Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Illegally Parking Next to Disabled Spots, Old Rides, Driving Between Lines + MUCH MORE

July 21, 2014 14:00 pm · 48 comments

Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This 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

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Behold! This week, frequent commenter Connie Dobbs shares this great shot of her 1977 Toyota Corolla taken in Oakland in 1998. She said, “It was like being in one’s own parade. I never once got pulled over in it.” Thanks for sharing! Claycordians all, don’t hesitate to share photos of your rides as well.


COMMUTER: I was driving down San Pablo Avenue in Richmond and approaching a traffic light at an intersection. Traffic was backed up in the two main lanes, so I drove between a set of double yellow lines to get to the left-turn lane and make my turn.

When I completed the turn, I was shocked to see a police officer behind me with lights on. He pulled me over and gave me a ticket. What gives?

–Unpleasantly Surprised

TRAFFIC JAMMER: US, you ran afoul of a phenomenon that confuses a lot of people – a set of double yellow lines, with enough space between them for a car to drive in.

Years ago, a CHP officer told the Jammer to think of this as equivalent to a traffic island. Just as you’re not allowed to drive on or across a traffic island, US, you cannot do so with a set of double yellow lines.

This setup is governed by Vehicle Code section 21651(a). The section dictates that whenever a highway is divided into two or more roadways by a section not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings, it is illegal to drive any vehicle upon the dividing section.

COMMUTER: I got a ticket for talking on my cell phone and I’m worried because I need my car to drive to work. I got another ticket about a year ago, so I can’t go to traffic school to mask this ticket. Am I going to lose my insurance once my insurance company learns I got a ticket?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: The cell phone ticket will not appear as a point on your record, Frightened. Since you need a clean driving record so badly, the Jammer suggests turning off the cell phone before getting in the car, so you won’t be tempted when it rings, or even putting it in the trunk. Otherwise, you could end up getting in a crash because of the distraction.


COMMUTER: Hey Jammer, was down at the laundrymat today and saw something that made me mad. So I took a pic (above). How do we fight this crap without resorting to calling up our large friends and physically moving the car into the street?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: TC, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Thanks for your concern, your photo and your question. Readers, as you can see, this driver parked not in the disabled space but the crosshatched area next to it. It is also illegal to park in that space. The answer: Even though parking lots like these are considering private property, you can call law enforcement to come and handle the situation and they will do so.

TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by 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

1 Z-Man July 21, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Funny how Law Enforcement will come handle the parking issue on Private Property, but may not come take a report when a vehicle or home burglary occurs. (in some, not all cases)

2 Kristy S. July 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM

@Connie Dobbs
Drinking and driving is not a joke… it is NEVER a laughing matter.

3 Wow July 21, 2014 at 2:41 PM

There really is a Connie Dobbs.

4 Schmee July 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

I think some people just need something to complain about. It makes them feel better.

5 Enfield303 July 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM

@Kristy S,

Since she’s not wearing shoes or sitting in the car, it looks like she’s just posing for the camera. It’s a long fall from your high horse.

@Connie Dobbs

You sure couldn’t commit many crimes with a get-away-car like that. Couldn’t sneak up on anyone either. Looks like a race car.LOL

6 @Kristy S July 21, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Simmer down. She’s not even in the car, much less driving it.

7 debdvo July 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

@ Kristy S.
Nothing implies she is planning on driving. She is barefoot in front of a residence posing w/ a parked vehicle. She’s having a kick showing us her whacky car…can we let her enjoy it.

8 Don July 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I wonder if there were two hadicapped spaces on either side of the Volkswagon, could two tickets be issued?

9 Noj July 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

In the old days, insurance companies did not charge for seat belt tickets, car pool violations, or cell phone tickets. Today they do. Cell phone tickets are weighted more than other tickets because of the fact that people on their cell phones are more likely to be involved in accidents. The police officer will normally tell you that these types of violations don’t affect your insurance rates, but they do. The officer just doesn’t want to see you hopping up and down on one leg, on the side of the road, complaining to him about your personal problems. Stay off your cell phones.

10 ClayDen July 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM


So you were essentially on probation due to your other ticket, and you still were talking on your cell phone?????? Actions have consequences; seems like you got what you deserve. If it’s important to make or take the call, pull off of the road, do so, and don’t drive distracted endangering your fellow motorists and pedestrians. I hope you learned your lesson.

11 Marissa July 21, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Hi Connie, love the car; just hope you didn’t pose with the beer in the parade.

