Q I just have to write after having way too many close calls on Highway 17. I commute from Bear Creek Road to 17, and usually past Hamilton Avenue is where the close calls happen. When I want to change lanes, I turn my blinker on for three blinks.

Shelley Marx

Boulder Creek

A Good.

Q I look in my mirrors.

Shelley Marx

A Good again.

Q I then turn my head to see what's in my blind spot, and start to change lanes.

Shelley Marx

A You are on your way to the Roadshow Hall of Fame for your smart driving habits! But ...

Q Invariably, I find that there is another car moving into the same lane as the one I start to move to. Except that the other car didn't have its blinker on, and is usually going faster than I am. So I do a quickstep and rapidly dance back into my lane before I get sideswiped.

Is there anything more I can be doing (other than thanking my lucky stars)? Any suggestions?

Shelley Marx

A Merging chaos reigns here as the highway widens and drivers must decide on taking the right lanes to Interstate 280 and Valley Fair or staying left to go north on 880. My only tip is to try to avoid any lane changing. Move into the lane you need to be in before Hamilton and stay there until past 280.

Q Over the hill in Santa Cruz we have achieved better traffic flow by adding merge lanes to Highway 1. It finally dawned on me that merge lanes on Highway 17 between Highway 9 and Lark Avenue would do wonders for one of the bigger bottlenecks in Santa Clara County. Has this been discussed?

Bart Coddington

Aptos

A There are no plans to add a merging lane here, but there has been talk of turning on the metering lights at Highway 9, thinking that would help the flow of traffic on 17. That is on hold until funding can be found.

Q I was on Highway 101 near Morgan Hill. A tractor-trailer was in the right lane. The corner of a cement slab segment was cracked, and as the heavily loaded tractor went over the crosswise expansion crack near the break in the pavement, a jet of water shot up about 18 inches high. I never saw that happen before. I guess we know what is going to happen to that piece of road, if there is that much movement in the pavement when the trucks go over.

Al Williams

San Jose

A And that is why Caltrans will be replacing some concrete slabs on this area of 101 this summer.

Q I saw your piece about the San Tomas Expressway widening and the plan to remove 280 trees. I am saddened by this. Those trees are magnificent and I have barely stopped agonizing about the removal of some 20 trees between El Camino and Cabrillo a few months ago. Reading this article has given me profound grief already.

Suresh Raman

Santa Clara

A I understand.

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