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 was driving south on 22nd Street in Richmond to get to the freeway. Right after 22nd crosses Bissell Avenue, the street goes under the BART tracks. Usually it’s two lanes there, but construction is going on and the left lane is blocked off.
As you approach the area where the lane is blocked off, there are warning signs. This morning, as I approached the area in the right-hand lane, someone zoomed around me into the very short and soon-to-disappear left lane and then cut right in front of me, missing me by inches. Is this legal?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: SS, I certainly don’t blame you for being frightened – or angry, once the scare wore off. If nothing else, by cutting in front of you like that, the driver violated California Vehicle Code section 23103(a), which says that a driver who acts in “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” is guilty of reckless driving.
It’s really irritating when someone uses a tactic like this just to gain a few seconds. The Jammer is familiar with this area and knows that right after the BART overcrossing is a traffic light, so this driver may not have gained any time anyway if he or she next encountered a red light.
COMMUTER: In February of 2011 Concord Boulevard received a widening from North 6th Street south for 4 blocks. The curbs and some gutters were installed.
Twelve data/power poles along the west side of Concord Blvd were left in the street. In January 2012 someone hit the first pole, knocking out power to the neighborhood.
In March of 2012 they installed bumpers around each of the 12 poles. So now after two years when will the public get the use of the full width of the roadway?
I would estimate the cost to relocate the 12 poles to PG&E, AT&T, Comcast and Astound at around $200,000 per pole. Question: Why wasn’t this part of the widening program so the public receives full benefit of the widening?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer first called Ray Kuzbari, transportation manager for Concord. “We’re waiting for PG&E to relocate the poles so they’re in the back of the sidewalk,” Kuzbari said. “It’s PG&E that is on the critical path. The city has been working with them ever since we started the widening process. PG&E has a process and they are working on it. Hopefully we will see results very soon.”
So, the next calls were to PG&E. “PG&E is aware of the situation and is working toward a solution with the City of Concord and property owners on the affected street. We hope to be able to get construction underway in the near future,” Tamar Sarkissian, PG&E spokesperson, told the Jammer.
The Jammer will check in with PG&E again in a few months to see if things are advancing any further, QD.
COMMUTER: I bought a car and brought it to California several months later. California law says registration fees are due within 20 days of a vehicle’s entry into California. However, the registration was issued for the purchase date, not the date of entry.
When I went to license the vehicle, the first clerk saw the licensing delay and said there would be a fine. After explaining the situation to her, she dropped the fine and was ready to issue the license.
Unfortunately, no one told me the vehicle needed an inspection beforehand. The clerk assured me that no matter what window I returned to, the paperwork was corrected and would be issued for the date of entry.
After the inspection, it was nearly 5 p.m. and I was directed to another clerk at a different window. They were rushing to get everyone out and the second clerk never mentioned anything amiss. She threw the license package at me and I was nearly pushed out the door (no kidding). I noticed the error when I got home and have been trying to correct it ever since.
The Sacramento DMV won’t change the registration and says my only hope is to go to the local office and try to fix this. Any suggestions?
–Nom de Plume
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Beloved Claycordians, the Jammer is running Nom de Plume’s letter as a cautionary tale for all of us. First of all, the Jammer is told that clerks at the DMV, and visits to DMV offices in general, have become much more pleasant over the last few years.
Regardless, whenever you step through those doors, you have to be prepared to stand up for yourself. Those of us who like to be nice to people can find this difficult, and Nom de Plume’s response to the 5 p.m. bum’s rush is understandable. Since one initial misstep when dealing with the DMV can lead to months of hassle or even a ticket, alas, a bit of firmness is often necessary.
Happily, before the Jammer could contact the DMV, Nom de Plume emailed again to say that he or she had gone to the local office, found the original clerk and straightened the matter out. So the final lesson here is that if something goes wrong on the local level, it’s always best to start there in an attempt to fix the problem.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Woohoo! Our friends at the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore project sent some photos, and wow, the inside of the new fourth bore looks almost done. Electrical and drainage systems, façade work and much of the roadway paving are complete.
Workers are still installing the fire prevention and response systems and completing other work, but it’s sure moving along. (Dare I say we can see the light at the end of the … oh, never mind.) For more information, visit http://caldecott-tunnel.org/index.php/construction/current-activities.
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.