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.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Last week’s column included a video of cars driving on the shoulder on westbound Ygnacio Valley Road to avoid the backup leading to Ayers Road. These cars circumvent the backup before making a right turn on Ayers Road. The item gave rise to questions from a couple of Claycordians:
COMMUTER: I would like to point out that if you are on a road where the shoulder has been turned into a de facto turn lane, and you aren’t on that shoulder, then you are not going to be able to turn. Now, what are you going to do?
COMMUTER: My question exactly. What are you supposed to do if you want to turn right, but others have turned the shoulder into a right turn lane? Janis, can your law enforcement friends tell us what to do?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Our resident Claycordian law enforcement officer came through for us again and gave this response:
“It’s a tough situation when you’re the only sane voice in a cacophony of screams, which is a poetic way of saying the only law-abiding driver in traffic.
The answer is pretty simple, though: signal like you normally would and safely make your move. I have found that with a little patience and some inching in the general direction, folks will let you over.”
This time of year, often folks are out of town visiting relatives or taking time off from work for holiday activities; has the backup on the shoulder decreased any with the holidays, Claycordians?
Now, continuing another thread that began last week:
COMMUTER: Janis, I’d like to see the California Highway Patrol park and monitor the evening commute at Highway 24 and Interstate 680. Talk about dangerous! Too many people cutting in past the solid line dividing the split causing brake checks and near accidents. So bad it’s setting the example to the majority that it’s OK to cross a solid line, which is illegal.
As much as you leave space to be safe and to react, someone darts in, so it’s always dangerous. A CHP ticketing these jerks on occasion would be helpful for all of us who traverse this interchange in our evening commutes. Maybe next week can address this?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: TOB, you make an excellent point regarding the Highway 24 and I-680 interchange. As you say, it’s scary during the evening commute. Just one thing, to get picky about a detail, crossing the solid white line isn’t against the law, though it sure isn’t a good idea. Our friendly law enforcement officer elaborates:
“On crossing solid white lines. Crossing them is generally discouraged. And when it comes to freeway merges there’s the gore point: the triangular island that separates the ramp from the freeway. If you cross that, you’re subject to Vehicle Code Section 21651.”
Readers, Section 21651(a) says, “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful to do either of the following:
(1) To drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section. …” http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21651.htm
COMMUTER: Are there any more Caltrans workers, such as tow truck drivers, based at the Caldecott Tunnel since the 4th bore opened? Are they based there 24 hours? Is it hard to stay awake?
Just curious how they handle traffic problems that occur now inside the tunnel. Thank you.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer ran these intriguing questions past Ivy Morrison, who is Caltrans’ Fourth Bore Guru. She obligingly answered in detail:
- Caltrans constructed a state-of-the-art Operations & Maintenance Control (OMC) building as part of the Fourth Bore Project. The OMC serves as the “nerve center” for monitoring traffic, air quality and other conditions in four Caldecott tunnels, as well as the Webster-Posey Tube in Alameda County.
- The OMC, which is a state-of-the-art facility, will continue to be staffed 24/7 by trained tunnel operators. The operators monitor tunnel conditions, and also ensure that the systems are implementing the appropriate responses. The tunnel operators also work with first responders in the event of a security or safety issue in the tunnel. For example, firefighters would communicate with tunnel operators about which jet fans should be activated in the event of a tunnel fire.
- The tunnel operators have a very important job to perform and must stay alert at all times. There are three shifts in a 24-hour period and two tunnel operators per shift.
- Tow trucks are not typically stationed at the Caldecott Tunnel. Tunnel operators would call in tow trucks from the near by Bay Bridge tow truck depot, if needed.
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