Bay Area Roads
Either click on a link below, or scroll down for a brief road infoshare.
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STUFF PEOPLE ASK ME ABOUT
What Is The Difference Between An Interstate, a U.S. Highway And a State Route?
I'll give you the shortest, least-boring explanation I can.
Back in '56, President Eisenhower founded the Interstate Highway System, and a load of federally-funded freeways were built nationwide. Freeways that were not originally part of this system, but were built with federal funds (such is I-980 in Oakland, CA) receive interstate designation. To qualify as an interstate, the freeway must have no traffic lights—aside from metering lights—and no cross roads.
The U.S. Highway system existed long before that; contrary to my long-held belief, local and state agencies maintain these highways. These routes often cover multiple states—in fact, many that don't are or soon will be decommissioned as a U.S. highway. Basically, the difference between an interstate highway and a U.S. highway is simply age—U.S. highways date back to the 20's.
State routes are, generally speaking but not always, highways funded by each state. At least in California, no real standards exist for these roads—some, like State Route 9 in the SF Bay Area, are just long windy roads. Others, like State Route 17 in San Jose/Los Gatos, are full-fledged freeways.
What Is Park-And-Ride?
Park-And-Rides are used as hubs for various public transportation services—basically, you drive to the local P&R and wait for the commuter bus, train, or other carpoolers to shuttle you to your final (usually far) destination. There are dozens of these throughout the Bay Area; click here for much more information. Note: to my knowledge, these lots are usually free to park in during designated hours, but I've only personally visited a few of these lots.
If A Pothole Damages My Car, Can I Make CalTrans Pay?
Up to $5,000 you can try, at least in California. Click here for the CalTrans claim filing page—though according to reports I've read they've been trying to hold cities responsible more and more.
How Is Legal Use Of Express Lanes Enforced?
By the CHP. If you appear to be riding solo during express lane hours (which can vary; click here for more) and there's no transponder on your windshield, they'll pull you over. The overhead machines don't do anything except deduct charges as you voyage down the lane—in short, it doesn't take any extra strategy to cheat the express lane than the convential carpool lane. But should you get caught, the fines are steeper.
Do Any Parking Meters Take Anything Other Than Quarters?
For those of you who—like me—really don't foray into areas that charge for parking, yes, meters in (at least) San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose have been taking credit/debit cards in addition to change for some time now. (This is not true for every last meter, however, and SF meters charge a convenience fee for card payments as of summer 2015.) We'll be exploring other metered areas in the coming weeks and have a complete report for you at that time.
OFT-FORGOTTEN TRAFFIC RULES
At A Four-Way Stop...
...when multiple vehicles arrive at once, the driver on the farthest left has the right of way.
At A Red Right Arrow...
...you must STOP as you would for a Red Left Arrow, and wait for a green light.
Turning Over Solid Lines...
...is legal to do over a single line or single pair of lines IF you are: turning left into or out of a driveway or side road, or making a U-turn unless a sign is posted stating otherwise.
It is illegal to turn over double solid lines at ALL times—they are to be treated as a divider and never breached.
You may never cross one or two pairs double yellow lines—or any single solid line—to pass a vehicle ahead of you...be patient, or pass on the right (usually not advised. Do not sue us if you crash after visiting this page.)
If Emergency Vehicles Approach...
...and you are on an undivided road (a road without a raised curb in the middle to separate traffic directions), you must pull over until the vehicle passes. If at a red light and blocking the EV's way, you are not only allowed to run the light...you are mandated to.
Any questions or comments? Contact Skillz.
"People said I was dumb, but I proved them!'" -- Philip Fry, Futurama