Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Covering Your Driver Side Window, Who Will Keep the Money from the New BART Parking Garage in Walnut Creek? + MORE

October 2, 2017 14:00 pm · 17 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

The Jammer asked Beloved Claycordians in the last column, “Trailers for sale or rent…” What song did that line come from?” Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, RunnerDope nailed the answer 21 minutes later: “King of the Road.” Congratulations! Just one minute later, Charlie also supplied the correct answer.

The Jammer also asked readers for their favorite driving songs. DrDuran mentioned “Hot Rod Lincoln,” one of the Jammer’s favorites. Silva likes “No Particular Place to Go,” by Chuck Berry, which like “Hot Rod Lincoln” might well also quality as a novelty song.

JazzMan mentioned “I Can’t Drive 55” and “Radar Love.” Dr. Jellyfinger recommends songs including “Down the Line” by Buddy Holly and “Old 55” by the Eagles.

LaVar Ball supplied the fascinating tidbit that Tom Waits wrote “Old 55.” Ancient Mariner mentioned songs including “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.” But seriously, Beloved Claycordians, who could disagree that the No. 1 most killer driving song is “Born To Be Wild,” by Steppenwolf?

The only question is, why does that song only come on the radio just as the Jammer is pulling into the parking lot?

And now, on to our regularly scheduled questions and answers!

COMMUTER: I have seen this quite a lot in traffic, especially in the mornings and evenings when the sun is low: people will take a sheet, blanket or piece of paper and completely cover their driver’s side window, usually closing it in their door or window to secure it.

They’re apparently doing this to block the sun, but they’re also effectively blocking their entire view out their side window and often their mirror. Do people not realize that their car comes with a built-in sun visor for that very purpose that by design does not block their view? I’m also curious if that is a ticketable offense and if a law enforcement officer would pull somebody over for doing this. 

–James H.

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Great question, James H.! Unless the driver has a note from a medical professional and is using an approved sun-screening device, what they are doing is illegal. This is set forth in California Vehicle Code Section 26708.

With regard to your question about how a law enforcement officer would handle this, I turned to our own beloved Officer Leo, our Claycord officer who kindly answers such questions for us. He said, “(Section 26708) is the same section that officers use for tinted front windows.  It amounts to a fix-it ticket.  Whether or not an officer stops a driver for this, like most traffic stops, is entirely up to the officer’s discretion.”

TRAFFIC JAMMER: A Claycordian had a question about the new 900-space parking garage under construction at the Walnut Creek BART station. This is Phase 1 of a transit village with 596 apartments that will be built there.

COMMUTER: 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?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: BART spokesman Chris Filippi responded to RegularBARTRiders’s question:

“The parking garage is privately owned but is solely for the use of BART patrons. The developer will run the monthly permits program for the new garage. BART monthly permits will not work in the new garage so patrons will have to purchase new permits.

Permits in the new garage are to be no more than $120/month initially unless BART raises its parking charges past that amount.  It’s also tied to (the Consumer Price Index) so new permit charges can increase over $120 as CPI increases over the years.”

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

Hugh October 2, 2017 at 2:39 PM

PLEASE Janis let’s talk about the Sunol Grade. It hasn’t added any capacity in the northbound direction in at least twenty years. In the same time we’ve added a new bay bridge and a fourth tunnel bore. What’s happening over there? Is there some recalcitrant farmer that won’t give up his land? I bet if someone digs, there’s a story there.

Antler October 2, 2017 at 4:03 PM

Sorry I missed you last time…..

ClayDen October 2, 2017 at 4:15 PM


Ditto! About 10 years ago the back-up started around 4PM; now it’s before 2PM. Once you get past the Livermore exit (Hwy 84), it usually opens up until Danville. It even backs up in the middle of the day on the weekends. They will probably convert one of the existing lanes to a FasTrak lane that will make it worse. If I can’t get out of San Jose before around 2:30, I usually stay until 7:30 or so. Leaving around 4-6 means about 2 1/2 hours to Clayton; waiting until 7:30 or 8 makes it just over an hour. It’s especially bad with a manual transmission, which is what I normally drive (my choice- save the manuals!). It’s also bad southbound in the morning until around 9:30 or 10.


