Commuter pleads for better metering light strategy on 880: Roadshow

Q: I commute on Interstate 880 in the South Bay. A while back, Caltrans changed the metering light strategy. Please tell me this is some experiment gone wrong that will soon go away. As I drive to work at 5 a.m. with minimal traffic, the lights are all on, slowing any poor car trying to merge onto the freeway. Same thing on my way home. Transitioning from 237 to 880, we all stop, then go without spacing between vehicles. Why bother?

This seems like a waste of fuel/battery charge and a safety concern at some short merges.

Russ Baker

A: Victor-the-Caltrans-spokesman for Santa Clara County said that advance warning signs were repaired on this connector and the metering light is working. I’m not sure this addresses all the concerns you raised. Please let me know if the situation has improved.

Q: A reader recently claimed that the suggestion that we report bike lane obstacles by calling 311 is impractical. He said the only option was to leave a voicemail there.

This is incorrect. When I’ve called, after choosing 1 for English, 5 took me to a human being at the police non-emergency number. However, when the call was about cars illegally parked in bike lanes, the dispatcher transferred me during weekday hours to 408-277-8900, a San Jose PD non-emergency line, where 0 got a human being who sent Code Enforcement to deal with the problem. Skip 311 and call 408-277-8900 during normal weekday hours.

Parked cars with no occupants are the most dangerous bike lane violators. Drivers who stop in bike lanes to use cell phones are almost as bad, but usually leave after several minutes.

Peter Ross, San Jose

A: Valuable to know.

Q: Historically, one of the busiest intersections in Santa Clara County is Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road. The problem here is red light runners. Almost daily, I see people running the lights. It has gotten so bad that I recently counted six cars running the light at one time.

Before there is a major fatality here, I would like the city and county to study road-calming changes that could reduce the risk of driving through this dangerous intersection.

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