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: After the vigorous discussion about an unmarked lane in Concord being used as a right turn lane from Clayton Road onto Claycord Avenue, there now is no question as to the purpose of said lane. The lane now has three right turn arrows painted on the pavement, so those who objected to an unmarked “bike lane” being used to speed up traffic flow are now free to find something else to complain about.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Interesting things often happen after something is discussed in the Traffic Jammin’ column! Problem traffic areas get attention, safety violations are addressed … and, in this case, arrows appeared on the pavement. It’s not at all unlikely that the action was taken as a result of the discussion about this street that ran in this column.
Thanks for sharing the news, AnotherAnon. That was really thoughtful of you.
COMMUTER: I have a question: is it legal to make a u U-turn on Ygnacio Valley Road coming up the hill from Walnut Creek toward Concord? I was driving on Ygnacio today behind a pick up. The driver slowed and made a U-turn. I was unsure what the driver was doing until the truck turned.
If I needed to turn around, I would have found the safest place to do so. In this case, I would have continued on Ygnacio and made my U-turn at the light for Cowell Road. Visibility of oncoming traffic is better at a controlled intersection than on a hill and a curve.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Bluebird, as you know, the Traffic Jammer is lucky enough to have a couple of law enforcement officers who share their expertise with us. Both of them were kind enough to respond to your question.
The first answer is from our Claycordian officer on active duty. He prefaced the response with an excerpt from the California Vehicle Code on the subject:
Never make a U-turn:
- On a divided highway by crossing a dividing section, curb, strip of land, or two sets of double yellow lines.
- Where you cannot see clearly 200 feet in each direction because of a curve, hill, rain, fog, or other reason.
- When other vehicles may hit you.
I think these three sections cover the answer. It’s an illegal U-turn AND the driver had to cross a median, which is another violation. There are supposed to be double yellow lines on each side of the median, but these may have been in disrepair due to the perpetual construction.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: And now, WuzzFuzz weighs in:
There is no legal place to make a U turn on Ygnacio between Oak Grove and Cowell. There is an opening for canal access about a half-mile mile east of Oak Grove, but it is clearly posted, “No U-turn.” Anywhere else would be driving across a median, violation of VC 21651(a).
COMMUTER: Pulling into crosswalks is often the only way for drivers to see oncoming traffic in my neighborhood in Concord. Old pre-code signage is on many of our streets and mixed with horribly placed vehicle spots = a disaster waiting to happen.
When public safety is a concern with any advertisement piece, the city should have the power to have it modified or removed completely if it threatens the overall safety of drivers.
–Bags Fly Free
TRAFFIC JAMMER: BFF, thanks for sharing your concern. To cut to the chase, when I told Ray Kuzbari, Concord’s transportation manager, he suggested that you call him directly and tell him exactly which signs you’re concerned about, “so we can look at them and determine if they are a hazard and see if there is anything we can do.”
Kuzbari said the city may not be able to get the signs down, but will definitely look into it.
For those Claycordians who, unlike BFF, aren’t aware of the background, Kuzbari explained, “These signs are known as ‘monument signs’ – signs like a MacDonald’s sign on the corner in front of their building. When cars make a turn from a side street onto a major street they have to inch out into a crosswalk area to see.”
Kuzbari added, “We do have a side distance regulation in the development code and any time there is a proposal to put up a sign, the planning division reviews the proposal to ensure it meets the distance guidelines.” However, as BFF noted, 20- or 30-year-old signs predate this regulation. BFF, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you Kuzbari’s contact info.
COMMUTER: The right turn from North Civic Drive onto Ygnacio Valley Road (in Walnut Creek) going north seems like it should be prohibited on a red light. Maybe you can see far enough down Ygnacio if you are in a very tall vehicle, but in most cars you can’t. Then if you are at the light with a tall vehicle behind you, they get upset that you are not turning. This is exacerbated by people driving above the speed limit traveling east on Ygnacio.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Here’s the answer from Simin Timuri, associate traffic engineer with the City of Walnut Creek.
The Jammer knows how much Claycordians like detail, so here’s the answer in its entirety, as she emailed it to me:
This intersection was modified in the mid-1980s to correct the line of sight issues and the level of service for the northbound right turn traffic from North Civic Drive onto eastbound Ygnacio.
As is, the right turn can move on a green arrow in a protected phase of the signal when all conflicting traffic stops on the red light and the right turn has a green arrow to turn. The right turn also can be made on a circular green light.
The existing line of sight provides clear visibility of the oncoming traffic from the east (traffic released from the Broadway signal at Ygnacio), allowing motorists to turn right on the circular red after a full stop and when there is a gap in traffic to safely turn onto eastbound Ygnacio.
Prohibition of right turns on red is not warranted at this location and would contribute to a poor level of service and congestion on northbound North Civic.
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.