Original G October 2, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Have found wearing a baseball cap and adjusting the brim off center and down to block oncoming headlights works well at night and during my short early morning commute. Also works well for blocking sun coming in side window.

Cautiously Informed October 2, 2017 at 6:49 PM

All the BART money grabbing charges are unconscionable. BART charges for riding their poorly run dirty crime ridden begger filled trains. BART charges to park. BART rapes taxpayers with their gluttonous bond isuues( thanks to the dumb-dumbs who vote for them). What’s next? Will BART charge to sit in seats while riding the trains? For standing on the platform waiting for trains? To use the escalators? BART is a dismal government run failure.

Mel October 2, 2017 at 7:06 PM

Why would you ever work in SJ and live out here!?! THat is madness!

Dorothy October 2, 2017 at 7:11 PM

@ Original G #4 – good idea! I think I’ll start keeping baseball cap in the car.

RegularBARTRider October 2, 2017 at 8:24 PM

Thanks so much for getting my question answered!

Interestingly, the current monthly charge for Walnut Creek is $105. Wonder if they are planning on changing their formula for calculating monthly fees so that they raise the fee in Walnut Creek to $120 before the new garage comes on line.

Fred October 2, 2017 at 8:47 PM

Actually #5, on balance, Bart is run pretty well. It is one of society’s big challenges to run a transit system that serves all of us and voting against bonds just serves to increase traffic congestion and limit economic growth of the area, as our housing problem is right now, largely because of this stuck in the 1950s attitude. If you want to take a horse and buggy instead, be my guest, but the rest of us want to move forward with the best possible transit system.

RunnerDope October 2, 2017 at 9:25 PM


You should retire. You’ve worked long enough. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Dr. Jellyfinger October 2, 2017 at 10:20 PM

Actually… Born to be Wild isn’t a driving song… it’s a “riding” song about motorcycles.

Dr. Jellyfinger October 2, 2017 at 10:36 PM

I hate to be a pain in the backside….but King of the Road is just about hopping boxcars and being a bum… doesn’t even own a car… I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, but Geez!
Those two favorite driving songs aren’t even about driving!

ClayDen October 2, 2017 at 10:48 PM

@Mel and RunnerDope

I am semi-retired and enjoy my part time job which happens to be in San Jose. We have lived in Clayton for 40 years and love it, so we’re not moving. I’ll fully retire in a few years. For now, I’m healthy and busy and am enjoying life. I’ve always commuted, the shortest being to Alameda; my last full time job was in Mountain View. BTW, I figure I’ve driven something like 160,000 miles on Ygnacio Valley Road.

Anon, too. October 2, 2017 at 11:09 PM

Why is the north/eastbound Treat Blvd light at San Simeon so short? It cycles in about 10 seconds.

Old Otis October 3, 2017 at 6:55 AM

It’s a free-for-all out there no rules no laws the way people drive.
It’s me first the heck with anyone else me first.
I’ve seen people on highway 4 texting in the carpool lane solo driver .
No cops anywhere to be found .

Pony October 3, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Just to see if I got this right. The WC developer is building the parking structure, it will be privately owned and the owner will manage the parking permits. So is BART getting or not getting revenue from this? If BART is getting the parking revenue, how much are they paying the lot owner for their services. If it is private, will BART be responsible for reporting or investigating any crimes that happen within? I wouldn’t think they would have jurisdiction.

Captain Freeway October 4, 2017 at 7:27 AM

Off Topic Post:
To the Driver of the White Range Rover on HWY 24. You have been reported to the CHP for excessive speeds and repeated unsafe lane changes. The fact that you got upset at me for recording your License Plate # is ridiculous – and I’m sure when you called to report me for recording your Plate # that you also made it clear that you were an unsafe overly aggressive, lane changing gap-shooter. Geez….

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: