Q My commute covers just about the entire stretch of Highway 85, and I am writing regarding the display of messages on the electronic sign near Winchester Boulevard. While I fully support the use of electronic signs for displaying Amber Alerts and other emergencies, I noticed that it is also being used at increasing regularity for other public service messages that unnecessarily cause a backup for a mile or so that eases up immediately after the sign.

For example, for the past week it has read:

"SEVERE DROUGHT. HELP SAVE WATER."

Just about everyone in the Bay Area knows we are in the middle of a serious drought. Is it really necessary to bring traffic to a complete crawl for 1.5 miles during commute hours to drive home (no pun intended!) the point?

I sincerely hope that the highway authorities weigh the pros and cons of displaying public service announcements in a high-impact area such as electronic signs along the highway.

Vijay Baskaran

A And ...

Q "SERIOUS DROUGHT. HELP SAVE WATER." What does this have to do with highway safety? This is a good way to train people to ignore the electronic signs on the highways.

Frank Gurnee

Fremont

A The drought message was flashed on 700 electronic signs across California but will be used only sporadically through the rest of the year. The signs will be activated when there are no critical emergency or traffic safety messages or Amber Alerts.


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Q On the westbound underpass on Mission Boulevard from Warm Springs to Interstate 880, the lane markers are missing because of all the construction. Many times I have almost been pushed into the concrete barrier because the person next to me didn't know they were coming over in my lane. Could they put up some temporary markers?

Bob Leibbrand

San Jose

A They can. Roadwork is planned Wednesday, and this will be addressed as part of that job.

Q You had an item about stopping when a school bus has its red lights flashing. What about when the bus is stopped at the curb with the amber lights flashing?

John Unger

A Proceed with caution. The bus driver must activate the amber lights 200 feet before the bus stop. The driver then turns off the amber lights after reaching the stop.

Q The new ramp from southbound Cottle Road to north Highway 85 has no carpool lane. I was looking forward to the ease of making a right turn onto the freeway vs. the old entrance ramp, so having no carpool entrance lane seems, well, stupid. I drive a vehicle that uses compressed natural gas, and access to the carpool ramp can save 5 to 10 minutes on the commute. Please tell me this is only temporary.

Curt Sellers

San Jose

A Afraid not. Caltrans says both lanes on the loop ramp will be open to solo drivers, as future traffic demands will be too high to meter with only one lane for solo drivers. The ramp is too narrow for a third lane for carpoolers on the loop ramp.

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.