Q: Could you please do a test drive on that large Interstate 680 dip just south of the Landess exit (over Capitol). You could then tell me I am not hallucinating as I watch cars almost lose control (speeders). If you hit the dip at the speed limit or above, you have to grip your steering wheel very hard to avoid swerving. I would be very interested in your personal test drive.
Dana Charles, Milpitas
A: This has to be one of the biggest headaches in the Bay Area. Caltrans made some repairs about a year ago, but obviously more is needed, pronto.
Q: It seems to me there are two powerful forces in Sacramento and local government with regard to the climate change debate. First, there are the environmentalists who want to basically eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Then, on the other side are those who depend on the burning of fossil fuels to collect the gas tax, like Caltrans.
In looking at how traffic lights are synchronized or not, it sure seems to me that Caltrans is winning the tug of war about whether to burn fossil fuels or not. There is a lot of gas tax revenue being collected from all those stopped and idling cars across this state.
To get rid of these competing interests, it seems to me a miles driven tax is a better way to go, as long as the gas tax is eliminated.
William B. Ortendahl, Santa Clara
A: We’re headed that direction, but it’s going to take a few years. For now, the gas tax is being adjusted annually for inflation, which is a step in the right direction.
Q: I’m hoping you can explain a recent change to traffic signals at T-intersections.
I live near Union Middle School in San Jose. Many parents drop their kids off on Taft Drive, which tees into Los Gatos-Almaden Road. A few months back, Taft was repaved and the logic for the traffic lights was modified. Previously, traffic turning left from Los Gatos Almaden (the through road) onto Taft (the tee road) would directly trigger the left-turn light. Now, though, it triggers a full cycle, first stopping both directions on Los Gatos-Almaden so traffic on Taft can go through, even when there is no traffic on Taft.
I’ve noticed a similar change on Monterey Road and Metcalf in South San Jose.
Why was this change made, and how is it supposed to be better?
Ephraim Baron, San Jose
A: It’s common for problems to pop up after paving work is done. The city will check this out and see if the pattern of traffic lights can be adjusted.
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Author: Gary Richards