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 email@example.com.
COMMUTER: This is something I’ve always wondered. Can you get a ticket for crossing on foot at an intersection when the red hand is showing? Even if the light is green?
–Should I stay or should I go?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: That is a great question, SISOSIG. California’s Vehicle Code specifically says, “No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal … while the “Wait” or “Don’t Walk” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.” (If you’re already in the crosswalk, you’re OK.)
Dunno how likely it is that a law enforcement officer would ticket you, SISOSIG; but do remember those signs are there to help you escape getting into a confrontation with several tons of metal that you can’t possibly win.
COMMUTER:I was driving down Cowell Road 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?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Several readers have asked about these signs. The Jammer asked Joan Carrico, Concord’s director of parks and recreation, about it, and here’s her response:
“I have been with the city about nine years; the signs were put in place by my predecessor around 2003 or 2004, around the time Concord Community Pool was renovated and reopened. The city met with neighbors who lived near the pool and agreed to put the signs up on surrounding streets.
The idea was to encourage swim meet attendees to respect the neighbors’ needs by thinking twice about parking on the street.
As to enforceability, it is limited to illegal parking, such as blocking a driveway or parking in a red curb zone. If a car is just parked in front of someone’s house, there’s not much the police department can do about that.
It is a difficult situation. We do everything we can to park as many attendees as we can at the pool, and we encourage attendees to carpool if possible.
The police department and Parks and Recreation are going to meet to discuss other avenues and will also get together with meet organizers to discuss alternatives. One possible alternative would be to use the parking lot at Loma Vista Adult School about a quarter-mile or eighth-mile down on Cowell Road. We could get a permit from the school system and create a shuttle system.
That is tricky, because you must have vans, drivers and insurance. But it’s not impossible. In the meantime, one measure of comfort might be that there are no more than three large meets per year; the smaller meets don’t impact neighborhoods.”
COMMUTER: I was flying down the highway and the spousal unit got annoyed because I was going the regular speed limit – that would be 65 — past signs reading, “55 mph, Construction zone.” There was no sign of any forklifts, cranes or other Caltrans vehicles and no activity going on, so why should I slow down?
–I Can’t Drive 55
TRAFFIC JAMMER: ICD55, the Jammer does see your point. However, even if work isn’t being done, under the law you must observe the posted speed limit.
Commuter: Claycord is full of side-right-hand-turn lanes. By this, I mean the lanes that are next to the right-hand lane as you approach a traffic light at an intersection. They are separated from the right-hand lane by a raised triangular island, and they are a mystery to me.
If I am driving up to a red light, is it legal for me to take the side-right-hand-turn lane and not stop?
Under any circumstances, regardless of the color of the light, is it OK to make a right-hand turn if I’m not in the auxiliary lane to the far right, but just the regular right lane?
—Baffled and Bewildered
TRAFFIC JAMMER: B&B, thanks for writing in. After poring over the Vehicle Code sections pertaining to right turns, the Jammer turned to Officer Leo, our resident Claycord police officer, for help. Here are Officer Leo’s thoughts:
“First, let me say this: I am not confident that I understand the reader’s description of the turn lane/intersection. When it comes to traffic enforcement, a seemingly innocuous detail can dictate a ticket/no ticket enforcement.
With that in mind, I am going to respond with some generic information from the most validated sources.
If you are facing a red signal and do not stop, you are subject to citation. There really aren’t many exceptions. So, I am going to refer directly to the California Department of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Handbook to answer at least part of this question:
Right turn against a red light–Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the marked limit line. If there is no limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. You may turn right if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light.
No turn against a red arrow – You may not turn right or left against a red arrow.
I think there are two governing sources to cover the second portion of the question. Again, from the Driver’s Handbook:
Right turns – To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of the road. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn. Watch for bicyclists or motorcyclists who may get between your vehicle and the curb.
And here’s from the Vehicle Code:
Section 22100. Except as provided in Section 22100.5 or 22101, the driver of any vehicle intending to turn upon a highway shall do so as follows:
(a) Right Turns. Both the approach for a right-hand turn and a right-hand turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway
I would argue that if you’re in the right lane, but there is another lane to your right (albeit separated by a safety island), you’re not “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org