Q Isn't it time that someone says out loud that express freeways should be in our near future?

Michael Healy

Concord

A Express what?

Q An express freeway would be an elevated multilane freeway with an entrance at the beginning and an exit at the end. These elevated freeways would take long-distance commuters off surface freeways, returning them to a workable efficient state, such as on Interstate 680 from Mission Boulevard up to Highway 4, and I-580 from 238 to 205 or beyond. Other candidates would be I-80 and I-880 through the East Bay.

I have a feeling people would vote for something like that over the high-speed rail project. I know it's a crazy idea.

Michael Healy

Concord

A Not crazy to you and another reader.

Q On your story about increased traffic congestion in the Bay Area, you made a comment that too many of us were driving solo and should feel guilty about that. I took that as being real nasty of you.

Well, Gary, there is a flip side to better traffic. Maybe Highway 101 should have eight lanes each way -- four on bottom, four on top. I think government ineptness is leaving us all this traffic. We should have planned for this years ago. Why don't you come up with a solution instead of blaming solo drivers and push for wider and more highways?

Mike Prevot

A We are virtually done with plans to add more pavement. The approach to our growing traffic woes includes more carpool and toll lanes, all-electronic tolling on our bridges, interchange fixes, better traffic signal coordination on city streets, more metering lights, more telecommuting and expanding BART.

I asked a few experts how much it would cost to double-deck freeways such as I-680. After they stopped laughing, the typical response was: "Billions."

Q Your article on traffic delays contains one glaring error: "metering lights, and when they don't work, highway traffic backs up." Actually, the opposite is true. When they do work, traffic backs up. I offer as evidence Highway 4 and Highway 242 in Contra Costa County.

Caltrans turned on the metering lights for the first time a few months ago, and traffic is backed up in long lines on Evora Road and Willow Pass Road and East Street. Metering lights do NOT relieve traffic congestion. They create it.

Neil Mitchel

Martinez

A Then why, when a meter light is not working, do I get dozens of calls from commuters complaining about increased delays on the freeway and begging for meters to be repaired immediately?

Q What is the deal with the ugly green fabric fence under the BART tracks at the Walnut Creek station? It seems like it's been there for years. It's tattered and tilting and a real eyesore. Is it permanent?

Ann Walker

A No. This is a fence protecting the construction zone that is part of BART's earthquake safety retrofit program. The work at Walnut Creek is scheduled to be completed in June. The project will also strengthen 33 other stations, 22 miles of elevated track, parking structures and the Transbay Tube.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.