Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Blocking Traffic on Oak Grove Rd., Turns Lanes Into DVC, the WC BART Transit Village + MORE

September 18, 2017 14:00 pm · 35 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: I just want to know who in their crazy minds decided to take out the turn lanes into Diablo Valley College on Golf Club Road. Do they have any idea how the traffic backs up in these areas?  Already it is a mess with trying not to hit other cars or the multiple students who are crossing the road at several points! I feel every day I arrive at work without getting in an accident or hitting a student is a good day. Could you please ask Pleasant Hill what they were thinking?

–Missing the Turn Lanes

TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer reached out to the city and got this response from Eric Hu, hardworking senior civil engineer for the City of Pleasant Hill.

“Yes, there will be striping changes along Golf Club Road as part of the roadway construction project.

The existing left turn lanes were removed because they would never be able to accommodate the amount of Diablo Valley College vehicle traffic turning into the various parking lots, resulting in turning vehicles spilling into the inside through lane.

Instead, the new striping will mark the entire inside westbound lane as a continuous left turn lane between Old Quarry Road and Stubbs Road, while the outside westbound lane will be striped as a through/right-turn lane.  Based on field observation and intersection counts, most of the vehicle traffic is making a left or right turn into the various DVC driveways, thus the single shared through/right-turn lane is adequate to accommodate the relatively small number of vehicles heading west through onto Paso Nogal Road.

The continuous left turn lane will greatly increase storage capacity for the turning traffic at Stubbs Road, at which a new traffic signal will be installed, and at Tempe Court (at which a new pedestrian crosswalk beacon will be installed).

To help better define these lanes during construction, I’m having the contractor hand-paint the arrows in the westbound lanes to better inform motorists.  The final pavement striping will be done after the pavement overlay operation, which is tentatively scheduled later this fall.”

COMMUTER: Every morning before 7:30 a.m., cars stop in front of the St. Francis (of Assisi) church school, blocking traffic on Oak Grove Road during the busy commute hours. Concord PD says this is not illegal, and there’s nothing they can do about it. It is ridiculous that they could block traffic during this busy time with no repercussions. Can you please advise?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Since you have already consulted with the police and gotten the official answer, it appears to the Jammer that the best approach is to find an alternative route that doesn’t involve that part of Oak Grove. Do you use Waze? This app will suggest ways around the congestion. Beloved Claycordians, do you have any suggestions on how to skirt the backup outside the school?

TRAFFIC JAMMER: As our beloved Mayor and other news outlets reported recently, construction has started on a new 900-space parking garage at the Walnut Creek BART station. This is Phase 1 of a transit village with 596 apartments that will be built there.

Here are some questions voiced by Claycordians about the project:

COMMUTER: I hope they aren’t using monies from the bond? (Note: In November 2016, voters passed a $3.5 billion bond to upgrade the BART system.)

–Jo Ann Jo Ann

TRAFFIC JAMMER: No, JAJA, the developer, Walnut Creek Lifestyle Associates, is paying for the transit village project, and is leasing the land it’s built on from BART. So, from that vantage point, it’s a win-win for BART, which presumably gets quite a few new riders and an income from the lease.

COMMUTER: How is BART, in turn, proposing to increase capacity on its trains for all these people? Oh, I’m sure we’ll just squeeze in!

–The Mamba

TRAFFIC JAMMER: According to Rebecca Saltzman, president of BART’s board of directors, “New cars are arriving soon,” Saltzman said. “The nine-car trains you see in the morning will soon be 10 cars.” BART has 669 cars at present and plans to add 775 new cars over the next five years, according to transit officials.

There’s additional information on the project at

TRAFFIC JAMMER: “Trailers for sale or rent….” What song did that line come from? Beloved Claycordians, what are your favorite songs related to driving, cruising, road trips and the like? Share your favorites and the stories that go with them!

TRAFFIC JAMMERThat’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

BobinWC September 18, 2017 at 2:19 PM

Near the WC Bart, on Riviera street… what has happened to the street metered parking? The spots seem to all be monopolized by construction workers. Many of the temporary signs are out of date, yet remain out of use. Where is the enforcement?

RunnerDope September 18, 2017 at 2:21 PM

King of the Road Roger Miller

Charlie September 18, 2017 at 2:22 PM

“King of the Road”, sung by Roger Miller.

JessG September 18, 2017 at 2:50 PM

People try to merge at the last second to get on Ygnacio valley rd from civic rd in walnut creek. The 5pm hours sucks!! This section needs a divider!! If your not in the turning lane tough luck you get to go straight!

DrDuran September 18, 2017 at 2:51 PM

My favorite driving song is Hot Rod Lincoln.

