Readers have a lot on their minds this week, perhaps because summer vacation is in full swing and those of us working rather than vacationing are feeling the worse for wear. Here’s what three commuters have on their minds.

Stop clogging my Highway 37

I just recently started commuting to Sonoma and let me tell you that all of you folks using Hwy 37 as a bypass are making my life a living hell. I can’t tell you how infuriating it is to read these comments. Between the toll evaders commuting from SF and the Petaluma residents using 37 to avoid 101, no wonder traffic is so unbearable!! Yesterday the 511 sign in Novato said 90 minutes to Sears Point thanks to all of you. 90 minutes!

If it was used by those who should be actually using it there wouldn’t be such a mess. I cannot wait for the lane widening in the Novato narrows so you folks going to P-Town or further north will get back on the 101 and stay off of the 37. As for the toll evaders I unfortunately see no end in sight but please stay out of the dang left hand turn only lane!! – Andrea Gensheimer

Where’s all this stopped traffic?

Recently there was a question from a reader on the “Stopped Traffic Ahead” sign on the southbound 101 Cotati Grade.  This Electronic sign is very far from the N Petaluma Blvd. off ramp (as the Caltrans answer stated the reason for it being there).  I think someone placed it miles away from where it should be.  And to add to that, during the evening commute there is never a back up there.

Perhaps morning only?  But it hardly constitutes a sign that uses electricity to warn people about some backup that is extremely infrequent. — John, Road Observationist

Just drive on by, please

I’ve said it before, and now I must say it again: people who break right-of-way rules out of a perceived sense of courtesy are a public danger. Just today I encountered a driver on 116 who brought his lane to a full stop to wave me, in the turn lane, in front of him into a parking lot. I was safely in the turn lane waiting for an opening in traffic to cross over, but this driver’s actions put both myself and the people behind him in danger.

Drivers behind this person were not expecting him to stop in the middle of the road for no reason, and were at risk for rear-end collisions. Had I followed his misguided lead, I would have been at risk of entering the path of frustrated drivers who may have tried to pass the unexpectedly stopped vehicle. I refused out of concern for my own safety.

Think about it like this. Traffic flows like a stream. What happens when you put a rock in a flowing stream? The water doesn’t stop flowing–it simply flows around the rock. The same happens in traffic, which is why we have right-of-way rules so there is a common agreement about how and when particular streams of traffic will flow and when they will stop. When you ignore right-of-way rules by stopping traffic to wave a pedestrian or other vehicle in front of you, you endanger not only that person, but everyone around you.

Should the pedestrian or the other vehicle have the right-of-way (such as a crosswalk), then by all means let them pass, and do your best to communicate the hazard to other drivers behind and beside you (such as flashing your brake lights or your hazard lights). But please don’t decide to create your own rules and stop traffic that has the right of way. — Elizabeth


Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter at @PDRoadWarrior.



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  1. Leah

    Thank you Elizabeth!! This is a huge gripe of mine!! It happens all the time heading into/and in town in Sonoma. I know people are trying to be nice, but think about the cars behind you, you aren’t being so nice to them!

    June 17th, 2013 8:28 am

  2. Anthony Angry

    Elizabeth, excellent! I don’t understand how some people just don’t get it!

    Andrea Gensheimer, tell you what, how about you start paying 100% of the Hwy. 37 upkeep and we’ll listen to that tiny violin of yours. Until then, you’re just going to have to deal with all us being on YOUR planet and paying taxes for YOUR road. So, sorry about that you self-entitled princess, you! (Seriously RW, why would you print that narcissistic diatribe?!)

    June 17th, 2013 9:00 am

  3. Roy

    Dear Andrea Gensheimer,

    Sorry, but you don’t have special rights to highway 37. In fact, the backup there is not because of the people going North, so you can stop hating. If you don’t like the situation, try commuting during off hours, or heckling your local politicians. A great step stop your bad habits of living so far away from work.

    June 17th, 2013 9:30 am

  4. Dar

    Andrea, please take all of your frustration with the 37 situation and direct it to your local congressman. That freeway needs to be four lanes (two in each direction) with the amount of cars that utilize that stretch of road. For those of us living North of 37, that is our only reasonable connection to Hwy 80. It needs to be widened!!!

    June 17th, 2013 9:45 am

  5. Hank Aran

    Andrea Gensheimer, wow you’re right. My life would be easier if everybody would just get off the road when I wanted to drive too. So everybody, just get the hell off the road whenever I’m driving!

    June 17th, 2013 9:56 am

  6. RANDY

    please widen highway 37 to 4 lanes like it needs to be from 101 to 80

    June 17th, 2013 11:44 am

  7. Brian

    @ Andrea: So, what you’re saying is that unless you happen to live along highway 37, or on either end of the road (Novato/Vallejo), that no one else has any business being on that road? And that it should be wide open for when you choose to drive on it during YOUR commute, but no one else? I can say the same thing for 101, and tell people that don’t live along 101 to get off of the road, but in reality, what good is that? It’s a PUBLIC ROAD, funded by the STATE OF CALIFORNIA for any and all to use, just like any other PUBLIC roadway in this state that is maintined by PUBLIC FUNDS! Welcome to California with 33 million other people sharing this land, as well as welcome to the Bay Area, which only happens to be the 2nd largest populated area aside from our friends to the south. If you can’t handle driving the roads, then take your problem to the government who has control of the roads – don’t lash out to random people who read a blog on the Press Democrat.

    That’s almost as bad as telling people to not shop at the Costco in my town during the time I want to be there unless they’re from my town so there will be no lines – it isn’t happening!

    June 17th, 2013 12:22 pm

  8. Brian M

    So ‘Andrea’, let me get this straight, because I’m a Petaluma resident I have no right to use a public road to get home. A road that I’ve been using for 10 years for my daily commute? If you’ve just started recently commuting to Sonoma, maybe you should have done your research and assessed the situation before making your decision, because the traffic levels have been steadily increasing since the economy has picked up. Also, the commuters making their way to Tahoe for the weekend have always caused Thursday and Friday afternoon traffic on 37 to slow down, especially in the summer. As far as your comment on “toll evaders”, I’d love to see your detailed research on the demographics of the hwy 37 traffic issues. What an incredibly narcissistic post!

    June 17th, 2013 12:24 pm

  9. Nate

    Andrea, feeling a little entitled today?

    June 17th, 2013 2:46 pm

  10. Charles

    BTW, in a two lane (each way) situation such as most of 101 in Sonoma County, the fast/left lane is used for PASSING. It’s not a cell phone using, text message reading, directions looking up, make-up putting on, kindle fire reading, yell at your kids/spouse lane. It’s just the passing lane and it wants its identity back. And if you are going 70 in a 65, you really have ZERO credibility to let others know that 72 or 75 might be too fast by not moving over. 70 is also breaking the law so get off your high horse and get over.

    June 17th, 2013 2:49 pm

  11. OC

    Andrea needs a Waaaambulance.

    June 18th, 2013 7:11 am

  12. Dar

    Charles FTW! Sanity returning to driving? Who would have thought!

    Keep right except to PASS!

    Turn signals…PLEASE USE THEM!!

    June 18th, 2013 11:34 am

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