Parking on street corners breaks law if crosswalk, disabled ramp blocked

Q I live in a neighborhood that has become very crowded with people parking to attend sports programs at a nearby school yard. Vehicles are increasingly parking on the street corners, literally curving around the corners, constricting the intersection to the point that it is difficult to see and drive around the corner.

Maybe laws have changed since I was a new driver 30 years ago, but I thought it was a violation of the vehicle code to park on a corner. In fact, I thought it was illegal to park within a specific distance from a corner. Am I right or wrong?

Mark Wagner
Los Gatos

A Parking at or near a corner isn't in and of itself illegal. However, parking on a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) is illegal. Police say that while most people know not to park in a marked crosswalk, most aren't familiar with ``unmarked'' crosswalks, and people will probably continue to park on the corner without a marked crosswalk. Call your local public works department and request a red curb be painted on the corner, which would be more obvious. One other note about corners: It is illegal to park at the corner if there is a ramp for disabled access or an access sign for the disabled in addition to the lowered curb on the sidewalk.

Q The railroad tracks on Thomas Road in Santa Clara have been decommissioned and are out of use. Why can't they be covered? Even if you go over them at 5 to 10 mph, they can cause stress to one's car.

Satnam Bains
San Jose

A Union Pacific will remove the tracks within the next year. After that, city crews will repave the area and smooth rough spots.

Q I've noticed that traffic on southbound Interstate 880 starts to slow down at the Montague Expressway exit due to the work being done on I-880. The problem is, some drivers continuing south on I-880 have decided they need to get home a few seconds early and are using the exit ramp as an extra lane to detour around slower traffic. Sometimes at the last second, they cut across the solid lines after the exit ramp to bypass a few cars. Of course, they probably help slow traffic more as they merge back into I-880. Is this legal? Is there anything the CHP or Caltrans can do to keep motorists from taking this shortcut?

Jim Lazar

A It's illegal to charge across the gore point -- where two white lines form a ``V'' -- at the exit. But otherwise it's legal to exit and then re-enter the freeway here. I agree that these drivers add to overall delays, but this problem should ease when the widening is done. Eventually, metering lights will installed, bringing this trickery to a halt.

Q Voters approved a tax to build Highway 85, right? Then why is 85 just now being connected with new ramps to Highway 87?

C. Roberts
Campbell

A Santa Clara County voters approved a 10-year, half-cent sales tax in 1984 to build Highway 85. But the recession of the early 1990s caused revenues to plunge, and they ran out of money to complete the interchange at 85-87. This was one of the projects listed on the 1996 ballot measure and should be completed in another year or so.


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Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@sjmercury.com or (408) 920-5335.

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