Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – No Plates on Your Car, Parking Enforcement Officers in the Handicap Spot + Much More

August 12, 2013 14:00 pm · 47 comments

Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This 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

TRAFFIC JAMMER: We begin this week with a photo sent to us by a concerned Claycordian:



This was in front of Luigi’s Deli on Clayton Road on a recent Sunday around noon.

–Alert Observer

TRAFFIC JAMMER: This photo was initially sent to our beloved Mayor, who forwarded it to the Jammer. Just to be sure, I checked with Concord police Sgt. John Nunes, and as the Mayor and I suspected, here’s the scoop: While this photo looks damning, and AO was right to send it in, the meter maid is not parked illegally.

In order for a parking spot to be a true disabled spot, it is necessary for there to be both a blue disabled symbol painted on the asphalt AND a sign. This spot has no sign and hence is OK for all Claycordians to park in.

COMMUTER: Driving on Galindo from Clayton Way 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 to turn left. Clayton turns green and by the time you get there Concord 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?

COMMUTER: (Responding to WOW) You describe the problem quite accurately. Meanwhile, what is happening to those of us who have waited first in line at the red light on Concord Boulevard westbound at the Clayton Road intersection is this: We have waited and we FINALLY get a green light.

The next (and nearby) light at Concord Boulevard and East Street turns green for us at almost the same exact time … but the intervening block is filled with all YOU GUYS who have just turned left off Clayton Road, so we can’t even go on our green light until enough of you have moved out of the way. This light-timing problem has not always been there……maybe only in the last month….is that your recollection as well? Anyway, Janis, please would you fling your body across the tracks for us yet again and see whether you can work miracles?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Rejoice, Claycordians! An excited Ray Kuzbari, Traffic Engineer for the City of Concord, called the Jammer last week with the news:

“Recently Claycord got complaints about the intersection of Concord Boulevard and Clayton Way. Cars turning left on Clayton Way had a hard time because it gets the green light simultaneously for both directions,” Kuzbari said.

“We just made a signal operation change to make each approach of Clayton Way get the green light separately. Each approach, if they want to turn left, they have an exclusive arrow to turn left. That conflict is going to go away between cars turning left in in both directions simultaneously.

“We actually spent a few months reviewing this during the winter and spring months during the morning traffic with the school traffic commute. We did a very comprehensive review and decided to make this change.”

Claycordians, be sure to let the Jammer know how it’s going now!

COMMUTER: If you don’t have license plates on your car, does this give the police the right to pull you over?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: This is a question that surfaces every so often. Yes, the police can stop you for not having license plates. Under the law, drivers are supposed to display them, and you can get a ticket for not having them.

Note that I said, “them.” You need to have both plates, front and back, Wondering.

TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by 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


1 WC44 August 12, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Way for Concord PO to protect their follow city employee. Me thinks that the blue sign would suffice for them to give a ticket to a normal citizen.

2 One who Knows August 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

“Way for Concord PO to protect their follow city employee. Me thinks that the blue sign would suffice for them to give a ticket to a normal citizen”

Nope..the Sgt. was right– you need both for a legit. citation…but the parking person should have seen the marking on the ground & not parked there

3 TinFoiler August 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Photo is deceptive. Blue sign is for parking spot where minivan is. They should have done a better job at painting over the old handicapped spot.

4 Am I the only one August 12, 2013 at 2:38 PM

In that picture – THERE IS a Handicap sign, lol.

5 @Ray K. August 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Roy Parker had this solved when he was head of transportation 15-20 years ago.

6 Anonymous August 12, 2013 at 2:40 PM

That sure looks like a blue handicap sign just to the left of the parking space to me. So, if we park there and get a ticket, we can call Sgt. Nunes as a witness and he’ll tell the Judge it’s not a bonafide handicap space….Am I right Sgt. Nunes?

7 MadMom August 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

My daughter just asked me why the signal change on Clayton Way. Now I can tell her why! Thanks so much!

