Interesting California Traffic Stories for March, 2019

Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting California drivers from the past month.

End Traffic Deaths: Report Spells Out Ways For Local Region (Coronado Patch)

Circulate San Diego released a report Wednesday detailing how cities in southern San Diego County can make progress toward eliminating traffic deaths.

The report outlined ways in which Imperial Beach, National City, Chula Vista and Coronado can prevent fatal traffic accidents by making improvements to the cities' most dangerous intersections and roadways. Circulate San Diego suggested the cities should take steps to calm traffic flows like restriping roadways to narrow them and reduce speeds.

Circulate also recommended that the highlighted cities should assess driving behaviors that lead to serious injury and fatal car accidents and work with local law enforcement officers to target those behaviors through education and traffic law enforcement. [Read more…]

No speed limit? That could become a reality for two California highways (The Sacramento Bee)

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make the state part of an exclusive club: The state would become one of the rare places in the world with highways with no speed limit.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, has introduced Senate Bill 319, which would add two lanes each to the north- and south-bound lanes of I-5 and Highway 99 — those lanes would have no upper speed limit. Moorlach argued in the bill language that “traffic congestion increases the emissions of greenhouse gases as it causes automobiles to idle longer while on roadways.“ [Read more…]

Skip rush hour traffic and FLOAT (ABC 7)

Rush hour in Southern California isn't easy, but a solution may soon give daily commuters the option of flying over it.

"Our idea is to get people to work on a plane. We want to get people off the freeways and fly them to work ," said Tom Hsieh, co-founder of FLOAT.

Hsieh is one of three co-founders of Fly Over All Traffic or FLOAT. The idea is to provide Monday through Friday air shuttle service, taking advantage of the 26 general aviation airports across the greater Los Angeles region.

"Reduce commute times from two-plus hours to 15-minute flights," said Hsieh.

It's an idea that might take off.

"I think it would be a positive thing because of a lot of them spend two-and-a-half hours to and from commuting," said Sandra Gomez.

Today, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study stating American drivers are spending more time behind the wheel -- up 8 percent from five years ago. [Read more…]

Commutes in this city are the longest in the US—and it's not NYC or San Francisco (CNBC)

The New York and San Francisco metro areas are notorious for their hectic rush hours and frequent traffic jams. In New York City, in fact, "one in 10 residents walks to work every day," a study from online life-insurance agency Haven Life finds, but its "questionable whether this is because of proximity or because it's faster than using any other form of transit."

Still, neither takes the title of U.S. city where workers have the longest commutes. The winner is Palmdale, California, which is part of North Los Angeles County, where 35 percent of the population commutes over two hours round-trip each day.

To find where workers spend the most time in transit, Haven Life used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate the "average round-trip commute time and other statistics about its residents' journey to work," such as the ratio of working hours to commuting hours and the percentage of workers commuting over two hours a day. [Read more…]

One size does not fit all when it comes to bike lanes (Los Altos Town Crier)

One day last December, my wife, Mary, came home and asked me, “What is with the bike lanes on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto?” I had no idea, so I had to go see for myself.

She was referring to the area near the intersection of North California Avenue and Middlefield Road, and the entrances to Greene Middle School, which my brother attended more than 50 years ago when it was Jordan Middle School.

There are short two-way bike lanes along both Middlefield and North California to funnel cyclists in and out of Greene. However, they do not continue up North California to Stratford School, where regular roadway rules apply (there are sharrows to tell motorists that cyclists may take the whole roadway, if necessary).

The schools are right around the corner from where I lived for three years while growing up, and I have great memories of a simpler time when traffic was sparse and well behaved. Because the bike lanes take space, motor vehicle traffic is constrained to narrow lanes that are separated from the bike lanes by white posts near the school entrances. A cyclist using these bike lanes has to temporarily turn into a pedestrian at well-marked intersections at their ends before resuming travel as a cyclist on the correct side of the road on either Middlefield or North California. [Read more…]

Wildflower superbloom: Where to see Southern California’s traffic-stopping displays (The Mercury News)

During the robust wildflower season of 2017, the stunning floral display near Southern California’s Lake Elsinore had drivers stopping on Interstate 15. This year is shaping up to be another eye-popping, traffic-stopping season.

“It’s stunning,” said Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos. “The hills are ablaze with color. The pictures just don’t do it justice.”

On weekends two years ago, the freeway jammed as drivers slowed to look at the hillsides and stopped on the shoulder to take photos — which authorities warn is illegal. Yet, Manos said, people are starting to do that again.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” he said. “You should not be on the side of the freeway for any other reason than an emergency.”

The location also became so popular in 2017 that vendors started setting up illegal operations, said Kyla Brown, assistant director of the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District.