Bart isn’t adding 775 cars, they’ll be replacing the 669 current cars and adding 106 more to total 775.

RunnerDope September 18, 2017 at 2:55 PM

A young Roger Miller with Ray Price; back when Country music was great.

King Archie the Invincible September 18, 2017 at 3:16 PM

Sorry, Janis but cars are NOT legally entitled to block traffic in driving lanes simply to let off passengers. There is a bus zone in front of the school that also should not be blocked by parents dropping off students. There also is a bicycle lane along that stretch that should not be blocked. The first rider who gets injured or killed because they rode into traffic to avoid a blocked lane might clue in these thoughtless parents, but maybe not. There is a driveway on the south side of the school that leads to a large parking area that should be used. Scoob: do not speak with the kids that answer the Community Service desk phone – they don’t know all that much about traffic laws. I suggest you speak with the Sergeant in charge of the traffic detail. (I’m not sure who leads that division anymore.) A few citations would help alleviate the problem, but the best thing would be to complain to the school leadership itself.

FCA September 18, 2017 at 3:21 PM

Politician = Braindead

Silva September 18, 2017 at 3:29 PM

“No Particular Place to Go” Chuck Berry

Jojo Potato September 18, 2017 at 3:37 PM

Ah, Waze. Let’s send the cars through some other neighborhood. NOT! We’ve been Wazed here for a couple years on Walnut Blvd and it sucks. Speeding cars making it impossible to get out of our driveways and rude pigs all around. Waze is owned by Google now, founded in Israel. I’d love to send some traffic to their neighborhood.

Lambie September 18, 2017 at 3:59 PM

There is a new roundabout on Old Quarry Road (between Golf Club & Chilpancingo) with only 1 lane, there used to be 2. Really a stupid idea.

Maria September 18, 2017 at 4:41 PM

Great! Now even more people on the roads!😩

WC September 18, 2017 at 5:29 PM

#7 Someone call Stanley Roberts at People Behaving Badly. I bet he can get some action at that school from the PD.

Shoulda Coulda September 18, 2017 at 5:54 PM

@ Jojo Potato

As soon as the WAZE app became available
we have had people driving through our
neighborhood trying to get over the hill
and avoid the highway 4 gridlock.
Ahh, the wonders of technology.

Jojo Potato September 18, 2017 at 6:53 PM

@Shoulda – Waze is now integrated into Google maps so most everyone is using it. Makes life worse, but enriching some billionaires. For example. This summer we were leaving Yellowstone Park eastbound to Cody Wy where we would be heading north towards Billings MT. Coming into Cody I could see the intersection a few blocks ahead. That might be Cody’s only stoplight. But Google had us turn left and thread through some neighborhoods and then back to turn left onto the highway to Billings. I felt bad for those people, us tourists clogging up their streets for no reason. How can Cody protect their town from this? Meanwhile Page and Brin and Schmidt deposit another few millions. Makes me very angry.

RegularBARTRider September 18, 2017 at 8:30 PM

If the developer is paying for the new parking garage, who is going to get the revenue from the new garage? I understand that the developer said that they would be selling monthly reserved spots, but that BART’s monthly parking permit will not be accepted in the new garage. Is there an agreement between BART and the developer to keep the charges for the existing garage and the new garage the same?

JazzMan September 18, 2017 at 9:31 PM

My favorite driving tunes are “I can’t drive 55”, and “Radar Love”

ClayDen September 18, 2017 at 9:53 PM

Not technically a driving song, but when I was in college,a great song after my last Friday class as I was driving off was “Freedom” by the Sons of Champlin (one of the greatest rock bands EVER). Truckin’ by the Greatful Dead was another good one.

Mika September 18, 2017 at 10:17 PM

I see the backup at the school each morning on Oak Grove. From what I see, there is a gate going into the parking lot behind the school that they are waiting for someone to open.

Dr. Jellyfinger September 18, 2017 at 10:51 PM

“King of the Road” was a hobo song… not a driving song.

Best driving songs were:

Buddy Holly “Down the Line”

Joe Stamply “Roll On Big Mama”

Neil Young “Long May You Run”

Eagles “Old 55”

Ancient Mariner September 19, 2017 at 12:06 AM

Oh, Jammer, you terrible tease, you!
Your song is (of course) ‘King of the Road’.

On another note, how about the following:
“Fun, Fun, Fun (Till Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away)”
“The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)”
“Hot Rod Lincoln”
“Little Deuce Coup”
… many others … and my personal favourite,
“Beep, Beep” – much more philosophical then the rest.

I lived in a cruising town in the Central Valley once, a little island of 1950’s and 60’s Americana long after it had already gone away – not bad for an English boy!
All you need to do is watch “American Graffiti” and you’ll have enough background.

