Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on Claycord.com
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This Claycord.com column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUTER: I tried to find the answer to this on the Department of Motor Vehicles website, but had no luck. If your driver’s license photo is really awful, does the DMV allow for retakes?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Good news, CoCo Janie, for you and the 119,753 other inhabitants of Claycord, the Traffic Jammer included, whose driver’s licenses are less than flattering. Yes, you can have your driver’s license photo retaken. It will cost $25 because the DMV has to generate a new duplicate license, but many of us will feel that’s a paltry sum in exchange for replacing that space alien on the laminated card with a visage more closely resembling something human.
As with any visit to the DMV, you’re best off making an appointment on the website or calling 1-800-777-0133 to do so. Unless you have the major jones for standing in line; the Traffic Jammer would never choose to interfere with her beloved readers’ pleasures in life. Who knows, if you don’t make an appointment, you might meet the love of your life during your two hours in the queue at the front desk. (And if you do, please invite the Traffic Jammer to the wedding and put the photos up on Claycord.com.)
COMMUTER: I’ve got a question that I’ve never seen addressed in the Vehicle Code. It involves the intersection of Bancroft and Minert roads.
While traveling south on Bancroft, I want to turn left on to Minert, but the left hand turn lane is full. My choices are to wait in the left lane short of David Avenue or continue traveling straight on Bancroft past Minert and make a U-turn when possible. I’ve seen people wait in the left lane, but that doesn’t seem safe.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Steve, this is something that the Traffic Jammer herself has often wondered about. The good news is that you will not be violating the Vehicle Code or incurring the wrath of any passing law enforcement officers by waiting in the left lane. It’s perfectly legal to do so, Officer Josh Miller of the California Highway Patrol told the Jammer. So just put on the ol’ left-turn signal and hunker down until you can legally make that left turn.
The safety issue is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. If cars are roaring down Bancroft like the Indy 500 (the Jammer has never observed such a thing, but these days she doesn’t get out much) and you fear getting rear-ended, by all means, give up, go straight and make the U-turn further down. That’s a determination you will have to make, Officer Miller said.
COMMUTER: One way to bring more money into the California state coffers is to enforce vehicle registration fees. We can report out-of-state vehicles that should be registered in-state. However, expired California plates can only be reported to local law enforcement (see below). They have other priorities so it’s doubtful anything will be done. As a result of this huge gap in enforcement, every day I see numerous vehicles driving with expired plates.
Most make no attempt to conceal this fact; others re-use a prior year’s sticker whose color matches the current year in order to fake the registration. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen two vehicles using 2007 stickers which means the last license they purchased was in 2006! This isn’t right. The public needs to be able to report expired California vehicle registrations directly to the DMV and know that something will be done about it.
I can already hear people complaining the fees are too high so they don’t pay them. No matter, it’s the law. Here’s a link to the applicable DMV page.
–Nom de Plume
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Nom de Plume, the Traffic Jammer loves-loves-loves your Claycord handle. As far as your message, however, the Jammer is torn.
Recently, we had a bit of a kerfuffle here in the Traffic Jammin’ column over whether a reader should report a coworker who was driving to work even though her license had been suspended for DUI. The majority of the posters strongly felt the reader should indeed report her coworker, largely because DUI is a serious offense and could result in bodily harm if not worse.
With this registration thing, though, the Jammer is not sure what to say. As a transportation columnist, certainly it is not the Jammer’s place to be a scofflaw. But these days, so many people are hurting financially through no fault of their own, because of the down economy. It’s one thing to encourage people to pay their registration fees – hey Claycordians! Pay those fees! – but it’s another thing to encourage them to report others for unpaid registrations during these tough times. Your thoughts, readers?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Got kids? They can become part of history by helping to design decorative medallions for the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. For more information, visit the tunnel’s website. Deadline to enter the contest is May 7, so don’t delay.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Speaking of contests, let us all praise famous men, or at least famous Claycordians, for their encyclopedic knowledge of traffic regulations! In last week’s Traffic Jammin’ contest, the amusingly named Wilder Road Rage was the first reader to correctly identify the meaning of a white-painted curb: No stopping or standing, dropoff or pickup only. Anon777, me, Skippy and Reader also nailed the correct answer. Congratulations to all! Wilder Road Rage, email email@example.com to arrange to get your Claycord memorabilia prize.
That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by Claycord.com at 2pm for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org