Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Parking Near the New Whole Foods, How Often Do You Use Your Horn? + MORE

November 21, 2016 15:40 pm · 36 comments


Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every first and third Monday at 2 p.m. on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every first and third Monday of the month at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.

Email your questions to

COMMUTER: The new Whole Foods has only been open a few days and our neighborhood along Via Monte and Venado Camino now has no parking for the residents! What gives!  It seems like the management has either told their employees to park in our neighborhood or the employees are afraid to get their own cars dinged up at our expense. I cannot even park in front of my own house now. 


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Outraged, the Jammer is so sorry to hear this! For those who don’t live in Walnut Creek, this is the second WF in the city, located at Encina Grande Center in the city’s east side. It opened in early November.

Can any Beloved Claycordians reading this let the Jammer know, either in the comments or at, if the parking problem has calmed down? Sometimes there is an adjustment period followed by a return to normal. If there is still a problem, the Jammer will look into it.

COMMUTER: Hey TJ, stop making excuses for people. It’s called accountability and responsibility, something foreign to many people. There are many times I wished I was driving an old clunker so I could have a new hood ornament of a car door.


TRAFFIC JAMMER: DT is referring to the Jammer’s response to “Blocking Traffic,” who was upset about motorists who open their driver’s side car door, blocking traffic. By all means, DT, BT was right. When requesting slack, the Jammer was suggesting that we not get too angry at folks who do this; but no, by no means is it OK. Here’s our beloved Claycord law enforcement officer, Officer Leo, with the last word:

“I hate to be a buzzkill, but I can’t give our beloved Claycordians any slack on door opening into traffic.  Not only is it dangerous, but it’s unlawful.

Vehicle Code section 22517:
No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”

COMMUTER: I see cars go by at night with their headlights off. Or with newer models, their running lights are on, but no headlights, which is not good enough to see the road. I figure that some drivers forget to turn it on because they see their dashboard lights on and assume the external lights are on too. 

I don’t know why auto manufacturers can’t come up with something that would warn the driver to turn on their headlights. It’s dangerous for pedestrians too when crossing a street at night.  One time I saw a big SUV running down fast on Clayton Rd. without its headlights on.  I assume this is illegal, right?

–Clap on! Clap off!

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Yes, COCO, this is illegal and, as you said, dangerous. California’s Vehicle Code says that “a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be operated during darkness … with at least two lighted headlamps.” COCO, do you flash your headlights on and off when you see vehicles whose drivers either forgot to turn on the headlights, or have only their running lights on?

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Beloved Claycordians, we have a winner! Two, in fact. The Jammer asked readers to share the mnemonic device to help remember how to turn wheels when parking on a hill. Tango Hotel and Maybe had the answer: “Up, up and away!” Maybe said: “Meaning, when you’re parked going up a hill, turn the wheel away from the curb. Otherwise, do the opposite (downhill, turn toward).

Another one: UCLA, or Uphill Curb Left Always. Congratulations, Tango Hotel and Maybe!

TRAFFIC JAMMER: And, for the last item, the Jammer is curious: Claycordians, how often do you use your horn? Once a week? Once a month? Less often?

TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week. Be sure to cruise by at 2pm on the first and third Mondays of the month for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART, County Connection or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.

Send your questions to

Old Otis November 21, 2016 at 2:09 PM

I use my horn often!
How else are they going to see my finger?

Cassandra November 21, 2016 at 2:13 PM

I rarely use my horn. All it does is tick people off, and these days, it could lead to road rage. It’s not worth it. The few times I use my horn is at a light that has turned green, and the car in front of me is just sitting there.

Concord Resident November 21, 2016 at 2:13 PM

COMMUTER, Quit complaining. I have not been able park in front of my house for years because on all of the people living in the appartments

Chicken Little November 21, 2016 at 2:34 PM

I lightly tap my horn when I’m behind someone who is too busy to notice that the red light has turned green. I use it for a much longer blast when somebody does something stupid (cuts in front of me and slams on the brakes, runs a red light, etc).

In total, I probably use it less than once a month. The last thing I want is to provoke a road rage attack.

Frog voice November 21, 2016 at 2:37 PM

Id be beyond ticked

Concord Grape November 21, 2016 at 3:46 PM

@Porpoise If people would pay their taxes there would be money for stuff like roads.

Maybe November 21, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Cities need to stop approving these shopping centers unless they have adequate parking. I guess parking lots don’t pay the rent! The Sprouts/ habit burger lot in Walnut Creek is a joke.

chuckie the troll November 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Less often than I used to do, what with all the incidents of road rage and worse.

