Column: Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on

July 16, 2012 14:00 pm · 23 comments

Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2 p.m. and answers your commuting and transportation questions.

Email your questions to

COMMUTER: Do you know if there are any plans to connect the Dublin and Walnut Creek BART stations in the future or to extend the Pittsburg line out to Antioch or further? It seems like either of these would help cut down traffic in two very congested areas.

–Rapid Transit

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Great question, Rapid Transit! We’ve been focused on driving for several weeks now, so I’m glad you’re giving BART some love (well, at least some attention). BTW, beloved Claycordians, did you know that there is a system similar to BART in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Authority? Wouldn’t it be cool if BART and MARTA had a long-distance romance?

Er, anyway, back to Rapid Transit’s inquiry. There is good news and bad news. Our friend Rapid Transit is certainly correct; those two areas are rife with congestion (readers who commute those corridors daily probably have more choice language to describe the situation). Unfortunately, BART has no plans to connect the Dublin and Walnut Creek stations at this time, spokesman Jim Allison told the Jammer.

The news about Antioch is excellent, however. Even as we type, work is underway on an eBART extension going from Pittsburg to Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch. It’s being built in the median of Highway 4 as part of the project widening the highway. The BART project’s estimated completion date is 2016.

What is eBART, you ask? It’s a train, just as BART is a train, but a bit smaller than BART trains, with wide windows and level boarding. With eBART, the plan is that you’ll be able to hop a westbound train at Hillcrest Avenue and get to the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station 10 minutes later, with a timed transfer.

To learn more about eBART, click HERE.

COMMUTER: Why do the police set up motorcycle speed traps on main commute route during non-commute time, when the really fast drivers drive during the commute hours? Are they afraid?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Well, Questioner, it’s a bit difficult for the Jammer to answer your question because she doesn’t know where you are. In many areas, law enforcement is not out there trying to catch speeders during commute hours because traffic is backed up and moving at 15 mph or slower, and it’s physically impossible to speed.

Also, because there are so dang many cars on the road during commute times, it’s more likely that a crash will happen just by the law of averages. Obviously, officers are going to prioritize a crash more highly than catching speeders, who are just potential accidents.

The Jammer is also aware that there are areas where people are driving at horrifically fast speeds during commute times. Here’s a thought: Law enforcement and government agencies read this column, and it has been known to happen that after something gets written about here, lawbreakers get popped.

You will recall that frequent commenter Captain Freeway described the exact highway, the time of day and the nearby exit where egregious violations were taking place, and soon after, he saw a gap-shooter (as he describes them) get nailed. If you care to get more specific about where you’re seeing the violations take place, feel free to share. Who knows what might happen?

COMMUTER: Will you please remind people that while right on red is legal in California, you are supposed to STOP FIRST? I saw a Prius (a Prius!) nearly take out a mother and stroller at an intersection in Concord just the other day.


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Gladly, Worried. Claycordians, you all are smart people who probably know this already, so just a gentle reminder: Yes, the Vehicle Code says that a driver “facing a steady circular red signal may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street.” The key element here, though, is that the driver can only do so after stopping, and if there is no sign in place prohibiting a turn.

That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by at 2 p.m. 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

Traffic Jammin’ is brought to you by Lehmer’s Concord Buick GMC. Step up to your next GMC. The GMC Summer Event is Happening Now!

1 TinFoiler July 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

eBART is nothing more than pulling wool over the sheeps eyes. All the East county residents paid plenty (25+ years) for REAL BART.
Since they are laying tracks down Hwy 4 anyways – Just do it right.
Who wants to switch trains after a 10 minute ride. Weak.

2 680 Bart - Very Smart! July 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Martinez – Sun Valley Mall – Downtown Pleasant Hill – WC Bart – Downtown Danville – Bishop Ranch – Dublin or Pleasanton Bart – Stoneridge Mall – with a few more stops on the way to Great America, San Jose Airport and The Shark Tank….. and the new 49ers Stadium!!!!!

Now that’s a line that folks would ride!!!

3 Wont Happen July 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Not a bad idea but I would not count on it

4 momo July 16, 2012 at 7:09 PM

It never has made sense why Bart doesn’t go down 680. If I am reading the map correctly for me to go to Pleasanton from Concord I first have to Bart to Oakland, transfer there and then go to Bay fair, transfer again to get to Pleasanton. No sane person would do that!

5 mileena July 16, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon need BART. When are they going to build there?

6 BagsFlyFree July 16, 2012 at 8:01 PM

@ momo.. the same reason BART doesn’t go to Marin… the powers that be like the space from the normal folk… and i’m sure costs (but we’ll just let that fly).

7 Jerk July 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

“Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon need BART.”
No, they are enjoying less crime due to BART Not being there.

8 Ancient Mariner July 16, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Of course we need a BART line down the Diablo Valley, but that’s a wealthy area. Condemning the right of way would cause very rich and powerful people to protest. It won’t happen any time soon.

9 ConcordGuy July 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Marin doesn’t have BART because they voted down the half-cent sales tax when the system was proposed in the late 50s/early 60s. So did San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

10 Dorothy July 16, 2012 at 9:49 PM

BART hasn’t kept the promise of stations that the counties and taxpayers were told they would get. Only reason Pittsburg has a station is that they had to build it in order to exten to SFO.

