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: The traffic signals at Garvin Avenue and 23rd Street in my Richmond neighborhood were out for, like, weeks. They finally fixed the signals but my question is, that is a busy four-way intersection and what are you supposed to do in that situation? I saw some scary close calls there. Of course, that’s not unusual because people run the north-south lights on 23rd even when they are working.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: It’s good that you shared your question, Frustrated, because from time to time, traffic lights in any city will go down, whether it’s because of the inordinately windy weather we had last week, electricity blackouts or some other reason.
When the traffic signal isn’t working, slow down as you approach the intersection and come to a complete stop when you get there. Pay attention: Are other vehicles approaching the intersection, or already stopped there? If other cars got there first, they get to leave first. Cars leave the intersection in the same order they arrived.
You ask, what if you pulled up at the same time as another car? The car furthest to the right leaves first.
And here’s something nobody ever does, but it’s really a good idea: Pay attention to the body language (so to speak) of the other cars. If one of them is edging slowly into the intersection, even if it’s not their turn, let them go. Better safe than sorry.
This also applies to the red-light runners who seem to be taking over the whole dang county. When you’re at an intersection and the light changes, beloved Claycordians, do not take your life into your hands by hitting the gas for a jackrabbit start. The number of people running red lights is truly scary these days. Look around to see if someone is running the light.
COMMUTER: Please settle an argument I am having with my wife. I maintain that the BART operators do little if anything to operate the trains. She says they stop the trains so the doors are lined up with the black areas inside the yellow squares on the platform. She says they also open the doors. I say no. What’s the deal?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Wondering, in a way, you’re both right. The system automatically lines up the BART trains by the black marks, and opens and closes the doors as well. However, it is possible for the operators to override the system.
COMMUTER: I dashed out to get half-and-half the other day without bothering to grab my license and lo and behold, the police were having one of those sobriety traffic stops near my house. I saw it too late and couldn’t figure out how to drive around it.
Thank goodness, the police let me slide, but it got me to thinking. While I’m going to be more diligent about bringing my wallet and license with me from now on, what happens if I forget it again and the police aren’t as forgiving?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: It is such a great idea, Oopsie, for everybody to memorize their driver’s license number. It’s useful not only if you forget to bring the license with you, but because there are lots of other situations where you may find yourself asked for it.
In answer to your question, the most probable outcome is getting an inexpensive fix-it ticket that would require you to show your current license to a law enforcement officer or the folks at the DMV and get signed off.
COMMUTER: I drove through the FasTrak lane the other day and it didn’t beep. Am I going to get in trouble?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: In general, you’re OK when you go through and for some reason the FasTrak transponder doesn’t get read. As we’ve discussed before in this column, the system will read your license plate and match it up with your FasTrak account on file, or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen.
However, there is a caveat. If your transponder is only beeping from time to time or has completely lost its voice, this means the batteries inside it have probably died. If this happens to you, you need to call the FasTrak service center at 877-BAY-TOLL to swap it for a new one.
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