Q I thought I had seen it all during the morning commute. Men shaving (both blade and electric); women applying makeup; people reading newspapers; people eating cereal; the list is nearly endless. I honestly thought no one could surprise me anymore. I was wrong:
I saw a woman PAINTING HER TOENAILS as she drove eastbound on the 237 freeway. She had her left foot up on the dashboard in front of the A/C vent so the cool, dry air would blow across her toes, and she was painting her toenails as she drove during the afternoon commute. I'll confess to being a "distracted driver" when I witnessed it. I drove alongside for a minute to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. Sadly, they were not.
This is just another reason why I'm glad I am now a BART commuter and no longer have to deal with the challenge that is commuting to the South Bay. BART may have its own sets of issues, but at least I don't have to deal with driving on the freeways anymore.
A Some antics on the road leave me speechless.
Q I am a part-time carpooler who hates the diamond lane on Interstate 880 from Milpitas to near Oakland. Why? Because more often than not it is just as jammed as the non-carpool lanes. There is clear evidence to me that either one of the existing lanes for solo motorists needs to be reserved for carpoolers or the freeway needs to be widened to add a second carpool lane. Any chance of either happening?
A Afraid not. The carpool lane widening from Hegenberger Road in Oakland south to just north of Davis Street will add a single carpool lane, except for brief stretches at the merging points.
There are plans for a double carpool lane on eastbound Interstate 580 in Alameda County from Hacienda Drive to Vasco Road. And Santa Clara County will install a second carpool lane on 101 and perhaps 85, where traffic demand is the highest.
Q The Benicia Bridge is not the only place where Caltrans does not have sufficient cash lanes open at various times. We often see it at the Bay Bridge when the FasTrak lanes are moving at the limit and the metering lights are off.
A This is frustrating.
Q Now that Oakland discovered $29 million, is there any chance of pothole repairs?
A You better believe it. The city has added $900,000 for additional street improvements and paving after an unexpected $29 million windfall from the hot real estate market. Which roads get repaired will be decided over the next few months.
But the extra $900,000 is just a drop in the city's paving bucket. Oakland would have to spend about $435 million to repair all its streets. It now spends around $4.9 million a year. If Alameda County voters approve a half-cent sales tax hike in November, $1.3 billion would be earmarked over the next 30 years for street repairs in Oakland.
Q On a trip to Reno, I noticed that the lane striping on Interstate 680 in Danville had two black dashes followed by a single white dash. This sure made the lanes stand out on the white concrete. Is this some kind of test?
I would guess it would also make the lane much easier to see in the rain or fog. It was really nice.
A This striping is installed in areas where contrast in lane lines improve safety, typically on cement concrete where two black skips are installed between the white skips to help the white lines stand out from the lighter concrete.
Q I also determined that the speed limit on the southbound I-680 toll lane over the Sunol Grade is 77 mph. At that speed I was able to keep from getting run off the road.
A Slow it down, folks. Please.