8 justme August 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I don’t think that the citizens and Mr. Kuzbari are talking about the same intersection. Mr. Kuzbari is talking about Concord Blvd and Clayton Way, which intersects Concord between Farm Bureau and Landana. The citizens were talking about Concord Blvd and Clayton ROAD, downtown, near the downtown Safeway.

So I don’t know if the situation complained of is really fixed…

9 Dragon August 12, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Who’s to say why the sign is missing – could it have been removed by vandals? Maybe it was banged into one too many times and removed due to being a danger?

If the parking space was meant to be officially decommissioned as a blue zone, then surely the painted symbol would be completely obscured with tar/asphalt. I also wonder if the loss of this blue space leaves the parking lot with the legally required number of blue spaces.

I agree with WC44 – if this was a non-law-enforcement vehicle, we’d be upset about the space being used by a non-DP car. One would hope that this person, of all people, would know the parking rules and abide by the spirit of them as well as the letter.

10 Cowellian August 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Dragon said:

surely the painted symbol would be completely obscured with tar/asphalt

That makes too much sense. I’ve seen a lot of handicap signs painted on the pavement long after the handicap spots were moved. It’s confusing, to say the least.

11 Wouldn't stop them... August 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM

…from ticketing you. Even if the Sign + Paint rule isn’t B.S., the answer is still, “They’re police and you’re not”. Just don’t get yourself tazed arguing about it.

12 anon August 12, 2013 at 3:50 PM

“we can call Sgt. Nunes as a witness and he’ll tell the Judge it’s not a bonafide handicap space”

Parking cites are civil–you never see a Judge anymore–that was years ago

13 dave August 12, 2013 at 4:05 PM

So WHAT !!!!! Get a life people

14 Larry August 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Maybe Ray Kuzbari can actually do a little driving around himself and fix a few more of these problems. Or would that be asking too much of a twenty year entrenched employee.

15 Anon August 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM

The sign was there but it is now at the metal recyclers. So you still get the ticket and the thief got the money for the sign cause they take anything.

16 Anonymous August 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM

@anon #12
You can still write a letter objecting to the citation and ask the nice Sgt. Nunes to confirm that you were not parked in a handicapped spot when the nice “meter maid” (probably the one who drives the city vehicle pictured above) wrote you a ticket.

17 Antler August 12, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Hmmmmm… I think I remember there being a partial can of dull grayish-black spray paint left over from one of my last patio furniture-spraying sprees. jtkatec, how about it… at 2am, you stand guard, and I’ll spray? Ooooooooooonly kidding, Officer Barbrady!

Janis! Atta GURL!!! And thank you for reminding Engineer Kuzbari…and for his review of the problem and his input. I go through that intersection a few times a week and will see whether there is an improvement. So if any of you are westbound on Concord Boulevard and you get behind a car going under the limit as though she is trying on purpose to be caught by the red light at the Port Chicago intersection ~ ~ ~ That would be me, and I sorry you. ;-)

18 Son of Concord August 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

I took the picture of the meter maid car in the handicap spot. The parking lot was practically empty that day. Whether or not it is technically legal to park in that spot, it was a pretty bad look for a parking enforcement car. And we all know any of us would get ticketed by this same guy if we parked there.

19 Dorothy August 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

License plates are suppose to be front and back but it was only this year that I was able to one on the front. Old truck (3rd or 4th hand to me) had some kind of skirting on it to look a bit like a low rider. I kept the front license plate taped down on the dash board so it could be seen if anyone looked in the windshield. Never got tagged for it. But I finally found someone who could put it on in front for me so now the truck is nice and legal.

20 Rebel August 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Did anyone notice the “interceptor” decal on the back of the meter maid? I highly doubt that vehicle could intercept anything other than a 3 year old on a tricycle.

21 Julio August 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM

There is usually a sign for each parking place. If I were to go to the spot I would see the correct sign to the right side of that space because that is the area this one is in for the full spot we can see . Sorry, as a Handicapped person I think they gave you the wrong answer. That city vehicle is illegally parked.

