Q I am a responsible parent and I want to know what the law is when it comes to entering a store to pick up a few items with a child inside my car.
I have a 7½-year old who is perfectly happy to sit in the car with a book while I get some groceries. I generally do not allow her to do so. While I trust her, the last thing I want to see is someone dial 911 and get police to grab my kids and have a case slapped on me.
And is the law the same when it comes to the parent picking up groceries from a Safeway vs. some smaller convenience store with the kid inside and just a few feet away from the store?
A It is illegal to leave a child 6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle when there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child's health or safety. What is significant? Leaving a child in a closed car on a very hot day, for sure. And parking at the far end of a large parking lot may also qualify.
Q Also, what about having two kids in the car, with the older one being 7½ and the second 4 years old?
I am sure this will be a great help to a ton of parents, especially the ones who have two kids and who they are shuttling here and there and trying to pick up some stuff on the way home from school after picking up their kids.
A California's vehicle code says if the child is 6 years or younger, the other person in the car must be 12 or older.
Q What are they doing to Calabazas Boulevard in Santa Clara between El Camino Real and Cabrillo? It is a divided road with the creek running down the middle, two lanes plus a bike lane in both directions. Recently new temporary lines have been drawn that appear to be reducing the lanes to one for cars, and a no man's land between the left bike lane and the car lane. I miss my wide boulevard! What is the point of this?
A To make the road safer. The city received a federal grant to improve safety along the on-street portion of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail. Numerous public meetings were held and it was decided to reduce one travel lane on each side of Calabazas and place the lone bicycle lane against the creek.
While removing a lane of traffic will raise the ire of many, city officials believe there will be several benefits. It will reduce the number of vehicles needing to cross the left side bicycle lane. The only crossings will be at stop signs or intersections with traffic lights. The changes should also ease driveway conflicts and lessen right-hook collisions with bicyclists.
Numerous signs and messages informing everyone of the changes will be installed soon. Work will be done within a few weeks.
Q I read about Caltrans' efforts to get drivers to slow down before the railroad crossing on Highway 129 near Aromas by installing special road markings. What they need to do is straighten the curve.
A That is in the works. Caltrans is designing a project to improve the alignment through here to reduce the number of crashes at the curve at the Union Pacific underpass. Construction could begin late next year.
For now, the state has installed speed reduction lane markings in a pattern of progressively reduced spacing to give drivers the impression that their speed is increasing.
Q I've been hearing a lot about the new Tesla Model S. Elon Musk says he intends to make a less expensive version of the Model S. Is there any truth to the rumor that he intends to call it the Model T?
A Only if it has a hand crank in the front.