Q On the Interstate 680 north exit at Monument Boulevard in Pleasant Hill, I was on my bike heading east and using the crosswalks. At a red light at the exit, a car stopped in the crosswalk. Because of this, I couldn't utilize the crosswalk and had to wait for the next light.
My question: If I had tried to get around the car and the light changed to green, who would be responsible if something serious had taken place?
And I'd like to remind ALL drivers -- stay out of crosswalks and off sidewalks when exiting a parking lot. Make certain to look in both directions for people riding anything or walking!
A Police say most likely the driver would be at fault for not stopping correctly, but they also say you could bear some responsibility. The car should have stopped behind the crosswalk, and you were smart not to proceed. However, most of my bicycling contacts and police recommend that people walk their bicycle through a crosswalk and not ride in it.
Q I read in your column that there will be extensive work done along southbound Interstate 680 in San Ramon due to a new sound wall being built. The state says there will be new plantings placed along the side of the freeway to help hide the sound wall north of the Greenbrook overcrossing. Will the Greenbrook overcrossing receive a much-needed safety fence for pedestrians and cyclist protection?
A Afraid not. Caltrans says the I-680 auxiliary lanes project between Sycamore Valley Road and Crow Canyon Road does not include any improvements to the Greenbrook Drive structure, bridge deck or fences.
Q Is there a statute of limitations for parking tickets? I just received one in the mail from Nov. 19, 2010, from the city of Oakland in the parking garage at Children's Hospital.
A The statute of limitations on a parking ticket is five years.
Q At the intersection of 98th and San Leandro streets in Oakland, there is a left-turn lane with a left-turn signal. Sometimes next to the green signal arrow, a sign pops up saying you cannot turn left. How is one supposed to follow the rules here if you are in the left lane and the signal turns green and there are cars behind you? How can they put up a no-left-turn sign and leave the signal functioning and the lane open for business? If you are in the left-turn lane you have no other recourse unless you make an illegal lane change to go straight. I totally do not understand how to obey the law here.
A The no-left-turn sign at this intersection has been in place for many decades for good reason. It's there to protect drivers from turning left when an oncoming train could be approaching on the other side of the intersection.
The no-left-turn sign is activated only when there is an oncoming train, and that is why you see it only sometimes.
Here is what you do: Wait until the train clears, usually in one to two minutes. Just after the no-left-turn sign is activated, the left turn arrow signal will go from yellow to red. When the train is gone, the sign folds up and the arrow returns to its normal cycle.
Q I think that the new technology for freeway paving is great. While driving in a heavy rain on a newer surface, there was no water splashing up from the cars in front of me and I can clearly see the lane lines. However, on concrete freeway surfaces, the white lines are washed out from the reflection of the wet surface and are hard to see. The white lane lines also blend with the concrete from the sun. While driving on eastbound Highway 4 a few months ago in the morning, I could not see the lane lines. Is there a fix for this?
A Road officials say yes. Upon completion of the Highway 4 widening work, the final striping will consist of white stripes plus white button markers and white reflective markers as lane lines. This is standard striping configuration that Caltrans says is not prone to visibility issues.
Q I got the "Dammit" Roadshow bumper sticker about using your turn signals, but I noticed that drivers behind me will now go around me going faster than necessary and NOT using their signals. It's like the bumper sticker makes these people act more of an ass than they already are!
A Ugh. This is not good.
sQ I have since taken the bumper sticker off and thrown it in the trash!
A Nooooooo! Mrs. Roadshow and I spent more than 10 hours mailing out several hundred bumper stickers urging drivers to use their turn signals. Please, folks, tell me that Nancy's experience is not the norm and that our safety campaign is not a failure. Please.
Q I noticed that left-turn traffic into Santana Row from Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose gets a green light twice during one full cycle. How is that working?
A Fairly well, it seems. The city tries this on a case-by-case basis at signals along a synchronized corridor where left turns coming off the major direction are heavy.
Said Joel-the-Traffic-Man: "We sometimes receive concerns from motorists who have 'green' envy and feel they're getting shortchanged. It is important to note that though we are serving the left-turn movement twice per cycle, we are not skipping other traffic movements.
"By serving the left turn a second time when the opposing through movement is light and there is still a steady flow of vehicles on the adjacent through movement, we are simply making use of the green time that's already there. If we did not allow an encore performance of the left-turn movement, other movements would still be waiting the same amount of time before they are given their green."
Q I've taken the Valley Transportation Authority 103 express bus to work since April. But it's really scary when I get off the bus at night and have to cross Fruitdale Avenue at the corner of St. Elizabeth Drive.
A nice policeman once told me that all corners have crosswalks, even if they aren't painted. But most times cars don't stop for me and others from the bus. We have to stop in the middle of the road and wait for the cars. We've almost been run over a few times.
So could you please help by painting a crosswalk across Fruitdale at this corner? It would be really nice if it were a zebra crosswalk with flashing lights.
A Your plea prompted the city to took a look at your request, and there's good news. The city is close to approving the Fruitdale station project at the southeast corner of Fruitdale and Southwest Expressway. As part of this project, the developer will install a traffic signal at Fruitdale and St. Elizabeth and it will include a crosswalk at the west side of intersection.
It may be mid-2014 before work ends, but help is coming.
Go to Roadshow's expanded online presence at www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow and look for rules of the road, construction updates and favorite stories. Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335.