Driv­ers may wait un­til 2020 to get transpon­ders for I-880

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - Gary Richards Colum­nist Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/ mr.road­show or con­tact him at mr­road­[email protected] ba­yare­anews­group.com or 408- 920- 5037.

QI was search­ing the MTC and FasTrak web­sites but saw no es­ti­mated dates for when the In­ter­state 880 car­pool lanes will con­vert to ex­press lanes. I want to get a transpon­der in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the change, but not in­vest in the se­cu­rity fee and ac­count min­i­mum bal­ance just to have it col­lect dust in my glove box wait­ing for the lanes to open. Can you find out more in­for­ma­tion on when they will con­vert? — Margherite Leb­bert

AEarly 2020 is the lat­est es­ti­mate. The south­bound ex­press lane will stretch from He­gen­berger Road in Oak­land to Dixon Land­ing Road in Mil­pi­tas where it will link up to the High­way 237 toll lane. The north­bound ex­press lane will ex­tend from 237 to Lewelling Boule­vard in San Lorenzo.

QI have been com­mut­ing from Beni­cia to Sun­ny­vale for over 10 years, and pay to use the ex­press lane to save a few min­utes on High­way 237, which is al­most al­ways dread­ful. Why have the traf­fic gods sit­u­ated the sig­nage that dis­plays the price or ‘”HOV Only” at the last pos­si­ble point of en­try? Go­ing south­bound on In­ter­state 880, more than once I have had to nav­i­gate a six-lane change to the left only to find that signs say HOV only, re­quir­ing me to im­me­di­ately make a six-lane change to the right. This seems in­or­di­nately dan­ger­ous to me. Your thoughts?

A— Lyn Camp­bell, Beni­cia Nor­mally these signs are one-fourth of a mile from where you need to de­cide to en­ter an ex­press lane, but at 880-237 it’s al­most a half-mile, giv­ing driv­ers more time to make their move.

The dis­tance won’t be changed, but VTA rec­om­mends driv­ers who may want to ac­cess the ex­press lane shouldn’t start from the far­thest lane from the right. I- 880 is a six-lane free­way here — the two far right lanes are the exit lanes to 237 for solo driv­ers without FasTrak. A driver who wants to get into the ex­press lane fly­over ramp should be in lane No. 2 to see the price and de­cide if you wish to en­ter. The driver then has a halfmile to ei­ther en­ter or head back to lane No. 5 to exit to 237 in the lanes car­ry­ing solo driv­ers.

The “HOV Only” mes­sage comes on when the ex­press lane ex­pe­ri­ences low speeds due to con­ges­tion ahead. This equates to an av­er­age of about 20 min­utes per day.

QI saw your re­mark on a reader’s ques­tion about put­ting dec­o­ra­tions on an over­pass over a high­way. Well, there is a large Christ­mas wreath over the Yerba Buena Is­land tun­nel en­trance on west­bound In­ter­state 80 go­ing into San Fran­cisco. I am cu­ri­ous if this is le­gal. Re­gard­less of the le­gal­ity, I en­joyed see­ing it.

A— David Ogilvie, South San Fran­cisco This is OK. It’s a joint ef­fort by the MTC and Cal­trans to get into the hol­i­day spirit. Bring on the eggnog.

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