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 have a question – why does it cost so dang much to register a vehicle in California? Nevada passenger vehicles cost $33 per year, Washington passenger vehicles $46 per year. I know the excuse will be for road maintenance, but the Bay Area has some of the worst roads I have seen, and I have been all over the country. So why is it so expensive?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Well, BCuzItzClaycord, this question bears further investigation. Just for starters, here’s some basic information: Registration fees fund state and local programs aimed at air quality, road safety, road maintenance and construction, freeway service patrols and emergency call boxes.
The basic registration fee is $46. The California Highway Patrol fee is $23. This money is used by the CHP and the Department of Motor Vehicles to offset costs.
The Vehicle License Fee varies. The formula for this fee is based upon the purchase price of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle when acquired. The VLF decreases with each renewal for the first 11 years. The DMV returns almost all vehicle license fee revenue to the cities and counties.
The Smog Abatement Fee is $20. The CountyFee – collected by the DMV on behalf of city/county associations, air quality management districts and other governmental agencies – varies. The fee for a personalized plate varies.
This still doesn’t really explain why it’s so ding-dong-dang expensive. The Jammer will continue to pursue this and post more information as she gets it. Thanks for a great question, BCuzItsClaycord!
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Last week the Jammer published a question about crossing at an intersection and whether a vehicle can start moving through the crosswalk when the pedestrian has almost reached the curb on the other side. My verdict was that if the pedestrian is a mere foot or so from the curb, you should be OK. But a Claycordian added a comment that the Jammer wanted to share:
COMMUTER: Don’t push the crosswalk thing. I learned the hard way, that a person in the crosswalk is IN the crosswalk until they are NOT in it any more. I had an officer in WC ticket me because I proceeded thru the intersection, after the pedestrian had cleared my side of the street and was nearly to the curb from the opposing traffic direction. When I claimed that I went well after the pedestrian had cleared me, I was told that they must be completely through the other side!
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Claycordians, note that this happened in Walnut Creek – not to say you shouldn’t be careful anywhere. But it’s something to keep in mind. Anon2you’s experience trumps the Jammer’s earlier pronouncement. If this happened to Anon2you, it might happen to any one of us, so let’s make sure those pedestrians get all the way out of the crosswalk before proceeding.
COMMUTER: I am really confused. This morning while waiting in line around outside at 7:30 a.m. at the Walnut Creek office of the DMV, I saw two CHP officers on motorcycles pull in to the lot where traffic circles are painted on the asphalt, and do circles there for about five minutes. What’s going on? They looked rather silly going around and around this long; they might get dizzy!
–Puzzled in Walnut Creek
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Sounds like these dedicated public servants are practicing turning in small areas, making sure their skills are sharp. The Jammer actually graduated from the Motorcycle Safety Training program and has a valid motorcycle license and a Honda CB 400 Four Super Sport, and believe me, those tight turns are tough.
(To be honest, the Jammer no longer rides and is by no means an expert, but this is the answer that most readily came to mind. Motorcyclists, what do you say?)
COMMUTER: I have a bunch of paper BART tickets, each one worth 5 cents to 75 cents, mouldering in the drawer. Is there some way to get a refund or put the whole amount on my Clipper card?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Claycordians all, the Jammer is sure you already know that the Clipper card is the awesome handy-dandy transit card that can be used for BART, AC Transit, SF MTA and a whole bunch of other Bay Area buses and trains. It’s a lot more fun than struggling with those paper tickets and the annoying ones with small leftover amounts that poor Paper Over is trying to get rid of.
Papered Over, you can get all those paper tickets consolidated into one paper ticket, though you can’t transfer the money to your Clipper card.
In order to get all those nickel-and-dime fares consolidated into one ticket, you must show up at the Bay Fair, Civic Center, Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell or Walnut Creek station, or at the BART Treasury at 12th Street/Oakland City Center, BART tells us.
Of course, this being BART, the actual time of day and days of the week you can do this differ from station to station; for the details, CLICK HERE.
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