Devil’s Slide tunnel in February 2013, about a month before its opening. (Karl Mondon/Mercury News)
Q We were going through the new tunnels in Pacifica where the Devil’s Slide area used to be, and noticed that the lane to the right that is used for emergency vehicles or car troubles does not have call boxes on that side of the tunnel but to the left of the lane you travel in. What’s up with that?
A Caltrans says the emergency phones inside the new tunnels are located on the left for a reason. The evacuation area is in the center of the tunnels, where there is space to safely call and wait for help, and if needed to wait inside the safety of the cross-passage area until help arrives.
Q How well did the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge do in the recent Napa earthquake?
A Everything was OK, not only for the new eastern span but for all the other state-owned toll bridges, all of which have now been retrofitted. The more interesting story is at the old east span, which is by far the most vulnerable. Inspections showed no damage and no movement of the old structure soon to be torn down.
Q Will there be a senior citizen price for the BART connector to the Oakland airport or do we have to pay $6 also?
Glenda Gunn, Ellen Turner and more
A No. Seniors, the disabled and children will all get the same 62.5 percent fare discount for which they are eligible on the rest of BART.
Q I read with amusement about the new connector from BART to the Oakland Airport, but my jaw hit the floor when you said it was $484 million to build it. Are you kidding me? Considering it will run empty most of the time it doesn’t seem like a very good investment, especially considering the condition of our roads and bridges in the Bay Area and the need for funds to repair them.
A And …
Q A reader wrote protesting the $6 fare to ride the new rail connector between the Coliseum BART and the Oakland airport. I’m surprised more people aren’t screaming about this obvious rip-off. BART made a huge mistake in constructing this ugly, imposing, unnecessary rail line and now intends to mitigate its mistake by soaking the public. The BART fare all the way from Richmond is only $2.20 and is a much longer ride. The ride from Rockridge to SFO is $9.15 and is a 60-minute ride. How can BART justify this outlandish fare increase?
I advocate a boycott of this rail connector. There are options. AC Transit bus 73 stops every 15 minutes across from BART, and the airport fare is only $2.10.
A With a $6 fare, ridership would be 3,225 people a day, but the transit agency would loss $5.5 million a year.
Q Does anyone out there know the name of the flowering hedge on the right side of the toll gate going north to Sacramento on the Benicia Bridge? It must be drought tolerant. It is spectacular.
A I tried my usual contacts to no avail. Someone needs to ride to our rescue.