Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Shark’s Teeth, States that Ban Talking on Cell Phones, Road Trips + MORE

August 4, 2014 14:00 pm · 17 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: Last week, at the urging of a frequent poster, the Jammer asked everyone to share favorite automobile-focused movies. What a cornucopia of awesome suggestions! Can’t wait to watch every one of them – I have not seen any of them, except “Vanishing Point,” which Cowellian also named as a favorite.

The movie that got the most votes was “Bullit,” with three votes from Rebel, That’s All Folks! and Tom, followed by “If I Had A Million,” a 1932 W.C. Fields gem suggested by the Captain and seconded by Ancient Mariner. ClayDen suggested “Grand Prix,” as did SeeK;  “Blues Brothers” got the nod from Robert Alexander and Just a Concordian, and the latter also endorsed “Ronin,” as did Pierre. “American Graffiti” got the nod from Tom and Michelle (original). Most hilariously of all, “Christine” got two votes, from Silva and nytemuvr. This is not a movie that glorifies the automobile!

COMMUTER: I was driving in San Rafael the other day and as I approached the onramp to northbound Highway 101 coming from Sir Francis Drake, I noticed a line of white triangles stretching across the road, painted on the asphalt. I had no earthly idea what to do so I proceeded as I usually would. Is this some weird Marin County thing? Actually, I believe I have a dim recollection of seeing similar markings in the East Bay, but don’t know what they mean.

–Puzzled Claycordian

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Now, now, PC, let us not speak ill of our neighbors to the west. (Actually, aren’t they often referred to as “PC,” now that I think of it?) Anyway, the markings you refer to are a “yield line,” indicating the point where drivers must yield.

You were on a feeder street leading to an onramp that is accessed from three different roadways. To make sure cars on that feeder street don’t protrude too far onto the onramp when waiting to drive onto the onramp, presenting a danger to the other drivers, the yield line was added. These markings appear in other states as well, and are informally called “shark’s teeth.”

Here’s a photo courtesy of Commute Orlando,


COMMUTER: We’re about to take off on vacation and wondered if there’s a way to find out which states prohibit talking on a hand-held cell phone, as California does?

–Law-Abiding traveler

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Yes, LAT, cruise on over to the Governors Highway Safety Association website, Good on you for wanting to ensure that you will obey the laws of whichever states you visit. But hey, you’re on vacation, probably with your family, yes? Why don’t you stash the cell phone in the trunk, or give it to the person riding shotgun?

COMMUTER:  Here is one of my favorite California road trips.  The drive takes you over the two highest mountain passes in California and some spectacular scenery.

We met in Manteca, then drove through Sonora to Pinecrest to enjoy the view of Pinecrest Lake. Then we drove over Sonora Pass (9,623 feet) on CA 108. The drive is one of the best sports car/sports sedan roads anywhere, especially the part downhill from the summit.  Next, it’s south on U.S. 395 for gas in Lee Vining ($4.99/gal for 87 octane). 

We then headed to Tioga Road/CA 120 and the climb to Tioga Pass, passing beautiful lakes. You enter Yosemite at Tioga Pass, the highest pass in California at 9,943 feet. You continue through Yosemite on CA 120, through Groveland, then back onto CA 108 and home. 


TRAFFIC JAMMER:  What an awesome trip! If you have made a totally fun local road trip and would care to share it, do send it in and the Jammer will feature it!  Also, don’t forget, the Jammer always loves to run photos of you with your beloved classic car, so don’t hesitate to send those along to as well.

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 Anon August 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM

It means that lane is supposed to yield if there is other traffic. Let me know what kind of car you drive so I know to stay far away…

2 nytemuvr August 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

I guess I misunderstood the question last week, thought it was just your favorite automobile themed movie. There was the glorifying line in “Christine”,…..…..she didn’t appreciate the comment if you haven’t seen the movie.

3 anon question August 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM

I was driving down Cowell Rd. this weekend and it didn’t take too long to figure out that there was a swim meet in progress! I saw quite a few orange “No Swim Meet Parking” signs posted on side streets. My question is: Are these enforceable, or just wishful thinking on the part of the neighbors?

4 I missed it! August 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM

but watched the The Italian Job, last night….great Mini car movie!

5 RunnerDope August 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Hi Janis,

Your friend Ray has never fixed the signal at Concord Blvd. and 6th. Last week there was a line of 10 cars stopped on Concord Blvd at 6th. When the light turned green, only 3 or 4 could get through before it turned red again because a car showed up on 6th.

Note: This happens after 7 PM.

6 Silva August 4, 2014 at 4:40 PM

HAHAHAHAHhahahah!!!!! Oh, nytemuvr, perfect clip!

7 CalOldBlue August 4, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Regarding the road trip: if you have the time, you should consider visiting Bodie State Historic Park (north of Lee Vining; some unpaved road) and/or Mono Lake as part of the excursion.

8 RunnerDope August 4, 2014 at 5:28 PM

@anon question,

Excellent question. I was wondering the same thing this weekend. All the signs are identical so it looks like a concerted effort by some group.

It would be stupid for the city to allow such a big event several times each summer without adequate parking while at the same time prohibiting them from parking nearby. Kind of raises the question of the legality of putting up no parking signs when you have no authority to do so.

9 anon August 4, 2014 at 6:20 PM

@3 a ticket. would be better than damage to your car.

10 Cowellian August 4, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I always thought that the No Parking signs on Cowell were put up by the folks running the swim meet, probably as a result of all the neighbors complaining.

11 ClayDen August 4, 2014 at 7:41 PM


We considered going down to Mono Lake, but were doing the drive in one day and it was a long day at that. We could have skipped the June Lake Loop, and will next time. We wanted to have plenty of time to wander around Tuolumne Meadows and soak in the beauty. We climbed Pothole Dome while there- a great place to take photos of Tuolumne Meadows.

Regarding the detour down an unpaved road: not appropriate for the cars we were driving, a Miata, a BMW M Roadster and a Mazda 3. If we were driving cars appropriate for an unpaved road, the rest of the drive would have been un-fun.

12 Janis Mara August 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM

@RunnerDope, I passed along your concern to Ray Kuzbari, who as most readers already know is Concord’s Traffic Czar. Thanks for alerting me!

@nytemuvr, you did not misunderstand the question, you did great! Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

13 nytemuvr August 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM

@Janis Mara
You said something about “glorifying” cars just struck me funny and I wanted to get that clip posted…..Christine doesn’t have any glorifying traits I guess.

14 Cowellian August 5, 2014 at 7:12 AM

RunnerDope had a couple of interesting concerns.

15 Anon777 August 5, 2014 at 7:20 AM

RE: the swim meets and no parking signs on Cowell Road. These are put up by neighbors and are NOT enforceable. They cannot tow or ticket you.

16 @anon 777 August 5, 2014 at 9:19 AM

You’re nuts, I have seen city staff put them up. They also prohibit left turns coming out of the parkin lot for swim meets, but I guess you would make that turn anyway.

17 anon August 5, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Folks that live neat Levi’s – 49er stadium will not like people parking in their neighborhood– but toooo bad– its legal. That is where you bought a home–deal with it……………..

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