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: The Jammer must give a shoutout to beloved Claycordians who outdid yourselves last week. Atticus Thraxx asked if corpses count as passengers in the commuter lane (short answer: No). In her response, the Jammer asked you all to identify where, “kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible,” came from.
Let’s hear it for Cowellian, who was the first to answer the question with a link to longstanding comedy troupe Monty Python! Well done, Cowellian! Killjoy was next, with a sly reference to MP, saying, “And now for something completely different, I give you Atticus Thraxx’ question.”
COMMUTER: The other day I was at the mall looking for a parking spot and had quite a fright. I was driving eastward between two rows of parked cars when a car appeared unexpectedly from between two parked vehicles, going south and crossing my path.
What is the law regarding parking lots and observing the marked passageways? I’ve also seen people driving across rows of empty spaces and wonder if this is illegal.
–Mauled in the Mall
TRAFFIC JAMMER: MM, one of the most frightening moments the Jammer has had was when a maroon SUV appeared out of nowhere in a parking lot under similar circumstances. The Jammer was backing out of a space, keeping a sharp eye in the rear-view mirror, and boom! nearly got hit by someone driving through the lot behind her.
The first thing to understand about parking lots is that they are private property. The second thing is that parking lot legalities are a bit tricky, so the Jammer gives the floor to our resident Claycordian law enforcement voice of reason, Officer Leo:
“Traffic laws in parking lots require a caveat. You have to look up and attempt to understand legal terms such as “private property/ public access” and “off street parking facility”. In general (i.e., there’s always exceptions), the Vehicle Code does not apply.
So, in the incident described, there’s no enforceable section or law.
Typically, what people want to know is who is at fault in the event of a collision. That’s up to the insurance agent/ adjuster. From experience and common sense, the answer is obvious. The driver not following the conventional path will be at fault.
Another possibility is that security may (and has the authority) require the driver to leave the property.
Finally, certain sections do apply. DUI can be enforced in parking lots. So can certain reckless driving acts. Also, some parking lots (DVC) have exceptions wherein the Vehicle Code can be and is enforced.”
COMMUTER: The trees on westbound Willow Pass Road from Galindo to Fry Way block the sightline to see the traffic signals. Are there any plans in the future to trim them?
–Thanks, Linda H.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Linda, thanks very much for bringing this to the Jammer’s attention, as it is a safety hazard for sure. The Jammer contacted Concord Traffic Czar and Plenipotentiary Ruler of All Things Highway, Ray Kuzbari. The Traffic Czar promised to get on it right away, and will work with Public Works to get the trees trimmed, assuming the limbs haven’t already fallen off or some renegade kamikaze public citizen hasn’t taken the law into their own hands and done it already.
COMMUTER: Is talking on cell phones banned in every state?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: This question comes up every so often, most notably when the summer arrives and people are planning their vacations. To find out about distracted driving laws across the country, visit http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html. Or here’s a thought: every time you get in the car, choose a specific passenger as the Official Keeper of the Phone, just like a sober designated driver. If this is not practical, keep your cell phone in the trunk while you’re driving. Just a suggestion.
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