12 Aimless July 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Thank you so much for bringing attention to the issue of parking in the crosshatch area! I was sadly unaware of this issue until I met my amazing friend Alisa, who has two sons who use wheelchairs. What I learned from her is that, if your vehicle uses a wheelchair lift, the disabled space is basically useless unless the crosshatch area is available as well – otherwise the person in the wheelchair has no room to disembark. A few years ago she worked with Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier to create a law specifically targeting this issue (not sure what the outcome was):

I am embarrassed that I had no idea about this issue until I met her, but I am so glad she educated me and I am happy to see this address in your column as well – thank you!

13 Silva July 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Doesn’t look like she’s driving to me.

14 RANDOM TASK July 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

UHH why I do agree to keeping with the laws and penal codes …lets be real so block traffic and take more time out of peoples days or use if safe to do so common sense and get yourself to the turn lane seems obvious at that point ……I/E if you want it to be a median than make it a median or else let people use the roads in a common sense way and relieve traffic instead of creating more …….just a thought ….obviously if he went into oncoming traffic to do so that is a no no but come on let my people gooooo

15 Oaklingrad July 21, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Nowadays, they’d probably burn your car in Oakland.

16 Montecito Sara July 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM

I don’t like the picture either. My brother was killed in a drunk driving accident. Seeing somebody with a beer and a car is a trigger for me.

17 July 21, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Maybe it’s a root beer. Either way, she’s not in the car or even insinuating she will be driving. She’s standing next to her American flag car, that’s it.

18 RunnerDope July 21, 2014 at 4:16 PM

>> Hey Jammer, was down at the laundrymat today and saw something that made me mad. So I took a pic (above). How do we fight this crap …


How can you call this guy “a gentleman and a scholar” when he can’t spell laundromat and uses cr*p in his post?

19 Silva July 21, 2014 at 4:39 PM

I do like the car. I wonder if it came like that, if the kids or some friends punked her, or if she did it herself? Nice straight lines, nice job any case. Good thing there is a picture!

20 @NOJ July 21, 2014 at 4:40 PM

More Insurance Companies than not still do not charge for cell phone violations. Doesn’t make it correct and perhaps more should but should be clarified that many do not charge. :)

21 just a concordian July 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Wow… a bottle sparks such conversations? Do you know if there’s beer inside? Maybe it’s milk. And 1 beer won’t trigger DUIs for most people, certainly not for this woman. So chill out, and just enjoy the scenery.

22 Killjoy July 21, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Yup. No keys in her hand. No purse over her shoulder. No shoes.
It looks like a simple posed photo. There is no obvious intent to get behind the wheel after having imbibed. And as the Mayor stated, maybe it’s a root beer?

23 F.Y.I. July 21, 2014 at 5:17 PM

One thing I was surprised to learn while at Costco in Concord observing the CPD walking through the parking lot checking out and citing several cars parked in handicapped spaces with the appropriate placards and plates. When I asked why they were being ticketed they explained that the cars wheels were parked over the designated lines provided and that is illegal. Even though they were not encroaching on another parking space.
I have a placard and have not really gave this any thought in the past.
I’m glad I found this out!

24 The Closer July 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Hahahaha… Leave it to Connie to stir the pot simply by posting a picture of her car. That’s a wild looking paint job. It would take some big brass ones to drive that around. Love it.

25 Great car! July 21, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Too bad it wasn’t a Confederate flag, it would have been much more fitting.

26 @ Random Task July 21, 2014 at 5:41 PM

PLEASE learn how to use punctuation in your sentences so we can understand what you’re trying to say! Or, don’t bother, because it probably isn’t important anyway………….

27 RunnerDope July 21, 2014 at 6:25 PM

So what’s the deal with everyone saying she’s not going driving cause she’s barefoot? I don’t see the connection.

28 Teacher Wannabe July 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM

It bugs me when impatient people pass others in the center section just to get to the turn lane. Wait your turn in the lane until you can safely pull into the turn lane. Suppose someone didnt see you passing on the left side and pulled into the turn lane. BAM!

29 Mimi July 21, 2014 at 6:47 PM

I see people ALL the time parking in the lines at the Community Youth Center as well as the Handicap spot as well. Staff doesn’t do anything unless I bring it to their attention.
Also, it happens ALOT at Cowell pool. Good to know I can call the police to come out eventhough, they wouldn’t take a report when my car got broken into a month ago!

30 Whatever July 21, 2014 at 7:23 PM

My mother has been disabled for 14 years from a stroke, and 3/4’s of her body is paralized. She has NO control of her body, and cannot even sit up on her own. If I were to ever take her somewhere and someone was parked in the cross hatched area next to the handicapped area you had better believe I will block that person in with my car and call the cops. Actually, I would do this even if my mother was not with me. People NEED that area to get out with either wheelchairs or walkers, or anything. Shame on anyone who does this!!

And leave Connie alone you quick to judge people! She is NOT even INSIDE a vehicle. I am so very disappointed with so many who live in my community, on many different levels.

