Q I got a nasty surprise in the mail the other day. It seems that a couple of months ago a traffic camera in Australia caught me driving a bit fast. Now, I was driving the car they described at about the place and time they said I was. It was my first-ever full day of driving there, and since I was extremely focused on staying to the left side of the road instead of the right, I probably did lose track of the traffic signs and probably did go too fast. Steep fine for that lapse, though: $282 (plus foreign currency exchange fees) for what converts to 8 mph over the limit. Ouch!
I'm going to pay the fine; that's not why I'm writing. What I'm wondering is whether a foreign ticket will show up on my driving record in the U.S. and, if it does, whether I can or will need to go to traffic school to keep my insurance down.
A Rest easy. For tickets from other states, U.S. jurisdictions or Mexico, California will add a violation to your driving record and a point when appropriate. But no provisions are in place to do this for violations committed in any foreign country besides Mexico.
Q This may seem like a totally silly question, but is the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel going to have a name? Will it be named after someone or something?
And will the fourth bore be designed in cases of extreme traffic or emergencies to have three tunnels going in one direction?
A Caltrans says it will not be possible to open three bores in one direction and one bore in the other direction due to the configuration of Highway 24 on both the eastern and western sides of the tunnel. So it will be two tunnels permanently both eastbound and westbound.
Also, the fourth bore has been designed to serve emergency traffic within 72 hours after a major (non-traffic-related) event, such as an earthquake.
In answer to your other question, there are no plans to name the fourth bore. Do you have any suggestions?
Q Berkeley could wipe out its deficit by stationing patrols at the pedestrian crossings anywhere in its city, but particularly on Shattuck Avenue north of University Avenue.
A Berkeley cops have patrolled this area in the past, both looking at vehicles violating pedestrian rights of way and pedestrians committing violations. But city police say nothing imminent is planned -- although maybe a few words in Roadshow could spur some activity.
Q They are doing some work on the onramp from southbound Vasco Road to I-580 west. The problem is they set up cement walls on the right side and changed the lane, and then they put up a temporary orange fence on the left side. The fence is hard to see through while you are on a tight onramp that curves and you have a short merge with the traffic coming Vasco north. Any idea why they put it up?
A This is an environmentally sensitive area and the fence is designed to protect wildlife from the contractor's vehicles and equipment. Caltrans has placed six warning signs for the short merge on both ramps headed toward west 580. The Vasco ramp is being widened from one to three lanes, with one lane being for carpoolers. Work should be done next spring.
Q Hi Gary, HELP! The signs about the roadwork on Crow Canyon Road at first said to expect delays between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Now they read between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. This will totally change my strategy for getting from Castro Valley to Walnut Creek in the morning. But which is right?
A Crow Canyon Road is being repaved near Cold Water Drive through mid-July weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., on Saturdays from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and on Sundays from midnight to 5 a.m. Workers may be setting up earlier, but your morning commute should be OK. Traffic will be down to one lane, with a pilot car leading traffic in alternate reversing directions.
Q Do you know if they are planning on turning on the metering lights on the San Mateo Bridge? Are they new or have I just not noticed them before?
A They are not new. The meters downstream of the toll plaza were installed a few years ago. Caltrans says the current bottleneck is at the tollbooths, and once you pass there, traffic flows freely on the bridge. Current plans are to use this metering system only for managing crashes and similar incidents on the bridge. The same situation exists on the Dumbarton Bridge. Meters are in place but are not operating.
Q With the constant push to ease the flow of traffic on Bay Area roadways and carpooling, are there any plans for a park-and-ride lot for the San Mateo Bridge? The Dumbarton has one, but not Highway 92.
I carpool with co-workers from Hayward and Castro Valley, and we park off Industrial in Hayward in a neighborhood and get the "stink eye" from homeowners because we use their streets to park. I know I wouldn't be happy if cars blocked up my street for parking in front of my home all day, so I can sympathize with them.
Instead of constantly changing carpool lanes into pay lanes, the MTC should build a parking area for the people.
A This has been low on the region's priority list, and Hayward officials say they know of no plans to add a park-and-ride lot.<
Q I am glad you told us that the "peace sign" motorcyclists make are "thank you's." I just thought they might be humming tunes from the '60s!
A Here are some of my favorites from the '60s: "409," "Little Honda," "Drag City," "Dead Man's Curve," "Hey Little Cobra" and, of course, "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena."
Q For a special "Gary Award," I nominate the woman bicycling in Palo Alto the other day who was signaling her left and right turns at every intersection!
A Impressive, indeed!
Roadshow chatters: There will not be a chat today, June 5. For your Roadshow fix, go to Gary's online page 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.