This time around officials seem better prepared to make sure wildflower lovers behave responsibly. [Read more…]

Locals have mixed reviews on bill that could eliminate speed limit on I-5, Hwy 99 (ABC 30)

Congested roadways on Interstate 5 and State Route 99 could be a thing of the past if a California state senator gets his way.

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Orange County) has filed a bill that would add two specialty lanes to either direction of the freeways, and the 65 miles per hour speed limit would not apply.

"You're going to know it's safe. You're going to be very safe if you have passengers and you're going to pay attention," he said.

It's all in an effort to eliminate greenhouse gases. Senator Moorlach is also calling it a "viable alternative" to the high-speed rail project.

"So now you don't have to figure out a way to get around trucks that are passing trucks. which slow you down make your fuel usage inefficient now we have an opportunity to get you in either direction at a mode that you're comfortable with," the Senator said.

"I mean if they can do it some kind of safe way I don't really have a problem with it," said Skip Baker.

Baker has 29 years of driving big rigs under his belt, so he sees the pros and cons. [Read more…]

Here's How Traffic In San Diego Ranks Nationwide (Patch San Diego)

Traffic is not only a drain on the economy — to the tune of billions of dollars in costs — it can consume hours each day and also affect mental health. But a new report shows drivers in some cities spend much more time staring at brake lights than others. San Diego is one of them, unfortunately, landing in the top 50 most congested cities nationwide, according to a new report.

The company INRIX Research released its 2018 "Global Traffic Scorecard" rankings Tuesday, finding that congestion is an "indiscriminate global phenomenon" that is dramatically affected by population, economy, infrastructure and the popularity of ride-hailing and delivery services.

San Diego ranked as the 40th most impacted city in the country when it comes to traffic congestion. Drivers in our city lose up to 56 hours per year in traffic. [Read more…]

The trauma of having to renew my California driver’s license (Palo Alto Online)

THAT notice from the DMV arrived in my mailbox almost three months ago, announcing that I must renew my driver’s license by my birthday, Feb. 4th, and make an appointment for a written test. On that date, the DMV said, I needed to bring along a passport or a birth certificate, my existing driver’s license, two proofs of residency, a social security card -- all to verify I am who I know I am. I also have to pay $36 – by cash, check or debit card – but NO credit cards accepted.

Terror struck! I have taken these written tests before, and know they can be tricky and occasionally include questions on extraneous things that didn’t matter to me like how many seconds away from a motorcycle should I drive (four). Plus to pass the exam (7 out of 10 questions), the DMV advised me to read the “California Driver’s Handbook 2018.”

I happen to be an overly conscientious person (a good and a bad trait), and so I immediately went online to schedule an appointment. The first available date was four days after my birthday. Would I get a ticket for driving with an expired license? I called the Palo Alto Police Department, and was told no, as long as I could substantiate I had a scheduled DMV appointment. [Read more…]

Here’s what colored curbs — red, blue, green, white and yellow – mean for California drivers (The Press-Enterprise)

Q: Beaumont resident Andrew Lunetta asked for a review of the rules regarding parking or stopping at various colored curbs.

He also asked where he can park with his disabled plates and how long he can park in a disabled space on a city street.

A: California has a rainbow of colored curbs, each with their own rules, and we are happy to provide a primer, or reminder, for folks.

Here’s what the California Driver Handbook says:

Red: No stopping, standing, or parking. Red zones are usually for emergency vehicles only, as well as fire hydrants. You cannot park in front or, or block, a fire hydrant. Buses may stop at a red curb if it’s marked OK for buses to stop there.

Blue: Blue curbs are where parking is allowed only for a disabled person with a disabled placard or plates, or someone who is driving a disabled person. If it’s a public city street, the disabled driver can park there for an unlimited amount of time. The area next to a disabled parking space that is painted with blue diagonal stripes also is not to be occupied by any vehicle. That space is set aside for van ramps for the disabled.

Green: Anyone can park at a green curb for a limited time. There is usually a sign posted there stating the time allowed. Or it might be painted on the green curb. [Read more…]

What to do if you hate your California driver’s license photo (The Press-Enterprise)

Q: Jay Tee isn’t a fan of the current photo on his California driver’s license.

He wants to know if, before his license expires and he gets a new one, he could go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and take another picture. He doesn’t mind paying the fees and wants to know what to do.

A: The answer is yes, Tee can get a new head shot taken any time at the DMV, spokesman Artemio Armenta said.

To get a new photo on his license, Tee doesn’t have to wait until he receives a renewal notice. [Read more…]

New bill would let California drivers register vehicle every other year (ABC30)

California drivers could soon register their cars with the DMV every other year instead of annually.

If passed, a new Senate Bill would make registration periods for every other year starting July 1, 2020.

The proposed bill, SB 460, would also make it illegal to sell or offer to sell appointment reservations with the DMV or face a fine of up to $2,500.

Many people have complained about the long wait times at the DMV.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling to change the departments management and resolve issues like those long lines. [Read more…]

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