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 email@example.com.
COMMUTER: I commute daily from Concord to Corte Madera. I use the Richmond Parkway to get over to the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge. I notice that the street lights have multiple long stretches (a half-mile in four different places) where they are not working.
Who manages/maintains this road? It is not a highway and it spans multiple cities.
–Blinded by the (non)light
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer contacted Yader Bermudez, public works director for the City of Richmond. He explained that the problem with the lights is one experienced not only on the Richmond Parkway, but in the Bay Area, the state and nationally, because the price of copper is high and thieves keep stealing copper wire from traffic lights and other mechanized devices.
The Parkway is an ideal location for thieves because it’s isolated with little foot traffic and few homes nearby. “It’s not just putting the wire back, but they come back and do it again,” Bermudez said of the copper wire thieves. At this point the damage is close to $1.5 million. The city is trying to raise the money to repair the lights, but it looks like it will take a while, BBTNL.
COMMUTER: Can anyone tell me why gas prices are soaring in February? Drove by World Gas today, regular gas is now $3.79. Prices have increased 40 cents a gallon in less than two weeks.
–Fuel Prices Sky High
TRAFFIC JAMMER: You bet, FPSH! An excellent source of intelligence on gas prices is AAA. The company has a site dedicated to reporting on them. To learn the average price of gas in Claycord, go to their Fuel Gauge Report, http://bit.ly/fag5ja and scroll down to Oakland (we are classified by them as being in the Oakland metro area).
Here’s what AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris had to say about why gas prices shot up so quickly:
“Gas prices in California have been rising due to a refinery issue in Southern California, which caused an unscheduled shutdown. Other scheduled maintenance shutdowns throughout the state also have an impact on the climbing prices. Crude oil is on the rise, which translates to higher prices at the pump for consumers.
Prices in California have jumped 32 cents in the past months and over 17 cents in one week. These increases are due to higher regional crude prices and the production concerns as refineries prepare to make the conversion to summer blend- gasoline.
The violence in Northern Africa and the Middle East, most notably in Libya, sent oil and gasoline prices dramatically higher on fears of supply disruption. The most expensive gasoline in the continental U.S. is still found in California in the Northeast.”
COMMUTER: Da’Jammer, well, the California Highway Patrol finally issued official guidelines for motorcycle lane-splitting.
COMMUTER: (Lane-splitting rules) have finally been clarified. Police can and will at their discretion ticket if guidelines abused, but by setting some they have something to work with.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: This is indeed a momentous occasion. The CHP and other statewide traffic safety groups have created a set of written guidelines on lane-splitting. (As J, TOB and many Claycord readers already know, that’s when motorcycle riders pass vehicles in adjacent lanes by driving between them.) Thanks, J and TOB!
California is the only state in the country in which lane-splitting is not illegal. The new guidelines explain how to do it safely:
Motorcyclists can ride between two cars if there is room, but only at speeds no more than 10 mph faster than the vehicles they are passing. The rules also say motorcyclists shouldn’t lane-split at full freeway speeds or in any traffic going faster than 30 mph.
These rules were set by the CHP, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Traffic Safety. It’s worth noting that more than 9,600 people in California were hurt in motorcycle crashes in 2010. The rules also say inexperienced riders shouldn’t lane-split … and the Jammer still finds the practice worrisome regardless.
Here’s the full guide: http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html
TRAFFIC JAMMER: 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.