Q I'm curious. How do police monitor parking spaces that are on the streets as well as parking lots that are marked with signs "2 Hour Limit" or any other time limit, like in downtown Campbell?
I used to see meter maids riding on their small vehicles marking tires with chalk sticks, and then come back when the time limit has passed and ticket vehicles with marked tires. I don't see any markings on the tires anymore. Do they take photos of the license plate? If one moves their vehicle to a nearby parking slot, a new time limit is in effect, right?
A Don't call them meter maids! I did that once and was lambasted by a male parking control officer.
Campbell has officers responsible for parking enforcement downtown. Parking there is limited to two hours on the street, with unrestricted parking available in the three-level parking garage on Second and Third streets north of Campbell Avenue.
To track how long vehicles have been parked in time-restricted zones, these officers use a chalk stick to mark the tires of the parked vehicles. They then return after the time restriction has passed, and if the vehicle is still parked there in violation of the time zone restriction, a ticket is issued. This vehicle must travel a minimum of one mile before it can legally park in another time-restricted zone.
Occasionally someone will try and remove the chalk mark. But parking officers will note the odometer reading, if visible, at the time of marking, then recheck it after the time period has passed to determine if it is legally parked.
In some cities, including San Jose, parking officers use electronic handheld citation writers that have built-in cameras that can be used to check how long someone has parked in a timed spot.
Q I just ran across the paper from Sept. 22 (it didn't get in the recycle bin somehow) and your article calling for gas prices to drop by 40 to 45 cents from around $4 a gallon has come to pass. I paid $3.539 at Costco in Gilroy last Tuesday. Nice work!
A Sort of. That story quoted energy analysts as saying California gas prices would fall to an average of $3.60 or so a gallon by Halloween. While prices continue to slide, our average on Friday was $3.75 a gallon compared to the national average of $3.32.
Experts now say the decline could continue until the end of the year. One reason is that crude oil prices have fallen by nearly $8 a barrel in the past month to under $98.
Q I was spitting my coffee last week as I read that the state is spending $36 million on "trailblazer" signs between Highway 101 and El Camino Real in San Mateo County when we need it for potholes! May I suggest an old-fashioned method of using cops to direct traffic if needed.
A You may. The signs will be used to guide traffic from 101 to El Camino or other streets when a major incident hits 101, but there are more than signs being installed.
The new system gives all the cities and Caltrans along the corridor the ability to view and revise signal timing remotely. That alone may be worth the $35 million cost. Caltrans says the current work will end soon, but it will be another year before all work is completed.