Difference was, she was the one texting while I was the one driving. She couldn't be dissuaded, so I pulled over.
A I hope she left a nice tip.
Q I'm writing on behalf of Mother. I grew up in Willow Glen, where my mother still resides (she is 98 years old) and has driven Pine Avenue for years, having lived in Willow Glen since 1943. Every time she has to take Pine she comments (that's putting it mildly) on the deplorable condition it's in. It's like riding on a very bumpy, pot-holed roller coaster that hasn't seen any repairs in all those years. She is in good health, still lives independently, and we expect to help her celebrate her 100th birthday.
But before she leaves us I would love to see something done about paving that street. The disrepair begins at Hicks and goes the entire length until it gets to the park and grammar school at Bird and Pine. Can you do something to make this happen? I would love for this woman, who has been a great mentor and matriarch to her family, to see this happen. There have been a lot of streets in San Jose in much better condition repaved.
Q I tried and got a promise from the city to check areas needing pothole repairs. The city acknowledges it can be a bumpy ride, but there are no plans to repave this street. There are simply more roads in worse condition and higher on the priority list.