Q Nice to hear about the pending improvements to the Capitol Expressway-Yerba Buena northbound entrance to Highway 101. But the recently completed improvements to southbound 101 are only a partial success. Southbound exiting traffic still backs up for one-half mile with folks cutting in at the last minute from the left and from the right. We need two separate exits, not one mega-exit that backs up traffic and creates a safety hazard.
A Good news. A new southbound exit to Yerba Buena is part of this project that will be under construction later this year in San Jose. Said Brandi-the-VTA-Spokeswoman: "This should mitigate the current problem which is created because of motorists having to pass through the Capitol Expressway offramp to reach Yerba Buena. In a perfect world, these improvements would have happened under one project (with the Tully-101 upgrade), but due to lack of state funding when VTA and Caltrans were ready to move, corridor improvements had to be split into two phases."
Q Is BART considering building a track transition south of the Bayfair Station to allow trains going north from Fremont and eventually San Jose to travel east toward Dublin and Pleasanton? If not, this should be considered. Such a transition will be incredibly valuable to Tri-Valley and Santa Clara County residents in that it would facilitate a new "Silicon Valley/Pleasanton"
A Alas, the answer is no. It was studied and found to be too costly. But once service to the South Bay begins in a few years, transit officials will have a better sense of where riders are coming from and may review your wish again. Said one VTA official: "Never say never."
Q Paving was recently completed in the carpool lane from Danville to just past the Alcosta exit on Interstate 680. I'm not sure if it is a mistake or if they have extended the carpool lane. At approximately Alcosta, the "CARPOOL ENDS" sign is posted, but the diamond on the pavement continues for approximately a quarter of a mile. Have they extended the lane or did someone make a mistake?
A It's a mistake. The carpool lanes run from Alcosta Boulevard to Livorna Road. The additional diamond markings are outside these boundaries, and Caltrans will remove them soon. And there's another issue with 680 through Danville.
Q Hi, Gary! So what's the deal with the Botts' dots on top of the diamond markings in the carpool lane on the short stretch northbound and southbound of 680 in Danville? Is this some sort of pilot project? If so, what is Caltrans trying to measure or determine? They are very distracting to drive over. Since we are conditioned to dots that delineate lanes for safety, we tend to associate dots with an unsafe action. And they are located in the center of the lane, which is equally distracting.
A There is an upcoming project to add merging lanes from Sycamore Valley Road to Crow Canyon Road in Contra Costa County in both directions. When the project begins, traffic will be shifted toward the median and striping and carpool lane diamonds will be removed. Said Allyn-the-Caltrans-Spokesman: "We were looking for a way to avoid scarring the new pavement when the next project starts. However, due to possible confusion about the use of the temporary buttons, we will replace them on the HOV lane diamonds with temporary tape."
Q I commute from Marin County on 19th Avenue to Interstate 280 every day in San Francisco. The road condition is one of the worst I've seen in the Bay Area. Any plans to repave the surface from the Golden Gate Bridge south to 280?
A Alas, Caltrans says there are no plans to repave this busy street anytime soon. It's been more than a decade since a major resurfacing effort was done.
Q Since you've been out on medical leave, the metering light for southbound Almaden Expressway to northbound Highway 85 has been off. Since it's summer the impact of non-metered traffic has been minimal, but school will start soon and this will be a big issue if not addressed. Are they working on solving the problem?
A Thieves swiped the signal wiring, but there is no time frame for Caltrans' electrical maintenance unit to rewire this meter.
Q Do you know what that horrible smell of rotten eggs is on Ygnacio Valley Road in front of John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek? It's especially noticeable going west. It never lets up and it seems to have been there for years.
A I do not, but I trust some readers have an idea. Anyone care to clue us in?
Q There seems to be a significant need for a metering light on the Sand Hill Road ramp to northbound Interstate 280 during the evening commute. Any chance there are plans to put one there?
A No. Caltrans says it has no money to install meters in this area.
Q The railroad tracks at Hamilton Avenue in Campbell are so rough that I and lots of other people hit the brakes just before we go over them. Can these be fixed?
A Yep. The Valley Transportation Authority had planned on making temporary repairs last month, but canceled those plans so it could make a permanent fix. I'm not sure when that will happen, but a smoother crossing is in the works.
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com or 408-920-5335. The fax number is 408-288-8060.