Q Mr. Roadshow: The word Schadenfreude has been successfully imported into the English language. Here is another German word that presently lacks an equivalent in English. “Verschlimmbesserung.”
The Urban Dictionary defines this as “an attempted improvement that makes things worse than they already were.” This is a word ready to be imported.
“Verschlimmbesserung” could describe some of the road “improvements.” Shall we call these road Verschlimmbesserungs? I propose a Verschlimmbesserung contest where people write in what they see as the most schlimmer of the road Verschlimmbesserungs around the valley.
A Such as …
Q One example close to the Mercury News is westbound Brokaw Road as it approaches Interstate 880. We used to have three lanes to make it past the intersection with the northbound onramp. Now this has been “improved” to only two lanes making it past this intersection. The left lane has become a left-turn-only lane. More congestion and dive bombers are the norm.
I am sure people have their own examples that are worse. Perhaps westbound Highway 237 west of 880 after the toll/HOV “improvement” would count. After people write in some examples we can experience Schadenfreude over the road Verschlimmbesserungs that others experience.
A Another contest? It’s on.
Q Loved the manure throwing story about the person who threw it on a car speeding down Mount Hamilton Road. Maybe it wasn’t legally correct, but many of us agree with the emotional reaction to people who endanger us all. We should all try to keep it virtual, but the description of the visceral physical reaction was priceless! You are allowed to be human occasionally!
A And …
Q People who criticized you for printing the manure comment have NO sense of humor. It was too funny.
A I thought so, too.
Q In Fremont, the onramp at Stevenson Boulevard west to Interstate 880 south is backing up all the way across the bridge. Can you work your magic to get them to speed up this metering light? Also, when are they going to build a carpool lane on this ramp? Buses and carpools get stuck in this mess. Every other onramp in Fremont to I-880 south has a carpool lane unless I missed one.
A Caltrans has increased the metering rates by 10 percent, so it should be better now. But there is no funding to install carpool lane at all single-lane ramps in this area at this time.
Q Gary, I know you wouldn’t lie, but tell me you were mistaken. Carpool cheating is not a moving violation? Uh, the car is moving. The speed is north of 60 mph. Maybe that’s the problem. We need to give it some bite and have it hit their insurance. Please make this happen!
A I’m trying!
Q Is there any way you can put out a PSA on the San Antonio Road south exit coming from 101 in Palo Alto? I often run near Baylands and on my way back into the neighborhood, I go over the overpass and need to cross that freeway exit on the other end.
Although there is a clearly marked crosswalk and a very visible pedestrian crossing sign (trust me, I’ve checked), cars rarely stop! It’s incredibly frustrating to be a pedestrian standing at a crosswalk as a line of at least 10-15 cars basically rip by at 70 mph without regard to anyone’s safety. I think it’s just a matter of time before there is a major accident. I know there aren’t a lot of pedestrians on that road, but all the more reason to highlight this issue for those who live in the neighborhood.