Chicken Little September 19, 2017 at 3:58 AM

Best driving song is a tie between Radar Love (Golden Earring) and Take It Easy (Eagles).

Giddyup September 19, 2017 at 5:38 AM

The same thing happens on Pine Hollow
during pickup and drop off at Pine Hollow
Middle School. Traffic comes to a complete
standstill with both West- and East-bound lanes
blocked with parents coming to a dead stop in
traffic to drop off their kids. There is room for
them to pull to the right out of traffic, but that
would inconvenience them. Better to bring the
whole street to a standstill. That way when the
kid gets out, they can just continue driving without
loosing their place in traffic. Honestly, I have to
say they have a lot of confidence in everybody
else’s ability and desire to stop for kids darting in
and out of traffic on a two-lane road with a center
turn lane. I avoid the area whenever possible during
those hours, but the last time I got stuck in it, I couldn’t
believe what I was seeing. If you pull into the middle lane
to pass a stopped vehicle, you run the risk of hitting a child
coming out from the car stopped in front of you to
get into the one stopped in the oncoming lane. They
may not be breaking the law, but they are certainly
teaching their kids some really bad habits.

Kentucky Derby September 19, 2017 at 8:33 AM

Best Driving Song – Call Me The Breeze (Lynyrd Skynyrd).

No competition to that song!

Just protect my life, liberty and property please. September 19, 2017 at 9:05 AM

Jojo Potato:
Download Waze, work out a deal with your neighbors.
Step 1: Every morning or other busy traffic time, create a road closure and hidden cop warning in your neighborhood
Step 2: Have all of your neighbors, ‘thumbs up’ the warning.
Step 3: Enjoy less Wazers on your block!
Lots of work, but hopefully people will get the picture.

Jojo Potato September 19, 2017 at 9:46 AM

@Just – Some other places have had limited success with such strategies. See:

Sad to read how Google/Waze has not been very helpful. City of WC is doing a traffic study right now at the neighborhood’s request. We will see what happens after that.

Question for Ms Traffic Jammer: September 19, 2017 at 10:51 AM

I experience a very frustrating thing every morning on in Bay Point. Where West Leland and San Marco intersect, there is a designated Left Turn lane from on West Leland. Many cars are in the line, waiting to get onto San Marco, and then onto Hwy 4 West. Quite a few cars decide to speed up to the front of the line and then force themselves into the line. HOWEVER, some cars just speed up to the stoplight, then make a left turn at the intersection.
Is that lawful? I know it isn’t ethical, but could they get a ticket for doing that?

Question for Ms Traffic Jammer: September 19, 2017 at 11:14 AM

oops…forgot to proof read before I hit submit. Sorry for the grammar errors “on in Bay Point” and “from on West Leland”

LaVar Ball September 19, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Dr. Jellyfinger, trivia note: Ol’ 55 was written by Tom Waits
Another good car tune is the precursor to Hot Rod Lincoln is Hot Rod Race by Arkie Shibley.
“Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf also sounds great in a car

Concord Gal September 19, 2017 at 12:47 PM

@ Question & Ms Jammer:

People are doing that all over the place. Either using the through-lane to jump into a turn-lane at the last minute, or using a turn-lane to then go straight when the light turns green. I see this almost every day on Richmond Parkway and other heavily used roadways . Traffic is so bad that some people can’t wait their turn and others are just desperate to get to home or work. Between these crazy antics and the motorcycles everyone needs to drive defensively and watch out for the behavior of other drivers.

Cowellian September 19, 2017 at 12:56 PM

Beep Beep by the Playmates gets my heart racing!

Silva September 19, 2017 at 2:14 PM

Thanks fellas! I’d completely forgotten about BEEP BEEP ~ THE LITTLE NASH RAMBLER! Hahahaha!!! Ya remember when they turned that into a Rambler jingle in the 60s?

Question for Ms Traffic Jammer: September 19, 2017 at 8:42 PM

OOPS AGAIN! In my original message, I said it was a designated LEFT turn lane…..I meant RIGHT TURN. Not sure what I was thinking. Probably just left-over frustration with some of the drivers out there. Sorry!!

Mom-in-Concord September 19, 2017 at 11:20 PM

Regarding the road construction at DVC: The repaving of Golf Club Road has created a dip at the entrance to the driveway for the overflow parking lot. Since the driveway rises to the new sidewalk, there is also a 2-3″ drop on the other side of the sidewalk into the lot. This causes cars to scrape badly as they cross Golf Club Road to enter the overflow lot from DVC. I called the construction company to complain, but nothing has been done about it.

Giddyup September 20, 2017 at 6:32 AM

Jackson Brown, “Runnin’ On Empty”

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