Q Has anyone pointed out that there lots of seat-hoggers on light rail who think nothing of sitting in an aisle seat next to an empty window seat, blocking the adjacent seat with a bag or purse, or both?
A You are the first to complain about this in many years. I've seldom seen the trolley crowded enough to make this an issue, but as ridership increases, is this now a problem?
Q I occasionally take the ACE train from Pleasanton to San Jose. (Shhh; it's the best kept commute secret in the Bay Area! I can't believe how many people in Pleasanton don't know about it. Such a fantastic way to commute.) I notice that the conductors are the same on my morning train leaving at 6:45 and my afternoon train leaving at 4:35. There are no trains between commute hours. What do conductors do all day?
A After arrival in San Jose, the three-person crews check the cars, perform light cleanup, tie up trains at the layover facility and write reports related to the morning operations and ridership for each train.
Some also help out with transit fairs, station inspections and distribution of ACE informational materials to employment centers in the Santa Clara County region.
Then crews lay over until the afternoon return trips. Exact layover times vary, but can be about six hours. Crews work four days a week because of the long hours.
Q I have a question about the Green (senior) BART tickets. Can "Add Fare" machines be used with these tickets if the value is not enough to exit at the destination station?
A No. If the green ticket is short, the add fare machine does not work. The discount is considered at the time of purchase. The add fare machine cannot distinguish the color of the ticket, so any money loaded onto a green ticket is added at nominal value and is deducted accordingly. That's why the Clipper card works so well for seniors. The senior always gets the discounted fare because the value is added at nominal value but deducted at the discount rate.
Q I just drove Interstate 5 back from Los Angeles and was shocked that northbound between Utica Road and the Highway 152 turnoff, there were virtually zero Botts' dots and very few places with either visible center line lane markings or road edge lines. What a disaster for anyone trying to drive this in the coming rainy fog season. Shame on Caltrans for allowing a major state artery to fall into such dangerous disrepair. Are there plans to correct this before winter?
A Repairs will be made, but this is a common complaint on I-5. Heavy truck traffic and the narrow roadway often results in Botts' dots being rubbed out faster than on most state freeways.
Q I was so happy to read that there are no plans to reserve the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel for carpool lanes. Yes, in the best of all words, a carpool-only tunnel would be nice, but traffic is so bad here that we need all the pavement available for everyone.
A As much as I support carpool lanes, I agree with you. The problem with traffic through the tunnel now is that there is only one bore available for nonpeak direction traffic -- only traffic is heavy both ways much of the day. And there is not enough room to extend carpool lanes on Highway 24 on either side of the Caldecott.
Q Are there plans to widen Highway 37 in the North Bay between Vallejo and Sears Point? It is only one lane in each direction there and when I have to drive to San Francisco the backups are incredible. This has to be one of the worst backups in the Bay Area.
A It is. There are no plans to widen Highway 37 west of Vallejo. The state's options are limited, and any major change is many years in the future. One option for trying to get to San Francisco from your area is to take the highway east rather than west in Vallejo, and then take I-80 across the Carquinez and Bay bridges.
One of the major reasons that this segment won't be widened in the foreseeable future is that it is within salt marsh wetlands, and the only way to widen this segment without adversely affecting the wetland habitat would be to build a raised structure, similar to the Yolo Causeway. This would be very costly.
Q I'm hoping you can ping your sources for an explanation to this inquiry. Better yet, a resolution to this minor but oh-so-annoying issue would be ideal.
A few months ago, the ramp from Washington Boulevard to I-680 south in Fremont was rebuilt. Lanes were shifted and thus the metering lights (carpool and non-carpool) had to be moved. These new positions are a pain in the neck!
With the position of the new lights and the slope of the road, the meters are not easy to see unless one leans across the passenger seat and cranes one's neck. Either the metering light pole needs to be moved forward of the limit line or else the light needs to be dropped a good 12 inches. Any help?
A Afraid not. Caltrans checked the ramp and says everything meets its standards. The signal can be seen if you stop behind the limit line.