Now, I just mutter “Jerk” in the privacy of my own vehicle, knowing that there is a gin and tonic with my name on it at the end of the day. That’s how we chill in my hood.

Cyn November 21, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Porpoise, add a zero to that $500 and you’d be right.
As it is right now, you’re wrong. Too bad.

Bob November 21, 2016 at 4:29 PM

As a retired cop I can’t tell you how many times people thought the parking spaces on the street in front of our house were theirs and they own then and I explained to them it’s owned by the city

Reality says November 21, 2016 at 4:41 PM

I have two horns on my truck, yup, TWO horns.

I have the standard issue horn for the polite “beep beep” I’m behind you and I see you are in reverse now, the “beep beep” go ahead and cross, I’m waiting for you and the “beep beep” light is green now, you can go.

Then I have the Get Your Head Out of Your A$@! horn (two trumpet air horn) for the people texting and not paying attention to their driving: people who decide to cut in front of me instead of wait 2 seconds for me to pass when there are NO CARS behind me, the person who makes the left on the red (not amber, light) which is ALWAYS people coming off YV making the left onto Oak Grove or Ayers, and my personal favorite idiots who decide they are just going to cross the street wherever/whenever they want and make all the cars stop…watching them jump is priceless. I get extra points for dropped cell phones and food. LOL!


RetailSlave November 21, 2016 at 5:05 PM

My horn is broken 🙁

Jazz Horn November 21, 2016 at 5:12 PM

Horn? A lot. People don’t know how to freakin’ drive.

As for parking, Concord is planning a new Sprouts at Treat and Clayton. Little parking as it is, this will be worse. Considering Sprouts is a waste anyway. Rotten produce and horrible selection. I’d rather drive to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

TIFOKCIS November 21, 2016 at 5:29 PM


I have a car I need to park somewhere for a coupe months. What is your address? I know you won’t mind, after all its a city street.

THE ANIMAL November 21, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Like # 11, I also have a air horn on my truck. I have one on my Harley too.
It seems that people are to distracted to pay attention on the roads

KAD November 21, 2016 at 5:51 PM

I know parking brakes are not a topic this week but I keep wondering if the braking brakes had been set in the car the twelve year boy somehow moved and killed the 5 year old boy maybe the accident would not have happened.

Julio November 21, 2016 at 6:17 PM

Reality, I know several people with trucks who have the two horn set up. It works!

Whole Foods doesn’t care about parking anywhere. Check out their other stores and they all have insufficient parking. Residents. Complain to the police and get city permits for your street!

Blocking Traffic November 21, 2016 at 6:23 PM

” who was upset about motorists who open their driver’s side car door, blocking traffic”….Who said I was upset? I still am!. Kidding.
Thanks for asking an officer but unfortunately it wont be enough to make people aware of how dangerous it is. I can only lead by example and do my part. I cant relax because people don’t care about others on the road, they are on the phone, or under a substance, and the list can go on and on.

Blocking Traffic November 21, 2016 at 6:39 PM

As others have said, I use my horn after the light has turned green and the person in front of me is not going forward. I use my horn for when someone drifts into my lane, if I have not slammed on the brakes or moved quickly to another lane to avoid an accident. People drifting in and out of lanes is an everyday occurence.
I wonder if anyone honks their horns at the jaywalkers? Have rules change regarding jaywalking? I ask because I see it everyday. There was a jaywalker on Taylor Blvd today, and he was taking his time crossing the road while talking on his phone.

pollyanna November 21, 2016 at 6:47 PM

I went to the new Whole Foods tonight at 530 and had no issues with parking. I was able to get in and out quickly, no car was parked on either side of me and I even got a green light when leaving. I have been a few times since they opened and never had an issue. Not sure why the other person was complaining.

Silva November 21, 2016 at 6:49 PM

I always wanted an airhorn.

Mary Fouts November 21, 2016 at 7:09 PM

@KAD #16 – Thank you for your post, solemn but appropriate. So often I think it is how people are taught to drive. In some areas of the country, and some cultures, regardless of vehicle transmission, the parking brake is taught as an “emergency brake”, and not something to regularly be engaged when the vehicle is stopped.

Silva November 21, 2016 at 7:58 PM

I will hit it hard when oblivious drifting drivers come at me. That’s maybe once a month. I tap it gently to alert the car ahead that the light has changed, I give them a reasonable time to react beforehand. That’s probably a couple times a month too.

Silva November 21, 2016 at 8:02 PM

I was taught to always leave the transmission in gear and set the parking (or emergency) brake. It’s easy!

