Q Whom does one complain to about billboards? There is a new, really hideous one for liposuction on Highway 101 between Ralston Avenue and Hillsdale Boulevard. Think of the before and after profile of some unfortunate person's nether regions. And the billboard is huge! The words "visual pollution" and "vulgar" and "blight" come to mind every morning as my eyes are helplessly drawn toward it. Are there guidelines that might address this?

Ruth Anderson

San Carlos

A There are. Caltrans grants permits for billboards and will have an inspector review this one to ensure that it is in compliance with the Outdoor Advertising Act and Regulations. Go to www.dot.ca.gov/oda/coordinators.htm to file a complaint.

Now my turn to ask a question: What are the billboards you detest the most, and what are the ones you like or even bring a smile to your face? I miss the whale sign on Highway 17 before entering Santa Cruz.

Q Are there any plans to fix the washboard lane on Interstate 880 south around the merge with I-980? This is not only causing needless wear and tear on car and truck suspension systems, it's dangerous, as it leads drivers to slow down unexpectedly or if they don't be in less than ideal control as they bounce up and down. And in many cases drivers change lanes quickly and sometimes unexpectedly to get out of the lane, potentially causing accidents. I know there are a lot of road projects, but this one is long overdue.

Dave Ruede

Berkeley

A Relief at last! Caltrans says the rehab job is getting started. Crews are re-striping the freeway to prepare for the crack and seal portion of work.

Q At the new BART station in west Dublin/Pleasanton, there is a 10-inch or so black, bumpy rubber strip running down the middle of the pedestrian bridges that go to the parking structures. I can't figure out if they're some sort of accessibility device, decorative, or who knows what. Do you know?

Traci Cook

Pleasanton

A This is called a detectable pathway for use by the blind and sight-impaired to help guide them into and out of the station.

Q Why did Caltrans rip out the bushes on Interstate 880 before Brokaw Road?

Nancy Hannigan

A They were in the way. Caltrans is shifting the Brokaw Road northbound offramp 70 feet to the east. Crews needed to tear out the bushes to do that work and add a carpool lane on the freeway. But they will plant new trees and bushes to replace the removed vegetation and Caltrans promises there will be more trees than were yanked out.

Q Help! When will they be finished tearing up the street and sidewalks by Race Street in San Jose?

Amy Sargent

A In July. There are a number of improvements being made in front of the new apartment community next to the Race Street light rail station. Much of this work involves the relocation and upgrade of utilities, which takes time. Detours directing pedestrians to the opposite side of the street have been in place and the developer hopes to have these improvements completed and the sidewalk reopened in mid-July.

Q We all know it's OK to make a right turn on a red light from the right-hand lane. But when there are two lanes that must turn right, is it OK to turn right on a red from the inside lane not adjacent to the curb? And is it OK to honk at the driver who won't go through the red light from the inside lane?

Chuck Afflerbach

Oakland

A You can turn right on red from any lane marked for a right turn after first coming to a complete stop if it is safe to do so. Would I honk? No. The driver ahead of you might not understand why you are honking, or could be seeing a pedestrian or bicyclist or oncoming traffic that you can't. Either way, it could lead to an angry confrontation.

Q There is this sign at the northwest corner of Jarvis Avenue and Newark Boulevard in Newark that says "STOP HERE ON RED." I have no idea why it is there.

The first time I encountered this, I was going southbound on Newark and the right turn signal was red. There were six to seven cars in front of me, most of them blowing their horns as the person at front of the queue refused to move until the light turned green.

Later on the same day, I was at this intersection again and a lot of cars were backed up, with drivers blowing their horns. The person at the front of the queue refused to move, putting her left hand out of the window and pointing to the sign. I can only assume she was fearful of getting a red-light camera ticket, as they are at that intersection.

Juanita P.

A It's legal to make a right turn on a red light after first stopping at this location. This sign only tells you where to stop. It's positioned so drivers do not pull too far ahead when stopping.

Q I'm in a state of confusion. I grew up in New York and have been a bike rider for over 60 years (I'm 74). When I grew up I was told to ride toward oncoming traffic. That way I have an escape if a car approaches too closely. If one comes up behind me and I am riding with traffic, I have no way to escape.

Hal Brown

Pleasanton

A And ...

Q Here's my conundrum. I commute by bike on Concord Boulevard in Concord. There is a parking lane and bike lane on the north side of the street traveling west, separated from the traffic lane by a white line. There is a parking lane on the south side of the street, separated by a white line from the traffic lane. Signs on poles on the north side inform cyclists to ride with traffic, implying that when traveling east, bikes should ride in the parking lane.

However, this doesn't feel safe to me, and I would much rather ride against traffic in the northerly parking lane, slipping into the bike lane only long enough to go around a parked car. This keeps me as far away as possible from traffic and I feel a lot safer being separated from traffic by the additional width of both the bike lane and the parking lane on the north side of the street. Also, I would much rather face oncoming traffic, where I can see what's going on ahead of me, rather than risk being hit from behind by a car. Ideally, there would be bike lanes on both sides of the street.

I would appreciate your discussing the legal implications of riding in the bike lane on the "wrong" side of the street, and also what the penalties might be if I get stopped. Also, are there any plans to add a bike lane to the south side of the street?

Ron Glas

Concord

A Don't ride the wrong way. Bicyclists are required to ride in the same direction as traffic, even when there is a bike lane only on one side of the street. This is what motorists expect and provides the most safety. A ticket could run $150 or more. The city will be repaving Concord Boulevard around Sixth Street possibly later this year and is hoping to add a bike lane on the southbound side.

Q Is an auxiliary lane on north Interstate 880 from north Highway 101 to Brokaw Road in the plans?

Bob Brasher

A No.

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