Q On Jan. 1 I made a stupid mistake at Sloat Boulevard and 19th Avenue in San Francisco and ran the red light. A camera flashed, but here it is mid-February and I haven't heard anything. Is this no news good news? Or should I follow up to see if I am getting a ticket?
A You'll like this: No news should be good news. San Francisco mails out red-light tickets within 11 days if they are deemed valid by police. State law gives cities 15 days to do this, but Bond-the-Traffic-Man says San Francisco's "requirement is 11 days since we're trying to be more responsive and not leave people hanging."
As for the light, he suspects the flash could have been caused by someone else in a nearby lane or by a camera technician testing the flashing unit while you were passing through the intersection.
Now, more from the streets of San Francisco.
Q I am contacting you about an ongoing problem in San Francisco where the main access to Highway 101 is Oak Street, via the Octavia Boulevard onramp through Hayes Valley.
A significant congestion problem is created because the city allows street parking in the far-right turn lane on Oak in the last block between Laguna and Octavia. This creates a significant backup for two to three blocks.
Additionally, because the far-right lane is blocked (there are two right-turn lanes), cars continuously drive in the nonturning lane up to the last half block and then force their way into the turning lanes.
This is truly a simple problem to fix: prohibit street parking on this entire block seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Any help you can provide to get this fixed would greatly affect a lot of commuters in San Francisco.
A This has been an issue for years and the city and nearby residents are showing signs of agreeing to improve this situation, possibly by extending the no-parking zone, which will allow for two right-turn lanes for maybe an additional 150 feet. Stay tuned.
Q The markings are all gone on the Octavia Boulevard onramp in San Francisco where it crosses Market Street onto 101 and Interstate 80. So people make their own lane and it is really dangerous and horrible there at night. Can they re-stripe it?
A Mrs. Roadshow and I were up there recently and -- yikes! -- you are right. City engineers checked it out and found only about half the lane markings remain. In May, crews will begin work to upgrade the crosswalks and that's when they will repaint the lane lines.
Q Why was the speed limit on Valencia Street in San Francisco set at 13 mph when improved bike lanes were added? Do they expect traffic to drive at the same speed as bicyclists? That's ridiculous!
A City officials say the change from 25 mph to 13 mph allows bicyclists traveling at a moderate pace to encounter a green light at 10 consecutive traffic signals in either direction between 16th and 25th streets. This timing also encourages slower auto speeds, which improves pedestrian safety and also makes it easier for cyclists to make left turns.
At 13 mph, there is a window of time during which a bicyclist or motorist can enter the first intersection and be able to catch successive green lights. At 25 mph, this window would be much smaller, and more cyclists and motorists would catch red lights.
If you want to go faster, nearby parallel streets can accommodate faster traffic.
Q What is the date of getting rid of the toll collectors on the Golden Gate Bridge?
A Tentatively, March 27. Testing on the switch to all-electronic tolling is under way to determine whether March 27 remains the date.