22 I'm The Urban Spaceman August 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Another clue…the stripes delineating the parking space are painted White, not Blue.

23 The Dude August 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

“That makes too much sense. I’ve seen a lot of handicap signs painted on the pavement long after the handicap spots were moved. It’s confusing, to say the least.”

I also see this everywhere and find it annoying. The sign is for the the next space. This is a former handi-spot that should have had the paint removed better.

24 City Girl August 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

I, too, am confused about the traffic light question. Two completely different intersections. I know about the intersection of Clayton Way and Concord Blvd, but I have no idea to which intersection the writer is referring.

25 Cowellian August 12, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Son of Concord, no one would get a ticket for parking there. The cops know the law.

26 @justme August 12, 2013 at 6:42 PM

You are correct since part 1 was my original post. I was confused. I wonder if the reason there are so many accidents going from Clayton ROAD to Concord Blvd on Galindo is becuase they’re tyring to beat the yellow on the left at Concord Blvd.

27 Screwy August 12, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Some a y’all can stretch B.S. further than
a miser can stretch a dollar, y’all screwy!

28 Paul (formerly) in South Concord August 12, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Interceptor, yeah… LOL, that always got me too. Cushman/Westward has been distributing/making that model, for a long time. I always thought it ironic that something with a top speeds varying (by model) from 40 to 70mph… could be thought to “Intercept” a darn thing.

Perhaps they are intended to intercept only parked vehicles?

29 Debbie August 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Just DRIVE and quit making such a big deal out of it.

If the light is RED, stop.

If it’s YELLOW, proceed with caution.

If it’s GREEN, go.

Concord High Drivers Ed, back in the day. What a class!

30 Antler August 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

#26 (original poster of the question to Janis) ~ ~ ~ I had already realized there was no such problem possible at Clayton WAY and Concord Boulevard as what you described. So I’ve been mentally translating It as Clayton Road in all my comments.

But (reading what you write at #26) ~ ~ ~ Now I am confused because there is no way a car can be traveling southbound on Galindo and turn left onto Concord Boulevard (because Concord Boulevard is a one-way street westbound at that particular intersection). But you can drive a block farther southbound on Galindo and THEN turn left from either of two Galindo lanes onto Clayton Road eastbound. Clayton Road eventually continues by curving to the right. But if at that curve you keep driving absolutely straight, you automatically travel the short two-blocks-plus-tidbit called Sunset Avenue, which becomes Concord Boulevard eastbound (without your having to make another turn at all).

Now I’m wondering whether you really meant to say that you are traveling southbound on EAST STREET and then planning to turn left onto Concord Boulevard? Because that IS possible due to the gnarly, very short block after that turn and it is almost impossible to make the green light where Port Chicago intersects Concord Boulevard. That would be the EXACT same intersection I am describing in all my other comments above…….it’s just that I pictured you as coming from another direction (from Clayton Road, then curving northward onto Port Chicago), which means you have the very same sort of problem.

It takes a lot of words…….wish there were a way you could draw a sketch of what you mean….and then scan it and send it to a certain radiantly tactful columnist at

I have always thought that whole awkward double-triangle, curvy, one-way street intersection area would be the perfect place for a large roundabout. But such a project would require the removal of buildings in the block where the dog grooming place is located. Ancient Mariner could figure it out!!!

31 Frank August 12, 2013 at 8:02 PM

@ Larry #14
This should be done at morning & afternoon commute times. Traffic flow on major thoroughfares can be an exasperating experience. Way too many interruptions to a smooth & continuous flow by un-coordinated, ill-timed or completely uncalled for stops at minor side streets, esp for side traffic turning right or pedestrian initiated stops.
I am glad to see some improvements as mentioned have been made, but there is a LOT of room for improvement all over town.

32 wow August 12, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Then why has my neighbor never been sited for no license plates on his vehicle… Oh yeah that’s right he is the dude that provides the weed for the cops he keeps in check…

33 question August 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM

“beat a yellow line-sounds illegal to me.

