Q I occasionally drive north on Highway 101 through Prunedale on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and always encounter a slowdown until right after the Red Barn. And herein lies the mystery.
Traffic doesn't just speed up. It goes from 10 mph to full speed, and always right after the Red Barn, even though no lanes are added, and even though at that time of the day there is little activity at the Red Barn.
Any idea what's going on? It's a mystery to me.
A My Prunedale area contacts suspect it's a combination of traffic from the Red Barn flea market, from San Juan Road, the large number of trucks that lumber through here and visitors returning from a day in Monterey or Carmel. But there is hope.
Work has begun on a $91 million interchange to remove street-level intersections at San Juan Road, Dunbarton Road and Cole Road and replace them with a single interchange near the Red Barn. When completed, possibly by the end of 2014, your Sunday drive should improve.
Q I travel down to Monterey about six times a month and would like to know who has enough political juice to have a new interchange at 101 and Crazy Horse Canyon Road built. I can't believe that more than 300 cars a day use that intersection.
A The traffic count is not high, but Monterey County transportation officials say this intersection has been a safety hazard for years and needs fixing.
Q We recently got stuck in a traffic delay along Highway 1 on our way to Big Sur, where we like to visit every few weeks. What's going on and how long will it last?
A The Highway 1 work at Rocky Creek 15 miles south of Carmel is to install a viaduct. Traffic is down to one lane and will be stopped for 10 minutes at a time during daytime work, with full overnight closures Sundays through Thursdays until February. Work will last until late next summer.
Q I enjoy your column, but really object to these occasional flights into the irrelevant, like the story of Franklin the Rooster. We need info regarding streets and highways, not "avian interest" stories. Just a personal view from a loyal and always entertained reader.
A But ...
Q Thank you for the rooster story, Gary. I'm so happy to hear he's safe and sound. Felt a little bad because I was eating chicken enchiladas for lunch, though.
A And ...
Q I enjoyed reading about Franklin the rooster in your column and I have a similar story your readers may enjoy. (Don't look, Will. -- Gary.)
I live near the Marsh Road exit off 101 and across the freeway from Bayfront Park in Menlo Park. One morning I was waiting for the light at Scott and Marsh. Traffic was not moving. I was late for work. I just finished a double espresso. I was not feeling patient. Mind you, this location is just across from Bayfront Park, a large reserve for waterfowl.
After a good half-dozen turns of the light I could finally see a confused-looking mother duck slowly leading a flock of hatchlings, waddling across Marsh at the peak of commuting hour. Cars in small numbers were very slowly and carefully crossing the intersection, avoiding the ducks by a wide margin. I sat in my car for a long time, watching the ducks and the commuters carefully avoiding each other. Finally the ducks made it across and traffic resumed.
I was touched that an impatient army of type-A Silicon Valley morning commuters would take the time to give some wildlife the right of way and allow them to survive crossing a busy street at the height of morning commuting hour.
A Our hearts are kind, and as a result these ducks were fine.