Q When I got on Interstate 580 in Castro Valley one morning around 11 a.m., I was expecting an easy drive to Dublin. I had only gone about 2 miles when I saw brake lights up ahead and pretty soon traffic stopped. It was stop-and-go until we reached the top of the Dublin grade and got past the machine sweeping the fast lane of the freeway.
This isn't the first time this has happened to me, and I've heard others talking about it on other freeways, too. Can't they do sweeping at night? They have plenty of lights on the machine, and the truck that goes along with it has a lit-up arrow pointing to the right.
A No, but first ...
Q What's the protocol for exiting a freeway while a rolling Caltrans street sweeper brigade is moving through the ramp area? If you sit behind the last Caltrans truck moving through the area, you risk getting rear-ended, and I know you can't dart through a rolling block. Sometimes the next exit is miles down the road.
A This is a dangerous operation since the trucks are moving, and that's why this work is done during the day when visibility is better.
You have "nailed the three options," says Steve-the-CHP-Man. "One is unsafe, one is illegal and one is inconvenient. I am going to endorse the inconvenient option (taking the next exit). Sometimes life does put roadblocks in front of you, both figuratively and literally."
"If the last warning vehicle, or first for the public, indicates to move over with an arrow, then the public must move over a lane to avoid a collision. If the sign indicates a four dot or caution mode, then the public can follow along until given the right to pass.
"We normally stop at the entrance to the ramps and allow the sweepers to put down the brooms and then proceed down the ramp. We may sweep both sides of the ramp and shadow trucks will follow sweepers down the ramp slowly until they get to the end and will move over to let traffic through. Drivers normally wait and slowly follow the trucks down the ramp, or go to the next exit, their choice."
He adds that drivers can put on their emergency flashers as a suggestion while they wait behind the sweepers/trucks. If you try to drive through the operation, the California Highway Patrol can ticket you.
Q I live near the new Warm Springs BART station currently under construction. It would be helpful to know the projections for travel times between this station and my work in San Jose near First and Tasman. The current drive time is 15 minutes not during rush hour and 25 minutes during rush hour.
A Figure on 16½ minutes. Travel time from the future BART Warm Springs station to the Milpitas station will be 7½ minutes, with nine minutes more on light rail to First and Tasman.
Q Same question to the San Jose airport. Current drive times are 20 to 30 minutes.
A This will be a 42½-minute trek. It will take an extra 26 minutes on light rail to the airport via the Airport Flyer bus.