Q I've been noting for months the construction of what appears to be a light-rail connection from the Coliseum BART station to the Oakland airport. When will this be completed, how often will it run, and where will it go in the airport?
A By November or December, the automated train (no driver) will connect the BART station at the Oakland Coliseum with the airport on a mostly elevated guideway that spans the length of Hegenberger Road. It will likely charge a standard fare of $6 and make the trek directly to the airport in less than 8½ minutes, with vehicles departing every four minutes. The project will cost $484 million. Testing of trains began a couple of weeks ago.
Q Amtrak question. You up for it? A couple of years ago the Amtrak Coast Starlight stopped using the Richmond BART station. Not sure why, as there is no other way to access BART from this train. My question: Will the Coast Starlight use the new BART-Oakland airport station once the new tram starts up? Seems like such a good fit. BART connection, new airport tram, sports.
A I agree, but Union Pacific Railroad says no. It discontinued the stop two years ago because of scheduling conflicts.
Q I wanted to know why gas prices in the Campbell area have dropped 30 cents a gallon in the past month but in Livermore and in the Tri-Valley area only 10 cents a gallon? Can't be competition? Zone pricing?
A This is one of those mysteries at the pump. Usually, prices in places such as Livermore are less expensive than in the South Bay, but occasionally it gets turned upside down. Since I live near Campbell and am paying $3.79 a gallon, I'm not complaining.
Q There is one place where being a road boulder deserves a ticket: the toll-carpool lanes on Interstate 680. I got caught behind someone going 55 mph on the southbound toll lane from Vallecitos Road to Mission Boulevard, and a convoy of angry cars piled up behind me. The other lanes were moving faster, but there was no legal way to get out of the lane except at a very few locations.
So I waited for one of those few locations and zipped around the road boulder on the right, getting it done as quickly as I could and then settling back down to 65. What happened next?
A cop with flashers! He pulled me over for going 81 mph while I did my passing maneuver. He apparently did not care about the quarter-mile worth of cars piled up behind the slow driver. It's my first and only "speeding ticket" in 15 years.
If people aren't planning to go near the limit in the toll lanes, they should not get in it in the first place. I think CHP pulled over the wrong guy.
P.S. I was driving a Tesla Roadster, a cop magnet if there ever was one.
A I agree, but 81 mph? I would have stayed in the toll lane at 55.
Q I am curious about all the three-way signals on Bowers Avenue between El Camino Real and Monroe Street in Santa Clara. Is there a good reason why these signals are three-way? They are maddening! Hopefully you can use some of your clout to get these converted to regular four-way signals.
A I hate three-way signals as well. The city has looked at converting lights from three-way to normal four-way signals in the past. But residents' concerns and desire to maintain on-street parking in front of their houses stopped those plans. Bowers is not wide enough to provide two lanes in each direction, a left-turn pocket and on-street parking without purchasing frontyards of properties near the intersection.
Q I am not impressed with the food at Levi's Stadium -- hot dog, $6.50. On a bun that was hard.