Q Recently you wrote about problems casual carpoolers have returning in the evening from San Francisco. I wanted to offer this response for your possible use:
Hundreds of casual carpoolers from the inner East Bay take AC Transit transbay bus service back to their neighborhoods in the evening. Twenty-four lines directly serve every city from Richmond to Fremont -- including a dozen to Oakland and six to Berkeley. It's super service, with immediate access to the Bay Bridge and great views. Check it out at www.actransit.org/transbay.
We wish carpoolers would take the bus in the morning, too, but that's a pitch for another day.
A With the new Bay Bridge span now open, this is a fitting time to make your plea. A number of casual carpoolers say while it's fairly easy to find a ride in the morning into San Francisco, it's hard to find a ride for the evening trip back to the East Bay. Maybe the bus is the answer.
Q I used to casual carpool out of Lafayette to San Francisco from 1993 to 2003, from my mid-20s to early 30s.
Naturally cautious by nature, I was a little unsure about it at first, but was so tired of standing on BART and paying huge fares to do so. I never had a problem and was always completely comfortable with the drivers I rode with.
The only time I opted not to get in the first car in line was once in Orinda when there was disheveled-looking guy in a huge 1970s Cadillac with an enormous fluffy white dog in the back seat. Since I was wearing a suit, I preferred to skip being covered in dog hair.
Otherwise, I LOVED casual carpooling. I even used it when I was nine months pregnant. I think drivers were surprised to see me, but it was so much more comfortable than BART, where I was unlikely to be offered a seat despite my shape and condition, but that's another email entirely!
Thanks so much for promoting casual carpools -- what a great deal for all involved! If I were still commuting to San Francisco, I'd be using it every day, even now that you should pitch in a couple of bucks. Totally worth it!
A Yep, giving the driver a couple of dollars to help defray the $2.50 toll for carpoolers seems reasonable. But I want to know: Do BART riders really not give up their seats for a pregnant woman?
Q Mr. Roadshow, can you explain why the walkway for the new Bay Bridge was put on the south side of the bridge? This means a view toward The City or the Golden Gate Bridge is through or over the roadway. I'd like to think there was a good reason for this decision, but haven't found one yet, and it's waking me up at night!
A We cannot have that. The path has to be on the south side of the bridge to provide access for bicyclists and pedestrians coming from Oakland and Emeryville. A path on the north side would have required construction of a new bridge over Interstate 80 (or a tunnel under I-80) and a route through the environmentally sensitive tidal flats known as the Emeryville Crescent. Bridge officials say this was neither financially nor environmentally feasible.
Q I've noticed that some ramp meters in the Bay Area are turned off at 9 a.m., while others remain on until 10 a.m. When Caltrans turns on the meters on Highway 4 and Highway 242 in Contra Costa County, what will the hours be?
A They'll be on from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. and then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Monday along Highway 4 from Solano Way to Railroad Avenue and on Highway 242 from Clayton Road to Port Chicago Highway westbound. Metering lights in the eastbound direction will begin working Sept. 24.
Q Gary, we need an update on the construction at the Interstate 280-880 interchange at Valley Fair. There seems to be a lot going with orange pylons all over the Stevens Creek bridge.
A There is. Within a couple of weeks, motorists headed to eastbound Stevens Creek/San Carlos Boulevard from southbound I-880 will be able to make a left turn at the ramp signal at the Stevens Creek exit. Three right-turn lanes will remain as they do today for westbound Stevens Creek, but there will be one newly added, signalized left-turn lane to go east on Stevens Creek/San Carlos. The existing offramp loop to San Carlos will no longer be needed and will be removed.
Also, motorists headed to southbound 17 and southbound I-280 from westbound Stevens Creek will be making a left turn at the ramp signal to enter the freeway. The existing loop onramp to southbound 17 and I-280 will no longer be needed and will be removed.
Q Will the metering lights at the Interstate 680 south to 101 north interchange be back on anytime soon? That area is much more clogged at 6:30 a.m. due to the lights being out. At 6:30, there's an additional 3 to 4 minutes added to the commute, but by 7 a.m., it's about 10 minutes extra. I can only imagine it goes up after that. It looks like it has been out for a few weeks. Did someone take copper or something?
A No. The old transformer was damaged by a contractor and the advance warning sign was not working properly. When crews will fix this is not known. Until then, the metering lights will remain on solid.
Q In the 13 years we've lived in the Cambrian neighborhood, Foxworthy Avenue between Meridian Avenue and Quinto Way in San Jose has never been repaved. It is truly awful! The potholes and general deterioration of the street is slowly ruining our cars. Help! How can we get put at the top of the list for repaving?
A Bad news. The city has no current plans to repave Foxworthy. It is on the next list of streets to be considered for work if funding is found.
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