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 wondering if you could ask the city (of Concord) about East Street between Willow Pass and where it connects to Clayton. The road widens to four lanes at Willow Pass and the speed limit drops to 25 mph, which to me is the opposite of what should happen.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Zed, the Jammer called Ray Kuzbari, Concord’s ever-helpful transportation manager, and here’s what he said:
“The 25 mph speed limit is dictated by state law. California’s Vehicle Code mandates that the speed limit in a business area must be 25 mph,” Kuzbari said. “So, technically, all the streets in the downtown area are supposed to be 25 mph, because they are in the business district.”
COMMUTER: I work on Broadway in Walnut Creek, where there are “No Left Turn” signs out of parking lots and “No U-Turn” signs in left-turn lanes. Every day, many, many drivers ignore those signs. I don’t think it is because they don’t see them. I think it is because of the attitude that says, “I need to turn in this direction and get where I am going without delay, so obviously this sign does not apply to me.”
COMMUTER: Those “No Left Turn” signs you are talking about are new after way too many years of being able to turn left. They are stupid and unnecessary and that is why people ignore them. The majority of people coming out of the shopping center need to go left, not right. The City of Walnut Creek needs to reevaluate those signs, unless they just want to ticket and make more money. It’s absurd?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: As self-nicknamed reader “WC Traffic Division? Ha!” pointed out, because of budget constraints, the Walnut Creek Police Department had to disband its traffic division, which was always awesome and helpful to the Jammer. Luckily for us, once again, our own helpful law enforcement officer came to the rescue on these questions. Here’s his explanation:
“Signs on private property (e.g., shopping centers) are generally not enforced. This is because the Vehicle Code is specifically written for public roadways, which generally exclude parking lots. Conversely, some sections are specifically allowed to be enforced, such as disabled parking or DUI.
“OK, so how about the sign in the parking lot for travel onto the roadway? That’s a conundrum. Whereas the same sign on the center median is probably more readily enforceable.
“Having said all that (whew), there could be a municipal code in any given Claycord city that addresses the enforcement of the parking lot signs.
“And finally, why do drivers seem to blatantly disobey the signs?
COMMUTER: I’ve lived here since 1972, and have always ridden a motorcycle.
Over the years I’ve noticed the increasing tendency of others on our streets to do the following:
1) Rolling through stop signs unless the intersection is blocked. I’ve experienced so many near misses, that I now assume few people stop at stop signs unless the driver notices that the intersection is blocked.
2) Fail to come to a complete stop behind the limit line or crosswalk. As a motorcyclist, I feel that I am frequently the target of someone trying to hit me, only to find that the suspect driver seems to believe s/he has the right to roll into the intersection before thinking about stopping. These drivers often do stop, but only after passing through limit line and crosswalk. I often feel I should be able to take some action against such drivers in self-defense.
3) Drivers who treat double yellow lines as subtle suggestions as to what side of the road they should drive on. For some reason, meeting a motor vehicle mostly in my lane, head-on, feels threatening.
4) Drivers turning right on red lights without slowing, much less stopping.
5) Drivers driving through yellow and red lights, turning left onto San Pablo Avenue from Macdonald or Barrett.
I realize that these /mostly/ don’t rise to the level of being the victim of a burglary (we’ve suffered our share of those), but when I find a large motor vehicle apparently trying to drive through me, I often wonder what actual recourse I actually have.
–JJ in Richmond
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Well, JJ, the Jammer appreciates that you shared your concerns. With the exception of the reference to Macdonald and Barrett in Richmond, your issues as a motorcyclist and a Bay Area driver are shared by many in Claycord.
A driver can say, “Oh, it’s 10 p.m. in my deserted neighborhood,” and roll through a stop sign, but it’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, it’s your custom to always make California stops, even when the street is crowded. Same thing is true of making a right on red without stopping. So thanks for the reminder, JJ.
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.