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: Back to School is approaching. I just noticed CVHS (Charter School) is returning to school August 14 (watch out Ygnacio Valley Road and Alberta/Pine Hollow).
The rest of Mt. Diablo and Walnut Creek School districts return August 28.
Our traffic will return to its (unfortunate) norm. Nothing like 45-minute commutes down YVR from Claycord to Walnut Creek. Treat doesn’t even offer too much of a relief option either, during school session.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer is grateful to you, Z-Man, for providing the dates when children will be returning to the various schools. Claycordians all, let’s be sure to keep an eye out for children on their way to school and observe those signs mandating slower speeds when children are present.
Readers, you are often generous with information. Maybe some of you have clever ways to make an end run around the traffic mess? If so, feel free to share.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Great news! DogMom kindly shared with us a photo of a totally obscured sign overrun with vegetation in Concord on Ayers road, adjacent to the Pixie Playschool, almost at the corner of Concord Boulevard.
The Jammer told Traffic Czar Ray Kuzbari about it and, viola! Or is that voila? Regardless, here’s the good news:
COMMUTER: I am attaching a photo I took today of the no-longer-totally obscured sign. I knew that writing to you would get results, but this was faster than I expected! Thanks!!!
COMMUTER: Driving on Galindo from Clayton to Concord Boulevard and wanting to turn left onto Concord Boulevard. If you get a red on Clayton you can see the green on Concord Boulevard to turn left. Clayton turns green and by the time you get there Concord Blvd turns red. WTH.
You can go further to Willow Pass to turn left and this has the shorter left turn lane, which backs up to the traffic lane for those who want to go straight.
Why is it that traffic can’t flow from the green on Clayton to the left turn on Concord Blvd with two left turn lanes?
–Why Oh Why?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: WOW and Antler both posted about this, with Antler explaining a further complication caused by this setup. The Jammer shared WOW and Antler’s concerns with Traffic Czar Kuzbari, and he is looking into it. More news as it breaks!
COMMUTER: I am still shook up from a near-crash and hope you can help. I sincerely want to know what I should have done differently.
I got on northbound Interstate 580 at the Hopyard Road entrance in Pleasanton. It’s a gnarly merge because the freeway is ALWAYS congested when I get on. The right lane is moving at maybe 25-30 mph and the cars are close to each other. Plus, it’s a dedicated turn lane so as soon as I get into it, I have to get out of it.
I merged into the right lane and then put on my left turn signal to merge into the lane immediately to my left. The cars in my lane were moving around 25-30 mph and the cars in the lane to the left were zooming along probably at or near the speed limit.
The coast was clear ahead of me. So I looked over my shoulder, saw no one coming and accelerated rapidly into the lane on my left.
In the quick seconds in which I was looking over my shoulder, a car merged directly ahead of me and slowed to a stop with its right-hand turn blinker on, attempting to get into the far right lane.
I slammed on my brakes and came within three inches of the car’s bumper. I was terrified.
I guess I should not have accelerated so fast? Or perhaps I spent too much time looking over my shoulder? I know that when you rear-end someone, it’s always your fault … so I’m willing to accept that I should have done something differently.
–All Shook Up
TRAFFIC JAMMER: What a scary story – the Jammer is so glad you weren’t hurt, ASU! The Jammer turned to our pal, the anonymous Claycordian law enforcement officer who generously donates his time and expertise to help with questions like yours.
Here’s what he had to say:
Hmmmm. Could be that part of the problem is that 580 runs east/west. Nyuck. Nyuck. Nyuck. But it’s true.
Another misconception is that rear-enders are ALWAYS the person in back’s fault. Arguably that’s generally true but there’s a small percentage of illegal lane changes, abrupt braking, or impeding traffic issues.
Ok so let’s directly address this scenario. It sounds like the driver did everything right. From his/ her description of the other car I would consider the impeding traffic rule:
22400. (a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law.
I think this law is under-enforced. We see this all the time: drivers block straight or thru lanes because they didn’t make it to the turn lane. Well, your “need” to turn does not supersede someone’s right-of-way to go straight. Go to the next or block exit and turn around: you missed your turn. Face it and move on.
This is one of my favorite tickets. And for the person that allows these drivers to nose into line: you’re really not doing anyone any favors.
The key word is merge. And that’s more art form than objective. Folks just don’t seem as patient as days of yore I try to avoid these type of merges if I can.
That being said, and remembering the overall driving mantra of driving defensively, the commuter did not crash. That’s worthwhile. And, yes, maybe next time don’t accelerate quite as rapidly with the seemingly wide open road ahead.
Today’s quote: “Better to give-up your right-of-way than to be dead right”. — driver’s ed teacher.
COMMUTER: Why is it taking 100 years to complete Highway 4? It’s ridiculous.
–Good Taxpayer Money
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Good Taxpayer Money, the Jammer loves your handle. To answer your question, the Jammer contacted Jonathan Adams, the Caltrans media representative designated to handle the Highway 4 construction.
Adams responded quickly with good news:
“The Highway 4 work is on schedule. The current anticipated completion dates for the different Highway 4 corridor widening projects are as follows (subject to weather impacts):
- Loveridge Road – early 2014
- Somersville Road/Auto Center Drive – Fall 2013
- Contra Loma Boulevard/L Street – mid-2015
- Lone Tree Way/A Street – late 2015
- Hillcrest Avenue – late 2015
The Highway 4 projects include improvements to the entire project corridor that will help revitalize eastern Contra Costa County. The projects expand Highway 4 from four to eight lanes between Loveridge Road and SR-160, and add a BART extension from Pittsburg to Antioch (eBART).
The projects will also expand the highway from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Sand Creek Road.”
TRAFFIC JAMMER: .Additionally, the Jammer has discovered a truly rockin’ website dedicated to the construction on Highway 4.The site is at http://4eastcounty.org/traffic-updates/. It has photos of the work going on, and traffic updates, and lots of verbiage about the various Highway 4 projects. You can sign up on the site to get construction news.
You can also go to Twitter and follow @4eastcounty for tweets updating you on developments. The information line for the project is (925).756-0721 and the email address is email@example.com.
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.