34 Sabrina August 12, 2013 at 9:04 PM

People make driving sound so complicated.

I just get in the car. Put on my seatbelt. Turn the key. Make sure the A/C is cranked….and the music. Go the speed limit (usually). Go there. Do whatever. Come home. Garage my car (very important)). Go in the house. And live my life.

As long as I’ve been driving (37 yrs., 1 mth), nothing on the road gets to me.

Except road rage, and I don’t engage in that.

Take a chill pill people. Just drive SAFELY!

35 Renee August 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Love the signal change at Clayton Way / Concord Blvd. It’s about time.

36 J. August 12, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Dang it Janis, if you listen to the CLAYCORD Scanner, a lot of the calls are the police pulling over folks with no license plates.

Did you know it’s illegal to fully cover your license plate, even with a clear cover?

37 Justin August 12, 2013 at 10:57 PM

I wouldn’t mind a Luigi’s sandwich about now. Haven’t had one in years.(2000 calories-minimum).

Wife sends me to Subway. No comparison………….

38 Duck August 13, 2013 at 1:16 AM

“wow August 12, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Then why has my neighbor never been sited for no license plates on his vehicle… Oh yeah that’s right he is the dude that provides the weed for the cops he keeps in check…”

WOW !!!!!!
This made my day………..ROTFLMAO !!!!!!!
You are a whack’o ! BAWHAHAHAHAW !!!!!
Have you ever heard of drug testing ?

39 One who Knows August 13, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Reasons for no front plate:
My Vet or BMW looks too cool without one
I am too cool to obey the law
Red light cameras
bridge toll cameras
radar/speed cameras
cops are too busy to stop me
the law does not apply to me as I am too cool

40 Tree Farm August 13, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Yep, aggravating that the Galindo/Clayton Rd/Concord Blvd problem isn’t fixed. All the people saying its no big deal need to live over there and have to travel through it every time you leave the house. You’ll change your time. Come on City of Concord! Get with the program!

Here is clarification on the handicap issue. There is three ways to mark a handicap spot. A sign, a painted blue curb, and the handicap symbol on the ground. ONLY TWO OF THE THREE HAVE TO BE PRESENT. Blue lines are not part of the requirements. So, that spot is not handicapped and the parking enforcement officer would not give you the ticket. Take it from a former parking person……

41 Puh Toot August 13, 2013 at 7:09 AM

If you are going to complain about traffic intersections, at least get the names of the streets correct.

42 @Antler @26 August 13, 2013 at 9:24 AM

You are going the wrong way on Galindo. Try driving from Cowell to Concord Bld. I personnal skip Concord Blvd where there are two left turn lanes and go to Willow Pass to make my left. I block traffic that is going through but it is much faster.

43 Antler August 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM

#42 ~ ~ ~ Thanks, and I understand what you mean now. Your writing in the original post “Driving on Galindo from Clayton Way to Concord Boulevard” threw all of us (including Mr. Kuzari) off track because of course there is no Clayton WAY anywhere near that part of town!

Sorry for all the ad-libbing, then, but at least a couple others of us do agree on some other really bad signal situations, and perhaps Mr. Kazari will also address those problems for us.

44 True August 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

in the picture i do see a sign and the spot is painted. I don’t think the trafic cop should park thair some one who really needs it can’t get in. The cop can park behind a car that is all ready parked. I think you are wrong on this.

45 Annie2u August 13, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Ray Kuzari, making Concord a happier and safer place.

46 Cowellian August 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Everybody’s wrong but True@44.

47 BIG DOG August 17, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Really, all in all, out of simple respect for disabled people the police vehicle (of ANY vehicle) should NOT have parked there. sign or no sign, painted or not. Come on! BAD KARMA meter cop! hope you make it through life without needing a disabled placard. But if for some reason your legs dry up and fall off, and you need to park close, in a spot that is only painted disabled on the ground and there is no sign…. think back to this lazy day. RESPECT is out the window.

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