Q What's up with the horrendous redesign gone mad on the Brokaw Road entrances to Interstate 880, which has caused gargantuan traffic jams? ... Since the northbound 880 exit ramp to Brokaw has been realigned, the morning commute down Brokaw has become a nightmare. Where there were three lanes going west past Ridder Park Drive to the southbound 880 onramp, there are now just two. This now has traffic backed up before Old Oakland Road. Will this be addressed and corrected anytime soon? ... It took me almost half an hour one evening to get from First Street to 880 on Brokaw. ... Gary, I invite you to travel that distance on Brokaw so you can experience it for yourself. Then you will see the nightmare firsthand and understand why my stress ball has seen better days. ... I take my kids to school near O'Connor Hospital, and since we live off Brokaw, 880 south has been our usual route. I've tried side streets like Hedding and Taylor but that resulted in tardy slips.
Marshall Anstandig Ken Nelson, Steve Blightman, Irene Chan, Susan Lee and others
A Gawd, did I hate tardy slips when my kids were in elementary school. Patience, my friends, patience. This is a work in progress, but you should see improvements in a month or so when the new intersection at Brokaw to north 880 is completed. Traffic signals will be upgraded at that time and the traffic cones removed from west Brokaw to south 880.
But the stretch from Old Oakland Road to the freeway overpass will remain only two lanes wide for westbound traffic, with two turning lanes onto south 880. The road will then open up to three lanes at O'Toole Drive.
Eastbound there will be three through lanes and a right-turn lane to north I-880.
In addition, a sidewalk and bike lanes will be included.
Q Is Caltrans going to open the new carpool lanes on I-880 between 101 and 237 all at once or in phases?
A More patience is needed. The new lanes will all open at once next summer.
Q I travel I-880 north to 101 to Sunnyvale, and on a recent day traffic was very light until it came to a complete stop for about a tenth of a mile before 880, then went back to the limit. The cause? Portable construction signs reporting that the San Mateo Bridge will be closed. Why did Caltrans need to use these portable construction signs when we have the huge permanent signs all along this route? Seems this would have been a better use for those signs than "click it or ticket" and would not have caused backups.
A Caltrans says it does not have enough permanent changeable message signs to effectively spread the word that the San Mateo Bridge will be closed this weekend and next.
Q I recently noticed a sign just before the Airway Boulevard exit from westbound Interstate 580 that reads "Doolan Road, Las Positas Road next exit." Really? Las Positas Road? Las Positas in Livermore isn't anywhere near Airway. Las Positas in Pleasanton isn't anywhere near Airway. Am I missing some new connection to either Las Positas, or does the sign mean Las Positas College?
A Good catch. Jack London Boulevard was formerly Las Positas Road, and the freeway sign was in error. The city is asking Caltrans to remove it.
Q Mission Boulevard from Washington Boulevard across I-680 is in terrible shape. Any idea when it will be fixed?
A The city has plans to repair the bad areas of pavement along Mission, from just south of I-680 to Washington within a couple of months. Then next summer Fremont crews will lay down a layer of slurry seal along this entire segment.
Q I was stuck (again) on Interstate 680 one morning last week because of a mess near Diablo Road. Traffic in the three non-carpool lanes was inching along at 5 mph after Alcosta Boulevard almost until Stone Valley Road. But the scarcely used non-commute direction carpool lane had cars zipping past at 70-plus mph. In the 40 minutes that it took to cover the four miles, I must have counted maybe 30 or 40 cars at the most.
Why can't Caltrans make the carpool lane dynamically available to everyone whenever there is a major slowdown like this? If the intent of carpool lanes is to reduce pollution, we are not helping any by idling or going 5 mph.
Not to mention the dangers associated with cars zooming right next to you. One car had to stop to try to merge right because no one would let them in. They probably didn't want to, but what other choice did they have? Three cars right in front of me got into a fender-bender. People were cutting across all lanes to try to get a few cars ahead. It was ridiculous. An extra lane would have helped immensely.
A I sympathize, but the CHP determines when to open up the diamond lane, and that usually happens only when a major crash occurs. Caltrans says it does not have the ability to turn on its freeway signs to make it clear that a certain stretch of carpool lanes are open to solo drivers.
In three years, the 680 carpool lane will be turned into an express lane where solo motorists can buy their way into the carpool lane and avoid delays like this.
Q For maybe the past year at the Bay Bridge toll plaza approach, two middle lanes have been signed as being "FasTrak Only." These two lanes further split into more lanes, all of which are normally dedicated to FasTrak.
However, at night if you follow the right-most middle "FasTrak Only" lane, it will split into either a Cash/FasTrak lane or be closed. Because of the curve before the toll booths, it can be difficult to see what your lane turns into until you are dangerously close to it. I've seen more than a few cars slam on the brakes and cut across several lanes to get into either an open or FasTrak dedicated lane.
Do you know why Caltrans is doing this?
A This has been the case from Friday nights through the weekend. But your plea will lead bridge officials to change the sign to say "Cash/FasTrak" instead of "FasTrak Only" to clear up the confusion.
Q Obviously, some drivers have not been caught up in the traffic on Highway 24 when "well-meaning" citizens appear on overpasses displaying flags and banners. It is something out of the ordinary that distracts drivers, and when cars slow so they can read the banners they slow the whole commute for miles.
I realize that free speech is part of the issue here, but when you have a commute that is an hour and a half on a normal day and you get hung up in an unnecessary slowdown that adds another 30-45 minutes to that commute, it is hard to see the flags and banners as anything other than a major frustration for commuters caused by people who don't see beyond their own cause -- no matter what it is.
A I have a feeling this debate on banners on Highway 24 may continue for some time. If it added 30 minutes to my commute on this congested road, I would not be thrilled either.