Q They have finally finished work on Interstate 580 westbound by the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, which had been making my morning Oakland-San Rafael commute into a game to see how early I had to get up to miss the bottleneck (4 a.m. worked nicely, thank you).
Now they've rerouted traffic going east, just after the bridge, making the evening commute into a two-hour affair. So I can either try to leave my office at 4 or earlier, or hang around until 8 at night.
This happens right as you get off the bridge and is throttling the flow like a living, seething hell. How long will I have to shift my work schedule to avoid it?
A The current lane configuration should be over by the end of the month. One phase of work remains on the right side of the bridge, so lanes will be shifted to the left near Halloween. Work should be finished in December, but there may be some paving that will have to be completed next spring.
Q It appears the Loveridge Road offramp and overpass off Highway 4 in Pittsburg are, thankfully, almost finished! However, when you exit going east, you come to a stoplight with a brand new sign forbidding right turns on red. None of us can figure out the reason, since right turns after a stop have been OK in the past. Do you have any idea why the change?
A Stay tuned, for the "No Turn on Red" may be lifted. The ban was done for safety reasons during construction. Caltrans will make a final ruling soon.
Q Is there any way to speed up the opening of the fourth bore at the Caldecott Tunnel? It sure would be nice to have it open if there is a BART strike.
A That it would, but more work is needed and the target date remains later this year.
Q Although a BART strike will shut down the AirBART shuttle to the Oakland airport, there is an alternative. AC Transit buses service Hegenberger Road/73rd Avenue from the airport to Eastmont Town Center via the 73 Bus. AC's adult fare is $2.10 one way, and you can get a BART-to-bus/bus-to-BART transfer that will save, I believe, 15 cents, and is good for three days.
A Here's hoping all BART trains and buses are on the road come Friday.
Q I have been commuting over the Dumbarton Bridge for the past six years and traffic has never been this bad. It crawls from the toll plaza to University Avenue.
A And ...
Q Traffic on Bayfront Expressway leading up to the Dumbarton Bridge has worsened since the last month. Not sure if more people have moved to the East Bay or if the signal timing at Willow Road where Facebook is has been changed. Are changes planned, since there is going to be increased traffic after the new Facebook building is constructed?
A This commute is quickly becoming one of the region's worst. Traffic has increased nearly 5 percent over the past year on the Dumbarton -- the biggest jump on any of the seven state bridges in the Bay Area. Anytime traffic goes up 3 percent or more, it's going to get ugly. The Richmond Bridge is next at a traffic increase of 4.1 percent, followed by a 3.3 percent increase on the San Mateo Bridge, 2.4 percent on the Benicia, 2 percent on the Antioch Bridge, 1.25 percent on the Bay Bridge and 0.75 percent on the Carquinez.
Caltrans will review the timing of the signals on the west side, but Min-the-Lights-Man observes: "Sometimes there is more traffic than there are traffic lanes. If we favor one direction, it usually adversely affects other movements. ... We may not be able to address the issue with signal timing."
There are plans to improve turning lanes on the Menlo Park side and add express lanes on the approach to the Dumbarton toll plaza. That will help, but I fear traffic tie-ups are going to get nastier.
What you can do: Change the time you travel (earlier or later); consider taking the Dumbarton Express bus or put on some good music and chill the best you can.
Q Last year Caltrans repaved the eastbound lanes of El Camino Real in Sunnyvale and they were supposed to return this year and repave the westbound lanes. So far this year, no repaving. When will Caltrans finish repaving El Camino?
A Any day now. The state says the contractor is about ready to roll.
Q You have helped so many times, but I must plead with you to wave your magic wand yet again to help with this frustrating issue on the west side of Santa Cruz. Once a month I have an appointment on Union Street at the corner of Mission and Union. There is absolutely no problem turning left from Mission onto Union -- the left-turn light works perfectly. However, when trying to leave Union it is like you are stuck in the song "Hotel California." You know the part that says "but you can never leave." The traffic light just stays red and red and red.
I have sat through three cycles of signals and the light for the car on Union just will not change to green. Twice now after sitting through these three cycles I have given up and when it was safe to do so I turn right on the red light.
Could you please use your considerable powers of persuasion and have somebody fix this never-changing traffic light? I and so many others would be eternally grateful.
A City engineers came out and checked the signal and had no problem getting a green light to turn right. It's possible that if you pull far enough over to the right you could drive off the detector loops and not be detected for a green light. Try staying to your left a little more. If problems persist, give the city a call at 831-420-5160.