11 Sleep Deprived July 16, 2012 at 9:57 PM

Janis, my home backs up to Bailey Road in Concord. It’s either a racetrack in the wee hours, or I hear military/heavy trucks passing by in the middle of the night. Can anything be done? I’m told that traffic calming is out of the question. I’d really like a good night’s sleep, free from those who want to play soldier or practice for Indy!

12 Wondering July 16, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Did we ever get a response and action! to the concern over the big bump near the entrance to southbound 242 at the Market St. and Concord Blvd (or is it Clayton Road) intersection? Or was it more of the same blah blah blah from the City/County with no real plan of action? The need to fix that problem is waaaaaaay overdue.

13 nytemuvr July 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM

It’s been that way since the 50s….I raced up and down that when I was a kid in high school(late60s/early 70s), it was a test track for tuning my car back then and a military transit road. How long have you lived there?

14 David July 17, 2012 at 1:49 AM

e-bart? what the hell is that? you people in the east county better sound up before they start laying tracks. you want regular bart dont you?

15 David July 17, 2012 at 1:54 AM

and how come if they decided in 2009 to do ebart, why am i just now hearing about it? our government needs new faces that dont hide things from us.

16 Emily July 17, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Heh. I witnessed a U-turn (posted no U-turn) — on red– the other day, where Newell intersects with South Broadway. Idiot came nose to nose with someone making a legal right. Yeesh.
I wish people were clear on the fact that the driver in front of you is neither legally nor morally obliged to make a right turn on red. In fact, that driver may have a better view of the situation than the moron leaning on his horn two cars back.

17 Jerk July 17, 2012 at 6:59 AM

#12, Your BUMP, is due to Concord Ave (near Chilis 242) being sloped for rain water run off. It would flood otherwise. The speed limit through the intersection is still 35mph, so you’ll have to punch it once you get through the intersection to match freeway speeds.
It’s the same at the Clayton rd/ Market st onramp.
Nothing can be done.

18 DoReMi July 17, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Quite right Emily. On Clayton Blvd I was slowed almost to a halt. The bbaoitch behind me was riding my tail to hurry up. My instinct to move out of her way was overridden by sensibility as I waited. I am glad I did. As traffic cleared (2 seconds later!) I saw two cyclists that would have been mowed if the Bao-itch behind me had enough roomto plow through.

Everytime the H has a near miss it is always a woman in her mid to late 30’s with princess syndrom. That is PS, wich happens before the M seals the deal. Ardy arrrrr arrrr.

19 Teacher wannabe July 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

On the subject of mass transit, I drive out Bollinger all the time and see signs in the vicinity of Dougherty Valley HS “reserved for light rail”. Can’t be BART, what is that? Anyone know?

20 Ancient Mariner July 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

@ Teacher Wannabe No. 19.
It isn’t anything.
When the developers were going through the planning process, they were forced to set land aside for mass transit and post the signs.
One day the signs will fall down and the weeds will cover them and the people will forget about them and there still won’t be any light rail line there.
I’d love to be wrong on this!
Reintroducing light rail would be fantastic. The US used to have wonderful public transport until the big corporations decided they could make more money by buying the light rail lines up and scrapping them and replacing them with bus lines. The buses used GM vehicles, Goodyear tires and ran on Standard Oil fuel. These were the main culprits.
I know this because I saw it on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Try this Wikipedia link, though:

21 Captain Freeway July 17, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Traffic Jammer, Law Enforcement & Others.. .here is another one for you. Maybe we can get this person nailed. At 645AM several days in the last week, a Dark Grey SUV, CA License Plate “SFG MMX” has been near the Wilder Road Exit on 24 headed for the tunnel. He cuts off other cars, doing 85-95, passes people on the right shoulder and off-ramp area, cuts back — he’s just plane crazy nuts. If a CHP were to position a motorcycle a mile or so back from Wilder Road between 635 and 650AM each morning during the week, they would very likely see this driver… please catch him – he’s a maniac!!! I’ll try to get the actual make/model next time I see him – but so far just have the color, type and license plate. Take Care everyone – and please never drive anything like this person does. CF

22 Traffic Jammer July 19, 2012 at 2:24 AM

#21 @Captain Freeway – whoa, if this guy is driving 85-95 and passing on the right shoulder, I’m almost tempted to suggest calling 911. Claycordians, what do you think? Is this an overreaction? Sure sounds like crazy driving to me.

#20 @Ancient Mariner, thanks for contributing your expertise about those signs! Ahahahaha glad you mentioned “Roger Rabbit.” Jessica Rabbit is one of my favorite characters. “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

#16 @Emily, you raise an excellent point. There is no obligation to make a right on red. But unless you are the only car at the light, at least one of the people behind you will punish you if you don’t do it. Which is a shame IMO!

23 Captain Freeway July 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Assuming law enforcement needs to witness his actions to do something, better to stage a CHP rider on 24 about 1/2 mile before Wilder road at 640 am weekday mo. rnings and nab him in the act. He’d be gone soon after calling 911. CF

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