Q I wrote to you a few weeks ago about having to drive on Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont, where a mom and her child were killed recently in a horrible crash. This street is a nightmare. Too many people insist on driving over the speed limit. It's not only residential but it's very curvy. It bends and winds its way from one end of Fremont to the other. Lots of traffic and lots of stoplights.
I know people are rushed for time, but they have to know that if you leave late you are not going to make it up by speeding.
I get so frustrated because I drive only in Fremont and Newark. I don't have to go on the freeway very much. I wish everyone would adopt a new attitude. Leave early, obey traffic laws, use your turn signal, lighten up. I enjoy red lights because I always leave early, and it's a break for me to stop.
I feel so sad and sorry for the families of this young mom and her sweet little boy. May they rest in peace.
A Your comments prompted me to ask Fremont officials whether there are plans to improve Paseo Padre Parkway. The answer is no. Here's what Jim-the-Fremont-Traffic-Czar said:
"I wouldn't know what improvements to make. The area of Paseo Padre between I-680 (Washington Boulevard) and Chadbourne Drive does have some curves in it, and when you are heading north from Washington toward Chadbourne it is downhill and many people exceed the 35 mph speed limit.
"However, there is not much that can be done to slow traffic in this area. The road is already signed at the lowest speed feasible and the roadway surface is in good condition. One of the traffic-calming features that is often employed on streets of this type is chicanes, to create curves in the road that require people to slow down to maneuver the curves. But we already have curves in this area.
"It's really the downhill that creates the speeds. Some cars, like my hybrid, need to actually apply the brakes in this stretch to keep from exceeding the speed limit.
"Overall, this is actually a fairly safe stretch of road. We have had very few accidents in this area. Ironically, where this tragic accident occurred is between Chadbourne and Driscoll, where Paseo Padre is relatively flat and straight. So the car had already come through the downhill curves and was on a flat, straight segment when it lost control doing more than twice the speed limit."
Q Could you speak to the powers that be about resolving a problem with the metering light at the 98th Avenue onramp to southbound I-880 near the Oakland Airport? Previously, this ramp consisted of three lanes, one of which was a carpool lane. A couple months ago they realigned it to only one lane. Recently, they turned on the metering light, and now, in the afternoon, traffic backs up to Doolittle and it takes half an hour to merely reach the onramp. Considering three lanes have been reduced to one, I feel they should speed up the cycling of the light and allow two cars per green.
A Caltrans did some of what you want. Engineers have sped up the meter in an attempt to allow the same rate of cars to get onto I-880 as before construction began. But the state says to allow more vehicles onto the highway faster would bring 880 to even more of a crawl than it already is. The construction barriers and a narrower lane make it harder to maneuver through here, especially for big trucks.
Workers are widening southbound 880 from Hegenberger Road to Davis Street, adding a carpool lane. Eventually, the meter at 98th Avenue will be moved back by about 50 feet and will have three lanes. Work will be completed in two years.
Q There are several large apartment complexes being built in North San Jose along River Oaks. That and Seely Drive are a mess from all of the trenching. Are the developers or the city going to repave those roads when construction is finished?
A The city says yes. The trenches in front of the various development projects will all be repaired and repaved by the developer.
Q My pet peeve is when drivers improperly use their directional turn signal. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when I was behind a U.S. postal delivery vehicle stopped at an intersection with a traffic light. The vehicle was directly in front of me in the left-turn-only lane and that person had on the directional turn signal indicating a right turn. I don't know what's worse, people who don't use the turn signals at all or using them improperly -- leaving them on for no reason. Would you please remind drivers to pay more attention to the proper use of their turn signals?
Rose Mary O'Brien
A You just did, Rose.