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: When are the signal changes you mentioned a few weeks ago going into effect along Treat Blvd? Nothing yet and at 5:30 a.m. when you get stopped at a red light when NOBODY is around, it’s really, really annoying.
Specifically, this happens at the intersection of Cowell Road and Treat Boulevard. The light will turn red for treat travelers even when nobody is there on Cowell. Why doesn’t Treat stay green until someone comes up on Cowell to trigger it?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer checked with Concord Traffic Czar Ray Kuzbari, and here’s what he said:
“The reader is correct when it comes to Cowell Road. The problem is that vehicle detection on Cowell Road at Treat Boulevard needs to be upgraded so that the green light is not constantly recycling for Cowell Road even when there are no vehicles on this street. We apologize for the inconvenience. We do plan to install additional detector loops in the pavement this year (2014) so that the light stays green on Treat Blvd until a vehicle pulls up on Cowell Road.”
COMMUTER: When I see large utility-type trucks with white and orange checkered flags on the freeway (usually Interstate 880), I usually know to stay clear of them due to the debris they purge all over the freeway. This might be a semi with a large cargo bin with no cover that allows out dirt, sand or other debris on the freeway, or maybe a cement truck that dumps partially hardened cement or even some other kind of utility truck that will throw out dirt clod clumps and rocks all over the road.
The only thing I can think of is that white checkered flag somehow gives these vehicles permission to dump all the debris onto the freeway at will; potentially damaging other vehicles on the road. What can you or your experts say about all this? Signed, Captain Freeway – with sand in my eyes and chips and dents in my car and always watching out for Gap Shooters!
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Ah, Captain Freeway, Vehicle Code Section 23112(b) says, “No person shall place, deposit or dump, or cause to be placed, deposited or dumped, any rocks, refuse, garbage, or dirt in or upon any highway” without official consent. The Jammer doesn’t know what the orange checkered flag signifies (unless it’s from an airfield, which seems unlikely) but it’s not going to override this vehicle code section. Claycordians, got any idea what the flag signifies?
Tangential to this question is the Jammer’s very favorite part of the Vehicle Code, the Paul Buzzo Act. It’s the section of the Vehicle Code that forbids throwing burning cigarettes and similar things out of the car.
COMMUTER: I’m considering getting a camera to record my road trips and the best place to mount it is inside the windshield via a suction cup mount. I don’t want to mount it externally. I realize that you can only mount a GPS in either of the lower corners of the windshield.
If I mount it near the upper center of the windshield to the right of the rear view mirror, it will be perfectly placed for the photography, and it will not obstruct my vision due to it being in the windshield area where the forward view is blocked by the rear view mirror. Sounds like a win-win, but is it legal?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Clearly this was a case for our beloved Claycord Officer Leo. Here’s what he had to say:
“The commuting public of Claycord lives in the technical spaces of the vehicle code!
Mounting a camera: Section 26708 of the Vehicle Code covers windshields. Short answer, no – it’s not legal. “Any object” mounted is only allowable in the bottom corners. This section covers a myriad of exceptions, but the reader’s camera doesn’t apply.
Vehicles are designed to be in accordance with the laws (notably California laws as we seem to have the most). Then, they add performance and/ or luxury. After that, it’s driver beware.”
COMMUTER: Because people are crazy in parking lots, I back out very slowly. Even still, it seems that half the time some impatient driver whizzes behind me as I am backing out.
Lately, there have been a few very close calls, especially in the disaster that is the Pleasant Hill Target parking lot. My question is, if I am backing out at a reasonable speed, and someone still decides to go to behind me, whose fault is it if there is a collision?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Good point, Greg. The Jammer was backing very slowly out of a spot in front of Safeway a few days ago and someone walked right behind her. Still makes me shake when I think about it. Here are Officer Leo’s thoughts:
“Parking lots. If people only appreciated how much design really goes into them. If they just slowed down and gave equal consideration to their fellow drivers. Ah well, in the meantime…
The Vehicle Code generally doesn’t apply in most parking lots. As usual, there are exceptions to make the rule. That being said, even the most prudent backer-upper will probably be at fault in a collision. Consider: you, as the backer, are moving against the flow. Obviously, if someone is backing and has made notable progress, it’s common courtesy and sense to let the person out.”
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