Q Caltrain just informed me that on Sept. 1 both daily and monthly parking will increase by 25 percent to $5 from $4 a day and to $50 from $40 a month. That seems huge, with inflation only 2 percent. I know that they do not have a dedicated source of revenue, but we have packed rush-hour trains and revenue could not be higher. Why pick on the folks who drive to the station instead of raising fares? Somehow this does not seem fair.
A I sympathize, but Caltrain has raised parking fees only once since 2005, while fares have been increased five times during that period. Even though ridership continues to climb to record levels, costs of running the trains and maintaining parking areas also are going up, the agency says, which adds that the transit average for similar parking lots ranges anywhere from $14 to $20 a day for weekday users and $100 to $250 for monthly passes.
Q Gary, this has happened to me several times. I'm riding my motorcycle and the car in front of me uses their windshield wipers. The soapy spray goes over their car and covers me in it. The view from my helmet shield is significantly obscured and that water is all over myself and my bike.
I'm not tailgating. There can be two car lengths between the car and my bike and I still get wet. And it doesn't matter if we are moving or stopped.
I just want to get the word out. I think people just don't realize what is happening when they do this. Perhaps they could be aware who's behind them before they use the spray. Please, people, do it when nobody is behind you.
A Good advice. The spray can also startle motorists whose windshields get hit seemingly out of the blue as they roll down a highway.
Q I have a question about the railroad crossing at Castro Street and Central Expressway in Mountain View. As you approach Central and the gates are up (no train coming), there is a red light on Central. There is room for two cars across the tracks but before the tracks there is a "Stop Here On Red" sign and a blinking red light. Do you stop, look both ways and if safe (and there is empty space across the tracks), cross or do you have to stay stopped on that side of the tracks?
A This is one of those intersections that drivers have reason to fuss about. The flashing red light before the tracks means motorists should stop, look both ways and proceed only if there is space on the other side without blocking the tracks. When work on a new crossing ends in a year or so, the flashing red light will change to solid red, meaning you have to wait before the track for a green light to cross.
Q There is a lot of digging along Highway 152 between Casa de Fruta and Gilroy. What is this about?
A Caltrans is making safety improvements between Old Lake Road and San Felipe Lane. This includes repaving, widening the road to improve sight distance, and adding an 8-foot shoulder and left-turn lane for traffic turning onto Lovers Lane. Crews will also install a median rumble strip, as these have been so successful in preventing crossover crashes on nearby Highway 25. Work on the $7.9 million project should end in mid-2014.
Q I have noticed that the striping and reflectors have worn out on ramps to north I-280 from north 87, where it is especially bad merging at night. Is there any chance Caltrans can re-stripe these ramps and make them safer?
A Look for re-striping crews to be out before Labor Day.