31 Connie Dobbs July 21, 2014 at 7:56 PM

#15 I lived in Oakland at the time, at 61st and MLK.
I knew I wasn’t going to be selling the car, and I thought it would be hilarious to paint it like Peter Fonda’s bike in Easy Rider. It was. People spit on it, and offered to set fire to it. I was also saluted, and given stern lectures about desecrating the flag. There were more than 13 stripes and way more than 50 stars, btw. My all-time favorite was the guy next to me at a stoplight in Hayward. He gestured to me to roll down the window and shouted,”Hey, a-hole! Toyota is a Japanese car!” before peeling out through the red light.

I don’t judge any of you for not having the nerve to stand out. You live how you want.

32 Connie Dobbs July 21, 2014 at 8:11 PM

As for you, Sara, decide how you want it. Do you want to be perceived as so fragile a picture sends you into decline or would you rather be seen as any man’s equal? I’ve made my choice.

33 Doug July 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

@Connie Dobbs
It’s obvious you’ve been drinking tonight… please don’t get behind the wheel.

34 anon July 21, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Doug, you picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

35 anon July 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM

thanks connie, good to see a face to the name. even though it’s an old pic.

it’s a good thing alcohol is put in brown paper bags, that way people won’t recognize it as you walk to your car to drive home.

36 anon July 21, 2014 at 9:42 PM

all this talk about the bottle in Connie’s hand and the car? what’s really disturbing is that she is wearing ‘mom’ jeans.

37 Dr. Jellyfinger® July 21, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I like Connie’s photo (looks like a backseat party waiting to happen). Cold beer & that warm “come hither” look! I’d have been helpless…. of course after a few days she’d throw me out….. toss me aside like a left over that she no longer wanted. That’s the way it always goes for me…. one day I’m the hotdog, the next day I’m the cold, old, leftover weenie. Thanks for ruining my night with your cruel, heartless photo Connie!

38 concordsmonkhord July 21, 2014 at 10:47 PM

I concur with responses about the car,young lady and beverage.
Being benign. While I certainly have understanding for those making negative associations to photo due to tragedy involving a dui….it is a pain that amplifies and absorbs as many everyday situations as those touched allow The photo is classic and to an objective observer, has only a patriotic message implied. I have triggers from trauma n grief as well…my counselor says to observe and describe in my head to keep grounded in reality. It helps to contain the overreaching projection of loss and emotions into the present. I fully empathize with sorrow and loss…quality regular counseling helps as does Faith and Friends. Thanks for the photo…love the pre hair product days :-)

39 Silva July 21, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Connie Dobbs, I’m impressed by you work and I hope you always continue to exercize your creativity. What I’d really like to know is is how you got your son to ride with you.

40 Tom July 22, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Where you be staying? 317? PRICELESS!!!

41 Connie Dobbs July 22, 2014 at 6:22 AM

The Boy hadn’t known me to have any other car. He didn’t realize people were making a fuss, being a small child. If you think those jeans were bad, you should have seen my mommy dresses and my sensible shoes.

42 Mimi (original) July 22, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Yikes, a lot of you sure have your panties in a bunch over a simple photo!! Can’t you just accept things at face value? Wildly painted car, girl posing next to it, leave it alone!!

43 leave Connie alone! July 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

you’re lucky she even performs for you b@st#rds!

44 #42 July 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

and that’s a mighty big pair of panties.

45 TC (The Alleged Gentleman and Scholar) July 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Hey RunnerDope,

While I admit Madam Mara may have been a tad bit generous in her description of me as a Gentleman and a Scholar, I feel the need to point out the fact that sometimes, sh*t happens and a word gets misspelled. Pardon me while I nurse my wounded ego back to health after your SCATHING attack on my grammar.

Oh, and I said crap in my email to because to say “retarded a55hattery”, while certainly fitting, seemed a bit crude, don’t you think?

In parting, RunnerDope I leave you with this: Get stuffed.

P.S. Thank you for the new username, TrafficJammer!

– TC (The Alleged Gentleman and Scholar)

46 Sooth Sayer July 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Painting an American flag on a Japanese car, why am I not surprised. Kinda like the bumper stickers I saw recently on the back of a Toyota SUV. “SDSU Graduate” “My Son is in the U.S. Coast Guard” and “Less Government More Freedom” Conservatives can be really dumb sometimes.

47 Connie Dobbs July 22, 2014 at 6:24 PM

#46 I had bumper stickers that read “Eat Meat” and “I (heart) explosives,” from the Slurry Excavation company of Oklahoma City.

48 Silva July 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM

You are a HOOT! How did I miss seeing you out and about back then. We lived nearby, me at 34th and Helen Sts., it seems like I’d remember that.

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