Q The 101/880 interchange needs to be completely rebuilt. It might be expensive, but it is the worst major freeway interchange in the South Bay.
A Maybe in the entire Bay Area. Many fellow drivers echo Paul and think the new carpool lanes are not the problem.
Q I don't see the new carpool lanes having anything to do with the jam-up at 101/880. If anything it improved the northern approach on 880 compared to what my commute has seen over the past two decades.
The problem is south of 101, and the cause is the poorly thought-out onramps at Coleman Avenue and First Street. They start the jam.
Perhaps you will recall a meeting of the VTA in 2006 where I asked the agency to investigate extending the First Street onramp into a separate exit lane to Coleman. That would immediately eliminate one of three choking merges that force through traffic to slow down south of 101.
There is plenty of room under the Guadalupe Bridge for this to be possible, but nothing ever was evaluated. Additionally the dual onramps from Coleman add another choking merge, one that can be easily avoided by shunting the airport feeder to the right into the regular onramp.
A Adding more auxiliary lanes in this stretch was considered as part of the I-880 corridor study that was completed in 2008. The primary recommended improvements were the I-880/I-280/Stevens Creek reconstruction that is now under way and the extension of carpool/express lanes from 101 to I-280. This would include an auxiliary lane between Coleman and First Street.
The next step would be Caltrans approval and environmental clearance. At this point, there is no funding for this work.
Q Extend the Brokaw Road onramp to south 880 all the way to the 101 offramp. This can still be done. The room is there. We just need a quick night out with the line painting crew and the commute would improve.
A There are no plans for extending the merge lane from Brokaw to 101, nor for a quick night out with the painting crew.
Q Every time I go on north 101 to get onto south 880 I'm scared out of my mind. As soon as you exit the ramp, you are thrown into the lane of 880 that has cars and trucks traveling at highway speed. I feel like one day someone will be hit and thrown off the freeway onto 101. Three times a car stopped at the top of the ramp, waiting for 880 traffic to clear before entering. This really ticks me off.
I usually avoid 101/880 and take 280 to 87 to get home when I have my toddler in the car. It's just not worth the risk.
A And ...
Q I'm a nervous driver so everything is terrifying. But my very levelheaded husband is not. So when he said merging onto 880 south from 101 north was horrible and dangerous I knew it was bad. The onramp is very short and you have other cars using the same lane to exit onto 101 south. Are there plans to improve this?
A Not anytime soon. Regional traffic officials had hoped to begin a study of the interchange in 2011, but three years later nothing has happened.