Dear Street Smarts,
I live on Branciforte Drive and, after the storms, part of the road washed out. Now, (the county is) going to put in a light. But after a week of them putting it in, no more work has been done. Do you know when the light will be activated? Sometimes, the road gets backed up 1/4 mile.
Gina Weeks, via Facebook
Done. County public works had hoped to get the temporary, one-way signal system up and running by today, said Steve Wiesner, assistant director of the transportation division. But on Sept. 21, Ms. Weeks notified Street Smarts that the light was on and working.
By the way, the county is working with Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration to repair the slip-out in the summer of 2012, Wiesner added.
Perhaps you can explain this mystery to me: Why is it that 80 percent of drivers on the road can easily 'flip' their finger, but the same 80 percent, or so it seems, can't 'flick' their finger? By flick, I mean flick on their turn signals. How hard is that? Do they have broken digits or broken wrists?
Arn Ghigliazza, Santa Cruz
Well, Arn, I don't know about the flip versus the flick or whether the traffic scofflaws you are talking about are suffering any injuries. But I do know that drivers, as well as motorcycle riders and cyclists, must use turn signals to communicate their intentions to other road users.
According to the California Driver Handbook, turn signals must be used:
- During the last 100 feet before reaching the place the individual plans to make a left or right turn;
- Before changing lanes;
- Before pulling next to or away from a curb;
- Even when it appears no one else is on the road or close enough to pose a danger.
Learn more about signals, including use of proper hand signals, at http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/signaling.htm.
Caltrans goes solar
Caltrans today is beginning a project to install a solar panel system at its maintenance station on Capitola Road Extension.
Seeking to conserve energy, the state transportation agency is paying RGT Electric, Inc. of Irvine, $102,000 to install a solar panel system to run the maintenance station. Once complete, the solar panel system will generate enough power to run 2.5 homes for a year.
The project does not require traffic controls. Work is expected to wrap up in mid-October, weather permitting.
For information about this or other Caltrans projects in Santa Cruz County, call 831-423-0396 or visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm