Roadshow: Windshield washer sparks road rage


Mercury News
Is it raining, or is the guy in front of me going berserk with the windshield washer?

Q Driving top-down in Tiburon recently in our fun car, a classic, flawless white 2001 VW Cabrio.

Used the windshield washer to remove a smear.

The guy behind me in a new BMW honked at me.

Looking in my rearview mirror, he was shaking his hands at me. No idea what was going on?

Did I cut him off? No. Was I driving too slow? No.

He followed me for nearly two miles until the lane split into two lanes, continuing to wave his hands at me. As he pulled up alongside me, he rolled down his window and yelled at me for using my windshield washer and getting a mist on his car.

REALLY!?!?!?

Got to wonder. Does this man CURSE GOD when it rains, too?

Thomas Barbeiro

Pleasanton

A Rain, what rain? You will be surprised at how far a spray a water can travel at freeway speeds. It sometimes is done to get tailgaters to back off. If you are going to spray, first check to see if there is any traffic behind you, especially motorcyclists. Your windshield-washing water can hit their visors and block their vision.

Q The new BART parking garage at MacArthur Station has been completed for months and yet no cars are parking there. Why?

Jack Dice

Moraga

A The garage should open sometime next month. Most of the outside work is done, but final elevator inspections and other interior work remains.

Q Six bucks to ride the BART connector to the Oakland Airport! That means it will cost more to make that connection than the BART fare cost to get to the Coliseum. Even BART from Millbrae to SFO is less than $6.

Allen Simon

Palo Alto

A Six bucks it is. That’s a $3 increase from current bus fare from the Coliseum to the airport, but the trip will take half the time by train. Trains will stop in the parking lot near the premier parking area when they begin running late this year.

Q Could you ask Caltrans if they will have a carpool lane on the ramp from east Stevenson Boulevard to south 880? There seems to be space for it, and there is congestion now at that entrance.

Alexei Kruglikov

Fremont

A Yep. The state plans to widen several onramps to provide carpool lanes along 880 and this includes eastbound Stevenson to south 880. Construction is scheduled to begin in June. Ramps at Auto Mall Parkway and Newark Boulevard and Thornton and Mowry avenues will also get carpool lanes to the freeway.

Q Are there plans to fix the VERY rough patch of the Interstate 680 northbound onramp from Treat Boulevard in Pleasant Hill? Is this one of those instances where the ownership of the work is part of the problem? Does it belong to the city of Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa County, or Caltrans? In any case, it’s a short hop, but not fun to ride on.

Cathy Aaron

Walnut Creek

A Boy, did your simple question take me on a ride. The city says this is not its turf and the county maintains Buskirk Avenue from Treat Boulevard to Oak Road. At some point, the No. 1 lane of Buskirk becomes the 680 north onramp and becomes Caltrans’ responsibility.

They’ll huddle and decide who should be in charge. The county will work on Buskirk next year.

Q I write to you about an ongoing and highly annoying problem with the Santa Clara Street offramp from northbound Highway 87 that has been a problem since I began my commute from the San Jose/Diridon Caltrain station nearly two years ago.

The light at the end of the ramp takes forever to turn green to make a left turn, even though nearly all cars on the road at 5:30 a.m. are turning left. When they installed the countdown crosswalk signs a few months ago, I thought we might get some relief.

Alas, no! The light will cycle through the 16-second countdown for pedestrians, go to the red upraised “do not cross” hand, and then return to the white illuminated “OK to cross” man three to four times before the light finally cycles to yellow for Santa Clara Street and green for ramp traffic.

I know I speak for all of my fellow Caltrain passengers that may be driving to the station for the 5:45 a.m. departure, that any relief you could gain for this location would be greatly appreciated.

Melissa Johnson

A City officials checked it out and discovered several problems. A pedestrian timing sequence inadvertently had been programmed in the controller. That’s been removed. Also, they discovered that the westbound detector was faulty, holding green for that direction. Last but not least, there was a faulty detection on the onramp causing intermittent non-detection of vehicles. They’ve adjusted the timing to ensure this movement receives green every cycle until the equipment can be repaired.

Also, being this early in the morning when staff isn’t around for monitoring, the city relies on folks to tell them what’s going on out there. Go to San Jose’s transportation department website to report maintenance and signal timing issues at www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=210 or email the city at traffic.signals@sanjoseca.gov.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.