Hec November 21, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Developers are the problem. It’s not like YVR was not congested already. So greedy of them and citizens suffer in dealing with road rage basically. Hard to avoid it.

ClayDen November 22, 2016 at 12:06 AM

I used my horn today on my way home from Yosemite; a couple of short beeps as a thank you when a truck pulled over to let a few of us cars by (something I do when appropriate). I will also use a quick beep if someone lingers after the light turns green. I’ll lay on it if someone does a dangerous maneuver, such as drifting into me.

Many years ago I installed a Road Runner horn in my Barracuda. It was great fun to go blasting by someone and give them the “beep beep” from it.

Anon November 22, 2016 at 6:23 AM

I honk my horn at least 5 times per day at the idiots still stopped at green lights. GET OFF YOUR F’ING PHONE!!

GRX November 22, 2016 at 6:28 AM

Via Monte and Venado Camino are public streets. “Outraged” has no right or privilege to park directly in front of their property. Street parking on a public street is just that – PUBLIC.

The 72-hour rule per the vehicle code applies. But Walnut Creek does have an ordinance concerning heavy commercial vehicles in residential areas.

I understand things are back to normal around that shopping center. Some people are so quick to get “outraged”.

steve November 22, 2016 at 7:27 AM

You can’t park in front of your house : 1st world problems.Take a step back and look at the big picture. It could be worse.

Fiddle Sticks November 22, 2016 at 7:52 AM

Ygnacio Valley Road is a total parking lot most of the time and now it’s even worse thanks to your wonderful officials that are in charge of traffic engineering and development of commercial properties! I think it’s pretty sad that we as citizens of the area have to put up with this greedy bunch of officials that are doing nothing to help the community! I don’t see that we have any recourse because they don’t listen and they don’t care! I’m listening to the city Council meetings in Walnut Creek and it makes me absolutely sick! They keep building these ugly apartment buildings that are going up so high they take a veal way out of the sky and Mount Diablo and all the rest! Every time we have a farmers market in Walnut Creek some of the city council members are out there and I complain to them and they just say oh well we’re just building some more because we weren’t able to before because now we can so we are! They have too much power to make these decisions!

g November 22, 2016 at 6:39 PM

I was waiting patiently for a car to back out of a parking spot at Trader Joes on Concord Ave. Nobody was behind me. I had my turn signal on. A fast moving car came from the other direction and grabbed the spot … cutting in front of me. I laid on my horn long and loud. The driver looked up and mouthed an apology, then she backed out. She pretended that she didn’t see me, but I don’t know how she could not. Since the space was right next to the exit door, my horn honking created a lot of attention. I admit, it sounded aggressive and obnoxious and she came off gracious and accomodating. I got my space, but I was still disgusted by the whole experience.

Curious November 22, 2016 at 8:53 PM

I don’t use my horn that often as I try to give the benefit of the doubt. However, if you swerve into my lane or I nearly collide with you, well, hope I don’t scare you but the horn works!

So my question and I’ve asked it before is… Is it legal to park on Port Chicago Highway, just past the bart station and on the onramp of the highway 4 entrance? It seems kind of dangerous for people to be walking there, especially with how quickly it gets dark in the evenings.

Anon, too. November 22, 2016 at 9:41 PM

I’ve taken to using my horn a lot more these days as people have taken to looking at their phones instead of looking up at the green light. As for while on the road, I rarely use it. But I will beg and plead to any who don’t like to but cut in front of– go the speed limit!

WOWP November 22, 2016 at 10:59 PM

I used to live in a corner house next to an apartment building & 2 dr offices & I had 2 hr parking signs in front of my house & people would park their cars their all day while they went to work around the corner.
It was soooo frustrating.
Some people would just block my driveway & sometimes they’d park in my huge driveway & go to their Dr Appts & leave their cars there for over an hour.

The Neighbors hated it also.
People would block their driveways.

I once again live in a corner house, but with a MUCH better parking situation!

And I try not to get upset in the parking lot of a store BEFORE I go in because I don’t want no issues while I’m shopping, but that’s just me 😉

Simple Solution November 23, 2016 at 6:11 AM

You and your neighbors band together, and request permit parking from the City. We did in Carriage Square, and it worked well.

Turn and burn November 23, 2016 at 8:10 AM

@ g. That’s the way to do it! Lay on your horn and cause a commotion and throw a fit so everyone can see how upset you are. She moved out of the space, which surprises me, but yet you were still pissed. You must be fun at parties.

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