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: How about the metering lights on the Clayton Road onramp onto southbound 242? The right lane light lets 2-3 cars through for everyone in the left lane. Another set, alternate but both turn green a split second apart.
And neither is a carpool lane. Just waiting for that accident to happen. Does anyone monitor these? What a pain, and I sure don’t see any difference in traffic.
–RanchgirlCA and DodgerDog
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer reported this problem to Adam Priest, Caltrans spokesman for District Four. Priest said Caltrans is going to fix the problem and the lights should be fixed by the end of the week. Priest added, “The ‘split second apart’ that was noted is a minimum signal offset ensured to promote safety. As well, all of our meters are carefully monitored in the mornings.”
Beloved Claycordians, let’s keep our fingers crossed. Please let the Jammer know if the lights are not fixed by the promised deadline.
COMMUTER: What is the cost of a duplicate driver’s license?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: This is a very good question. Beloved Claycordians, after you read this answer, you are probably going to want to carry your driver’s license in a steel-plated case around your neck, or maybe have it implanted like those chips they put in dogs. Seriously, it only costs $26 for a duplicate noncommercial Class C license, $29 to replace a noncommercial Class A license or $26 for a motorcycle license.
But it’s not just a matter of paying the fee. Here is what you must do to accomplish the task: Make an appointment to go to a DMV office; complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application form DL 44 or DL 44C and pay the application fee; give a thumb print; have your picture taken. The DMV will also validate your photograph, social security number, and your personal information. Of course, there are reasons why this is so rigorous, since nobody wants to have their identity stolen!
COMMUTER: I see where the commuter lane hours have changed on Interstate 680 to and from San Ramon, is that a permanent change? I keep hearing it’s to alleviate traffic during the BART strike but BART doesn’t go to San Ramon so why the change in times?
–Anon and Raisin Barr
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Yes, Anon, you are right about the reasoning behind that move. “The commuter lane hours on Interstate 680 to and from San Ramon were changed only for the duration of the BART strike,” Priest said. The signs have been changed back to indicate that the hours are now the same as before.
The Jammer sees your point about the fact that BART doesn’t go to San Ramon. Perhaps the idea was that in general, the strike created congestion with more cars on the road, though this is naught but an idle speculation on the Jammer’s part.
COMMUTER: When exiting onto Treat Boulevard going northbound, you exit into your own lane — but I constantly end up behind someone who has completely stopped so they can merge into the left lanes into the flow of traffic.
I know the lane you exit into eventually turns into a “right turn only” lane, but I don’t understand why people feel the need to stop completely. I notice a lot of time, they want to go all the way across traffic to turn left onto Oak Road, which they would get onto easier if they just went across the light from the exit.
So my question is this: Is it legal to stop completely to merge into other lanes? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slammed on my breaks because someone suddenly stops
–Not Such A Treat
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Clearly this is a question for our local Claycord law enforcement officer, and the Jammer asked if he would be so kind as to help out once again. Here’s his response:
This is a challenging intersection to say the least. The right lane does not become a “right turn only” collector until well after Oak Road, but it appears to do so as it passes under the BART tracks. I think NSAT is right, folks just need to get where they want to go.
So, the simple answer is “No.” Drivers are not supposed to stop in any lane so they can get over to their turn, or the lane of their choosing, if it impedes the normal flow of that lane. Folks need to revisit the art of the U-turn (whether that means going to the next block and making a U-turn or making several right turns around the block).
I addressed this in an earlier column. This rule still applies:
California Vehicle Code section 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 through 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.”
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