Radar guns, stop signs and photo opps too good to pass up. Those of us who spend lots of time in our cars tend to think a lot, which may be why we have so many questions.

Read on for two Highway 101 head-scratchers and something that will make you go smile.

Question: What’s up with CHP officers standing beside their cars and pointing radar at oncoming traffic?  How do they catch a speeder that way? — Maria

Answer: The radar units we have mounted in the front and rear of our patrol cars send out a radar wave that catches all moving targets. But what the writer is talking about is a LIDAR gun. Rather than using radar a LIDAR gun uses a laser. That single laser beam can be put on an individual vehicle to measure its speed and distance. Because that laser beam has to have a single target, the officer has to be out and pointing it. – Jon Sloat, CHP Public Information Officer

Question: I was wondering if you could shed some light on the necessity of the pointless new stop sign that Caltrans has put in the S. Petaluma Blvd. off-ramp on the 101? I fail to see the point of adding a stop sign at a location where there is no cross street and the only cross “traffic” would be an occasional garbage truck. — jezra

Answer: The stop signs on South Petaluma Boulevard at the Ratto (Novato Disposal) driveway are for increased safety to address truck traffic entering and exiting the driveway.  Due to construction, the two-way left turn lane was removed, and the northbound and southbound lanes were slightly reduced in width. — Allyn Amsk, Caltrans spokesperson

And from Frank, referring to a recent post about laws that govern u-turns: “My favorite.”


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  1. Paul Harris

    what makes me go Hummm is the “the” before 101 in your title. From Southern California? Here is Northern California we identify highways by saying 101, 12 or 580 not “the 101″” the 12″ or “the 580″. If your going to live in Northern California, please speak and write like a northerner.

    May 24th, 2013 7:35 am

  2. ER

    Regarding the U turn sign on the bridge, I seem to recall at least one accident caused by someone trying to do a U turn there.

    May 24th, 2013 8:53 am

  3. Tom

    I never understood why there are a bunch of signs installed backwards at the steele lane /101 entrance southbound…..

    May 24th, 2013 8:53 am

  4. Jeff

    Since when can you not make a U turn on the bridge? Is that new?!? lol

    May 24th, 2013 8:59 am

  5. Jeff

    Shouldn’t the “U” be upside down in this sign? No car can make a turn like the one shown. ha!

    May 24th, 2013 9:02 am

  6. Danyale Hambly

    Who would we contact to ask about temporarily removing the express lane on South HWY 101 from the Cotati Grade to the Petaluma Blvd exit. The road work on that exit lane causes a back up in the right lane and jammed in the middle lane. I would think this is a hazard and all lanes should be open during commute time.

    Thank you

    May 24th, 2013 9:36 am

  7. Road.Warrior

    Busted. I’ve lived in both parts of the state as well as in North Carolina, so I guess we should just be happy I didn’t put y’all in there somewhere. I stand corrected.

    May 24th, 2013 9:38 am

  8. Road.Warrior

    You should be in touch with Caltrans District 4 office. I am forwarding your request now, but will also get information about where to send individual requests and questions.

    May 24th, 2013 9:53 am

  9. John Goody

    I may have missed when this happened, but it looks like 101 South at the Sierra on-ramp has been reduced to a 55 MPH speed limit over the Cotati grade. Not that anyone else is really paying attention either. What’s the word on that? Construction isn’t until a few miles south, so why the reduced speed?

    May 24th, 2013 10:52 am

  10. Skippy

    Here’s one. S 101 at Hwy 12 exit. Sonoma left, Sebastopol right.
    A. What Hwy? It is not id’d as 12.
    B. East? West? No indication.
    IOW, a traveler taking that exit had better know which town is where to make an informed decision, eh?

    May 24th, 2013 1:06 pm

  11. jeff

    Why are some more concerned with minutia like “the” 101, than they are with traffic hazards on “the” 101?

    May 24th, 2013 1:11 pm

  12. joe donegan

    Once the Eel river water is flowing to Southern California maybe the southerners will care about Nor Cal, but I doubt it. Semantics.

    May 24th, 2013 3:39 pm

  13. ER

    While driving south on 101 on the Cotati grade, I’ve noticed, on the downhill slope to Petaluma, three sets of skid marks that scarily go off the edge of the road. I wonder, what were the outcomes of those accidents? Anyone killed? When will we get a guardrail on that section of road? (Ha, probably when we get guardrails on the section of highway 1 south of Jenner, scary there, too)

    May 24th, 2013 5:52 pm

  14. Brian

    Gotta love the So-Cal usage of the word “the” before a highway number… Take the 405 to the 105 east to the 605 south to the 91 east… Man, LA is confusing! But it would sound weird down there to say the above sentence without “the” in it. :-)

    May 25th, 2013 5:13 pm

  15. Belinda

    Noticed there are small shaded alcoves built next to the new sounds walls on 101. They seem to be just for the CHP to hold up said LIDAR guns pointed at us. Were these hiding spots built the express purpose of nailing the public?

    June 16th, 2013 1:47 pm

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