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: Claycord has a story about someone who was hit on Interstate 680 trying to retrieve a tarp. [Jammer: On May 9, a man who attempted to clear a tarp from the northbound lanes of I-680 near the Ygnacio Valley Road exit in Walnut Creek was struck by a Ford F-250 truck and taken to the hospital with major injuries. The story is HERE.
Have you got an expert to advise us on how this should have been handled? Picking it up was hazardous to the pedestrian, but leaving it presents a hazard to a lot of people.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer is very glad you asked, Cowellian. The gentleman obviously had good intentions, but this is a very bad idea. Even California Highway Patrol professionals who have been trained in how to do this, including slowing traffic down by flashing lights and crisscrossing the highway, sometimes are injured.
The Jammer consulted with our resident Claycordian law enforcement officer, Leo, to get his further thoughts on the matter. Here’s what he said:
“Yes. Call 9-1-1. Let the experts handle it. This one of the time when you CAN use your phone while driving.
There’s an art and inherent hazard to working in traffic – whether on the freeway or city streets. Our training starts with how to position the police car and ends somewhere around the ocean axiom of “don’t turn your back on it (traffic)”.
Calling in the hazard is as far as your duty as a citizen goes. Using this unfortunate incident as an example: this well-intended citizen turned a hazard into a larger, arguably more traumatic event.
Side note: if you see an upcoming hazard or abruptly stopped traffic, use your four-way flashers. These aren’t just for being stuck on the side of the road. These are communication devices. Big rig drivers use them all the time to warn their fellow drivers of upcoming hazards.”
COMMUTER: I was visiting a friend the other day in San Francisco and drove around looking for a parking spot for easily 30 minutes. There was a tempting-looking spot but the curb was painted white. Would I have been OK parking there?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: One never knows, Tempted, because you might have gotten lucky; but the Jammer always recommends being safe rather than sorry. White designates a zone reserved for loading or unloading passengers at times set by local ordinances.
So, if there was a sign setting forth the hours when parking would have been OK (never seems to be one of these when you need them, eh?) you would have known whether or not to park. If you visit your friend often, the Jammer suggests calling the city to find out when you can safely park.
A few more curb-color facts: Red means no stopping, standing or parking, except for buses in bus loading zones, green means time limit parking dictated by local ordinances, and yellow indicates stopping only for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers or freight, for the time specified by local ordinances.
COMMUTER: Before the temporary eastern span of the Bay Bridge went away, there was an illuminated sign on the side of the road displaying how fast the vehicles that passed it were traveling. What if there are vehicles in each of the lanes opposite the device? Which vehicle’s speed does it record in that case?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The device will pick up the speed of the largest, closest vehicle. Generally, if you are in the lane closest to the device, it will display your speed, Wondering. However, if you’re in a Smart car and there’s an SUV right behind you, it might pick up the RV’s speed.
The point of the devices is to get people to notice the speed at which they are driving, which is a good thing, yes? So even if the directional unit mistakenly records a different vehicle, it’s done its job.
COMMUTER: On Willow Pass traveling east, after the bridge crosses over Naval Weapons, have you noticed the big drop-off/ditch on the right shoulder? It is just east of the bridge on the right shoulder.
If a car goes off the pavement and into the ditch, a serious accident is possible.
Can we get the City of Concord to fill in the ditch?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Safety First, the Jammer shared your concern with Concord’s Traffic Manager, Ray Kuzbari, and he is looking into it. For sure, as soon as any news comes in, the Jammer will share it. Thank you for alerting the city to this problem!
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