Bay Area News Group
Trucks on Altamont Pass
Q It’s time, way past time actually, to do something about the big rigs on our roads during rush hour. The truckers are out of control.
A Charlie’s feelings are understandable after Tuesday’s rollover crash that closed all westbound lanes on the San Mateo Bridge for four hours. A big rig carrying dry cement collided with two smaller trucks and two other vehicles near the Foster City Boulevard ramp, spilling diesel fuel.
Q It seems like at least one time per day lately, there is a major accident fouling our roads while thousands are trying to safely get to work. My poor, dear wife, along with countless others, was caught in that mess on the San Mateo Bridge. A few weeks ago, it was a load of sand that HAD to be delivered and ended up costing some young man his life when the truck delivering that load careened out of control on Highway 17.
I understand that additional traffic is a sign of an improving economy; that’s great news and not the beef. The beef is an 80,000-pound, up to 80-foot-long delivery vehicle trying to share already limited space with folks just trying to get to work.
I know, the trucking lobby and their corporate masters will cry foul. They’ll claim they pay taxes and are entitled to use the roads. They’ll claim any more regulations will kill the economy.
I call BS! Let’s have some reasonable restrictions on when and where these big trucks are able to operate. There is no reason that load of sand had to be on Highway 17 when it was. None whatsoever.
A And …
Q Is there any way to limit big rigs or at least the times in which trucks can travel on the Altamont Pass? Unfortunately, a big-rig accident that occurred Monday happened at 6 a.m. and tied up traffic until noon. Then on westbound I-580 through the Dublin/580/680 interchange, it was a tractor-trailer rig carrying a double-wide piece of excavating equipment. It closed two lanes. Really? At 4 a.m., THAT needs to be on the road?
A But here’s the problem. The crash on the San Mateo Bridge occurred around 10 a.m. and the two incidents on I-580 took place outside peak commute hours. The terrible crash on 17 did happen during the morning commute.
In the Bay Area, only I-580 through Oakland and Highway 85 in Santa Clara County ban trucks, and those bans were begun when the highways were built and there are reasonable alternate routes. That’s not the case on most other highways.
Los Angeles did ban trucks during the 1984 Olympics, and on at least two occasions Southern California officials have proposed re-enacting that policy. Each time the idea has been shot down.
Q I’d like a column devoted to responses from truckers — the other side of traffic from the Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-get-out -of-my-way-I-OWN-this-road idiots who cause traffic problems.
A It’s on my to-do list.