Roadshow: The urban legend behind sneakers on utility wires



Q For several weeks, we have seen two pairs of canvas shoes thrown over a utility line at Cypress Avenue and Moorpark Avenue in San Jose. I have been told that this is a gang sign. Is that true?

Jerry Giles

San Jose

A No. Consider this another urban legend. Police discount the idea that tossing sneakers over power lines indicates gang turf or drug use. Most believe it has no meaning beyond the fact that it’s everyday kid high jinks, especially as school lets out. Hans-the-City-Traffic-Czar calls it a sophomoric prank and “as one who has lived many years in a known gang area of San Jose, spray paint is the traditional tool used by gangs.”

Q I am wondering why workers in Silicon Valley will not consider commuting from San Juan Bautista. It’s only 20 miles south of Gilroy. If Sunnyvale is the heart of Silicon Valley, San Juan is a faster commute than from Tracy, Santa Cruz or most other directions. My husband commuted to Fremont for 15 years, averaging one hour each way. Hello Google people, why are you living in San Francisco?

Phyllis Cain

San Juan Bautista

A Fewer than 200 people commute from San Juan Bautista into Santa Clara County for work, while 4,750 residents of Monterey County work in Silicon Valley, according to census data compiled by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Making a trek on 280 on a Google bus with Wi-Fi is a nice perk and if you’re 25 and living in vibrant San Francisco, why not? Tell me a little about living in San Juan Bautista.

Q San Juan Bautista is the historical 15th mission city, with a population of 1,720, with chickens roaming the main street (they are descendants of the original settlers’ chickens!). I have a beautiful view on 30 private acres. Houses are half-price down here.

I’m baffled. I cannot understand why Silicon Valley commuters do not consider anything beyond Gilroy. The commute is not bad — 45 minutes to the San Jose airport.

Phyllis Cain

A Googlers, are roaming chickens, great views and cheap housing prices enough to move there?

Q Driving back from Merced was a real scary ride on Highway 152 approaching Gilroy. Westbound 152 has concrete barriers in the middle and a drop-off on the fog line of 10 to 15 feet. Yikes! This is a disaster in the making for a big rig to flip.

Terry Cobb

Gilroy

A This is temporary until this summer, when Caltrans finishes widening the shoulders. In the meantime, the state has added orange pylons to channel traffic around the drop-off and moved the K-rail to widen the area.

Q I was coming down I-280 and took the exit for Page Mill Road. Traffic was backed up onto the interstate and people were not only queued up in the exit lane but also the breakdown lane. Is this legal? I would think that if cars were not doing it, the line would be WAY backed up onto 280.

Katheryn Curi

Palo Alto

A It’s not legal to stop on the shoulder unless it’s an emergency. But give these folks a break. Drivers are simply trying to avoid being rear-ended. There are plans to realign the ramps and add a signal in two more years.

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