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 visited Ikea in Emeryville for the first time the other day. I kept trying to get out, but no matter what I did, I could not seem to find the exit. Finally I emerged into the sunlight and promptly got lost again trying to find the entrance to Interstate 580.
Obviously, I don’t get to Emeryville much, but assuming I might want to go to a movie at the movie theater there or something (never going back to Ikea!) what is the best way to get back to I-580 from the shopping center?
–Lost in Emeryville
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Lost In Emeryville, the Jammer feels your pain. In fact, thousands of people feel your pain, at least with regard to Ikea. If you google “Ikea hard to find exit” you’ll see a number of articles about how Ikea was designed that way on purpose. For a suggestion on how to successfully negotiate the store in future, check out THIS LINK.
Claycordians, do you have any tips on how to find your way around Ikea? The Jammer has managed to traverse the store successfully in the past, but it was so long ago, she doesn’t remember how she did it.
Now that we’ve discussed your first traffic problem, Lost in Emeryville, let’s go on to the second. Here’s how to get to I-580 from Ikea:
Head south on Shellmound Street, then continue south on 40th Street, back over the railroad bridge, to San Pablo Avenue. Turn right on San Pablo Avenue.
Follow San Pablo Avenue past Adeline Street and get over to the left-hand lanes. Immediately after you go under I-580, turn left on 35th Street.
After you turn left there will be two lanes for accessing the freeways. For I-580, stay in the right lane. For Highway 24 to Walnut Creek stay in the left lane.
Incidentally, Lost in Emeryville, if you have an iPhone and find yourself in a trying situation like this in the future, you can ask Siri, the automated “personal assistant” that comes with the phone, to give you directions.
As you probably already know, you activate Siri by depressing and holding down the button below the bottom of the screen until you hear a quick “beep-beep.
The words, “What can I help you with?” appear on the screen, and Siri asks you this via your phone’s audio system as well. Tell Siri, “Directions,” and when she says, “Where would you like to go?” give the address where you are going.
Alas, this is where things often get dicey. Siri doesn’t always understand what you are saying. If this turns out to be the case, look on the screen. Siri’s words appear in a word balloon. Tap the word balloon and key in the address where you are going.
COMMUTER: I live in Rodeo and commute to Marin County five days a week. It honestly wasn’t that bad a commute until they started tearing up I-580 right before the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Now they’re tearing up I-580 eastbound right after the bridge, and the evening commute is bumper-to-bumper, stop and go for miles. When will this nightmare end?
–Trapped in a Traffic Nightmare
TRAFFIC JAMMER: TTN, you have the Jammer’s deepest sympathy. For those who aren’t aware of this, Caltrans crews are hard at work on the $18 million I-580 Scofield Avenue bridge deck replacement just east of the Richmond-SanRafaelBridge.
Last week eastbound traffic was shifted to a new configuration that allows construction to take place in an island between two lanes of traffic near the Chevron refinery.
That has split the two lanes of traffic and caused truly awful delays, as TTN attests. It used to take about 15 minutes to get from the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard interchange to the construction area. Now that same trip is taking 35 minutes, according to Caltrans.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, TTN. By the end of this month, the split lane configuration should be over when the work in the median is finished. Then lanes will be rejoined and pushed left. The entire project will be completed in December.
Until then, unless your employer is receptive to letting you come in earlier and leave earlier, or working from home, you might want to invest in Books on Tape or some other diversion to help you cope with the delays.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: A bit of disagreement arose last week regarding a question about BART train operator duties. Here’s question from last week:
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: : The Jammer responded that the system automatically lines up the BART trains by the black marks, and opens and closes the doors as well.
A reader took exception, saying that the operators close the doors. After checking with her BART source, the Jammer learned that while the system automatically opens them, operators do indeed close the doors. The other details were correct: The system lines the train up with the black marks and stops the train.
Here is a list of BART train operator duties from BART’s site, http://www.bart.gov/about/jobs/descriptions/.
- Monitors console and radio communications to ensure that vehicles are operating within established guidelines.
- Observes and detects problems with passengers entering and exiting train doors and takes corrective action; observes and detects hazards on the track, in the station or platforms, or on the train itself, reports them to OperationsControlCenter personnel via radio, and takes necessary corrective action.
- Makes announcements to passengers regarding station arrivals, transfer points, delays and emergencies and answers passenger questions.
- In yards, on test tracks, turntables and wash facilities, follows directions from Tower personnel and operates console to move trains as directed.
- Takes prescribed action such as evacuating passengers, administering first aid, and using a fire extinguisher during emergencies.
- Reports basic equipment malfunctions of a mechanical or electrical nature to OperationsControlCenter; works with Foreworkers and technicians to isolate reported problems.
- Maintains logs of work activities; completes forms to report unusual circumstances and action taken.
- Uses a variety of communication equipment, including a public address system, two‑way radios and emergency telephones.
- Monitors and learns to apply changes in operating and emergency procedures.
- Maintains and upgrades knowledge of policies and procedures as required.
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