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: How long will the old Bay Bridge section be there after the new section opens? And where does all that old material end up?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Excellent question, Psquared! It will take several years to dismantle the current eastern span of the Bay Bridge because it will be taken apart piece by piece, according to Caltrans.
The only comparable project in the Bay Area is the old Carquinez Bridge between Vallejo and Crockett – remember? It took a little more than two years to dismantle that bridge after it was replaced by a new span.
The Bay Bridge is more than twice the size of that bridge and a lot more complicated to take down. The easiest way would probably be to blow it up and retrieve the pieces from the water, but that would be dangerous to traffic on the new span and would also damage the bay’s ecosystem.
As far as what will happen to the old material: Certain pieces will go to the Oakland Museum of California and other local museums to be put on display, and the rest will become the property of the demolition contractor, who might choose to sell it for scrap or re-use it on other projects.
COMMUTER: When there is an accident on eastbound Highway 4 past the Port Chicago exit and the traffic is backed up, drivers take the Port Chicago exit in an attempt to bypass some of the cars. There are multiple signs stating, “No through traffic to Highway 4.” These signs are ignored by many.
Today I sat stopped on the exit for a long time waiting for cars to inch forward, while at least ten cars in front of me did not take the exit, but continued on to Highway 4. If the only vehicles on the exit actually took the exit, there would not be that big of a backup to exit the freeway.
It would be nice if the California Highway Patrol kept a closer eye on this exit when there are traffic delays on Highway 4. With multiple cars ignoring the signs daily, they could stay in one spot and write continual tickets. While I have seen CHP on this exit, it is generally during non-commute hours or when there is no backup on Highway 4.
–Tired of sitting behind those not taking the exit
TRAFFIC JAMMER: TOSBTNTE, the Jammer discussed this with CHP Contra Costa Officer John Fransen, who had some fascinating insights to share about this subject. To cut to the chase, “We definitely look at that as a concern,” Fransen said. “Anytime we see someone in violation of a regulatory sign, we make enforcement contact.”
While for sure officers issue citations to peeps using the exit to circumvent congestion, TOSBTNTE, there could be more pressing issues demanding their attention. For example, someone who is tailgating the driver in front of them or roaring down Highway 4 at 30 mph over the speed limit, endangering their own life and the lives of other drivers. (Our pal Captain Freeway often reminds us of the danger of cutting into small spaces between cars at high speeds.)
Those moving violations will get the officers’ attention first because someone could get killed. Obviously, human life is the most important thing here, but it’s also true that crashes cause huge congestion and delays, the officer pointed out.
Right after moving violations come regulatory sign violations in terms of importance, you’ll be glad to know, TOSBTNTE. After that come carpool lane violations and then mechanical issues such as a cracked windshield. Again, in all instances the objective is to protect drivers’
Another move drivers make in an attempt to bypass the backup is driving on the right shoulder, Fransen said. “They sometimes drive for hundreds of yards and they’re moving quickly,” the officer said. “It just takes one disabled vehicle on the side of the road” for this to turn tragic. Also, a CHP officer or Caltrans worker could be standing on the shoulder.
Fransen said he often sends out traffic advisories and tips via Facebook and Twitter, so if you use those social media outlets, Claycordians, look him up on Facebook by searching for CHP – Contra Costa. His Twitter handle is @320PIO.
COMMUTER: I just wanted to pass along a reminder that it is very important to be aware of your surroundings when you open your car door, especially on the traffic side of the car. I recently opened my car door to get out and a car made a right turn and came zooming around the corner behind me, hitting my door as it passed.
My car was not badly hurt but the other car suffered about $3,000 of damage. The other driver and I exchanged info and the big surprise came when I called my insurance; they declared the incident was my fault.
A little research on the DMV website produced this…
“Section 22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
I was told by my insurance company that if I hit a car with my door it was obviously not a safe time to open it, was it? I guess not!
As a lifetime bicycle rider, I have sadly grown used to people opening their door and getting out right in front of me but I had no idea that it was illegal to do so.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Thanks for sharing so we all can learn from your experience, Steve!
COMMUTER: Stanley Roberts of People Behaving Badly is looking for people who are behaving badly toward lane-splitters.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Thanks, J., for the tip. As I’m sure all you Claycordians already know, KRON 4’s Stanley Roberts does truly entertaining and illuminating videos on people doing things like running stop signs, slashing tires and otherwise misbehaving. Here’s the URL J. sent me of the lane-splitter video.
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 email@example.com.