Q I am extremely concerned with the HUGE hump on northbound Highway 85 after merging from north Highway 101. Whenever I ride my motorcycle, I tend to slow down and switch lanes to the far right to go over this incredible hump. I have to warn my wife in advance, yet she usually gets airborne and flies off her seat approximately six inches, which is a disaster waiting to happen. I drive all over the state on my Harley, and this is the worst road experience ever! I am more concerned with any motorcyclists passing by from out of town that aren’t aware of this serious safety hazard.
This even happens to us in the car, and I have to warn my wife and kids every time to hold on because here comes the bump AGAIN! This is horrendous and should be repaired before someone loses control and kills themselves.
A Memo to Bernie-the-Caltrans-Man: We have to come to the rescue of Mrs. Gutierrez and the kids.
Bernie: I’m on it.
Q I frequent all the DMVs in the area, and I have to admit that all DMV offices in the South Bay have bathroom problems. Frequently there is no soap to wash your hands, graffiti on the walls (probably why they never bother to paint them), messy, dirty and abused by customers who simply don’t care.
If there is a mirror, it surely is near worthless, with gang tags carved into the glass. The cause of this abuse? The bathrooms are only built to serve one person at a time. Someone can lock the door, be alone and trash the place without being interrupted. When the DMV remodels bathrooms, they need to make them so the door can’t be locked and they serve more than one person at a time.
When I walked into the Santa Clara DMV recently, I thought they were suffering a power outage because it was so dark. It was like walking into a cave.
A Let there be light — and more. There are no plans to keep the door unlocked, but the Santa Clara DMV restroom will be getting an upgrade within the next six months that will included fresh paint, improved flooring and replacement of the fixtures, dispensers, mirrors and dividers between toilets. The DMV also will improve the lighting in the office within the next month.
The restrooms at the Hayward DMV office will get a cleaning in April.
In addition, in the past few months restrooms at the Oakland Coliseum, Fremont, San Francisco, Pleasanton, El Cerrito and Los Gatos sites have been cleaned and refurbished.
Q I have a question regarding the approaches to the northbound Benicia Bridge. Why are big rigs allowed in the No. 1 and No. 2 lanes of Interstate 680 well before the highway expands at the Highway 4/680 interchange and at Pacheco Boulevard at the toll plaza to the bridge? I thought trucks with three or more axles were limited to 55 mph and restricted to the two right lanes. The CHP doesn’t seem to enforce this restriction with any frequency. Do big rigs have an exemption on this section of I-680?
A Yes, they do. They are permitted to use other lanes when there are safety and operational concerns for a short period at a specific location.
For northbound I-680 approaching Highway 242, there are six lanes of traffic, with the three left lanes designated for I-680 and the three right lanes for 242. In that case, Caltrans says it is reasonable to allow trucks to travel in the so-called middle lanes to continue north on I-680.
Similarly, at the approach to Highway 4, the right lane is for Highway 4 only and trucks can move out of the two right lanes to continue on northbound 680. Near the toll plaza, the two left lanes are for FasTrak, but the majority of trucks use the wide lanes on the right of the plaza.
Another example is westbound I-580 in Pleasanton at the approach to I-680, where the right lanes generally are congested. Signs are posted to allow trucks at that location to drive in the left lanes, but they have to move to the right after the interchange.
Q My wife and I are new to Oakland and faithfully read your newspaper column. We’ve learned about traffic patterns and what areas to avoid during our explorations. We’re adjusting to legal U-turns and pedestrian right-of-ways.
But the signal light at Grand Avenue and Brush Street in Oakland has not been operating since we moved here in July. Brush is a frequently used route to the freeway and, without the signal light, is impossible to cross at Grand. If the light is not to be operable, could four-way stop signs be installed?
Robert and Elizabeth Ridener
A Your wish will be granted — and soon. Crews will be out next week and could have a new signal working by the end of the week.
Q I’ve heard there will be more parking at the BART Hillcrest Park and Ride lot in Antioch. Is that true?
A Yes. It will be expanded this weekend to add 94 spaces. This lot often fills up.
Q Traffic has been not so sweet on west Interstate 580 at the truck scales in Livermore near Greenville Road. What is going on?
A Caltrans has closed the truck scales along westbound I-580 near Greenville Road to replace slabs along the ramps leading to the truck scales.
Q I don’t know who to thank, so I’ll send this to you. With all the construction to improve Buskirk Avenue near Monument Boulevard in the Concord/Pleasant Hill area, walking to and from the nearby shopping center has been tricky, to say the least. Then workers set up a very nice pedestrian walkway from Buskirk at Hookston Road into the shopping center. It is very nice that they have thought about us walkers, and I just wanted them to know it is appreciated.
A So noted.