Q The crosswalks along El Camino Real in Millbrae are very unsafe due to the fact that they don't have traffic signals at certain crosswalks. Can Caltrans install flashing lights at these crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing so drivers can get a heads up that someone is crossing El Camino?
A Your wish will be granted. The state will install rapid-flashing beacons at several intersections in Millbrae and elsewhere on El Camino.
El Camino is considered the most dangerous street for pedestrians in the Bay Area, according to a review of traffic fatalities by the Center for Investigative Reporting a year ago. Of the 59 people killed in traffic collisions on this street between 2002 and 2011, 37 -- about two-thirds -- were pedestrians. By comparison, 22 percent of the 2,791 people killed in car crashes statewide in 2011 were pedestrians. Beacons will be installed at La Cruz, Taylor Boulevard, Ludeman Lane, Park Boulevard and San Diego Avenue. Work will begin in late 2016.
Q Every day I drive from the Highway 92 interchange on Interstate 280 to 19th Avenue in the city. This drive has more than 30 potholes in the fast lane and next lane bigger than 1 foot in size. When will Caltrans do pothole maintenance on 280?
A Temporary repairs were made Monday; permanent repairs are coming in a few weeks.
Q I read your column regarding plans to put a roundabout at Pacific and Beach streets in Santa Cruz, and I'm not for it. There is another roundabout a couple hundred yards away at Pacific and Center streets and I've had to wait quite a while to enter the roundabout from Center because there's a steady stream of cars that flow from Pacific, all nose to tail, and they don't let anyone else merge. There has to be a better solution.
A This a horrendous intersection but most studies indicate that roundabouts can be a significant safety upgrade. They do take some getting used to -- including by driverless cars. Google reported that one of its vehicles went round and round about a half-dozen times as it tried negotiating a roundabout off Interstate 80 near Reno.
Q I have always driven with my doors unlocked, thinking that in an emergency it would be easier for a rescuer to get access. But I recently bought a Ford C-Max hybrid (which can run circles around the Prius; take a test drive!) and the doors lock automatically. I can override that, but is there research that indicates which option is safer?
A Police and safety advocates both say locking your doors is much safer. Rescuers can always break a window to get inside.
Q The bridges on Central Expressway over Lawrence and San Tomas have large potholes between the road and the bridges. Any chance these problems will be fixed in the near future? I'm afraid I might blow a tire one day.
A Yep, and soon. Temporary repairs are being made and next month more permanent patchwork will be completed.