Click photo to enlarge
Auto Mall Parkway and Interstate 880 in 1988, when the Parkway was called Durham Road.

Q Hi. I'm on holiday from Australia and enjoyed reading Mr. Roadshow. Regarding Chuck Wilson's question on diesel costs, we in Australia pay the equivalent of $8.20 a gallon.

Russell Anderson

Berry Springs, Northern Territory

A Whoa! The Aussie price makes our $4.11 a gallon seem like a bargain.

Q I've never seen this area addressed in your column and I'm hoping you might tackle it. There are terrible delays on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward during commute hours. The lights do not seem to be timed at all, as I'm often stopping at every light. Is there any hope that something may be done about this?

Genie Allen

A Hope always exists! Always, I say.

The city gets a ton of complaints about Hesperian because there is a lot of traffic on this street and the city hasn't been able to fully coordinate all the signals. In addition, the fiber-optics line that provided communication between signals was cut recently.

Now, for hope. The city is in the process of installing a new signal system on Hesperian and other roads in the area with new traffic controllers -- overhead video cameras -- which are more efficient than pavement loops and which will tie into a new traffic management center. This should improve the flow of traffic on Hesperian when completed in a few months.

Q The westbound Auto Mall Parkway to northbound Interstate 880 metering lights are in place, but I never see them on. Every afternoon there is a backup on 880 due to this merge. When will they be turned on?

Dave Herzstein

Newark

A Not sure when. This meter has been down since October because of wire theft. Caltrans is having to repair many electrical facilities that have been damaged by thieves, and this meter is on the list for a fix. But the list is long and it may be a few months before the ramp signal is working again.

Q When coming out of the El Cerrito BART station on Hill Street, the first sign indicates the right lane is a right-turn-only lane. The next sign (5 feet away) indicates you can go straight or turn right from the right lane. To add confusion, at the light there is a right arrow painted on the pavement.

Very few cars go straight, so it seems to me that since you can go straight from the left lane, the right lane should be right-turn-only. Any chance you can get that second sign taken down?

Andrew Heidenreich

Richmond

A No problem. The city looked at this area and concluded that the shared through and right-arrow sign is not appropriate and will be removed.

Q It was suggested by San Jose police that I write you about a situation that is stopping traffic on Monterey Highway in San Jose. Recently, there was a pedestrian walkway installed on Blossom Hill Road to safely cross over the railroad tracks where a toddler was killed a few years ago. When they installed the walkway, they also installed a light at the end of the ramp from Blossom Hill to Monterey.

The sign says "Stop Here On Red" but stupid drivers are stopping and not proceeding through to Monterey. They just sit there waiting for the light to turn green even though there is no traffic. This is causing a huge delay. I have been thinking about posting another sign under that stating to make a full stop, then proceed. Can you help get this straightened out? ... Does the "Stop Here On Red" sign mean I have to wait for the red to go away or can I go when it's safe?

Cris Moraga, Paul Ha and many more

A I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but apparently many drivers didn't get the message. When you spot a sign that says "Stop Here on Red," it is legal to turn right on red when safe to do so after making a complete stop.

Pay attention, folks. I don't want to be writing about this again and again.

Q There seems to be no end to the digging and re-digging that is going on at Alma Street in Palo Alto between Oregon Expressway and San Antonio Road. They literally fill up a ditch one day and dig it up again several days later. One never knows which lanes will be blocked nor how long the delay will be. The patching that the workers leave is very poorly done and the steel covers that are left to cover the ditches are far from level, with inadequate asphalt edging. The result is a jolt that may be damaging suspensions and tires. When will this work be completed and will the city repave the entire section of Alma? Without repaving, the road surface will rate as the worst in the county!

David Glen

Mountain View

A No chance Alma is worse than The Alameda in San Jose.

Work on Alma should wrap up by the end of this month. A water main replacement project is almost finished and repaving has commenced. Alma near Oregon Expressway has also been the site of some periodic PG&E transmission pipeline testing and emergency replacement work. This, too, is finishing up right now.

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