From Road Warrior readers, a question about whether it’s OK to drive a bus without passengers in the carpool lane, what to do with an inconsiderate neighbor with a loud Harley, and when the county plans to repave Llano Road, in that netherland between Santa Rosa and the Laguna.

Question: I am wondering if it would be legal for a bus driver to drive solo in the commuter lane during commute hours. Would I be cited by the police if I drove in the commuter lane during the commute hours without any passengers on my para-transit bus? We are often on a tight schedule, and it would be helpful. I have never done it because I don’t want to risk a ticket. – Linda

Answer: No! You need to have at least two breathing human beings in your vehicle to use the carpool lane. Dogs, fetuses and potential passengers do not count. — Jon Sloat, CHP spokesman

Question: We live in a fairly quiet residential neighborhood. All sorts of people live here in relative harmony, including a few motorheads of various kinds (myself included). There are Japanese car fans, old muscle cars, big trucks, motorcycles, etc.  Several people here own Harleys and it’s fine – with a window open I can hear them approaching through an industrial neighborhood clearly enjoying their rides, but when they approach the residential area they respectfully take it easy on the throttle.  They only use what they need to get where they’re going.

Except for one guy, and he’s the source of my question. This guy has no respect at all, and raps hard on his motor all through the several blocks of residential housing to his home.  Even with the windows closed, the sound is jarring.  He’s woken our baby up many, many times as he rides past.

His immediate neighbors clearly fear him and possibly for good reason.  For my part I don’t want to paint all the Harley riders in the neighborhood with the same brush as this guy as I feel that the rest of them are respectful.

Given that, what can be done about the miscreant?  Is this one of those “have to catch him in the act” issues, or can a complaint be filed that will have teeth to it?  — Anon (for obvious reasons)

Answer:  Unfortunately, this is a “catch him in the act” situation as described. If someone can get a license plate number, a warning letter could be sent. If it is a matter of safety where someone could be hurt, then a citizen’s arrest is possible by someone willing to do that. These things aside, people who behave like this and have no regard for others will always screw up and get caught. Always. — Jon Sloat, CHP spokesman

Question: Does the county have plans to repave Llano Road from Todd Road south? The pavement has been completely falling apart on that stretch as far south as the Santa Rosa sewer plant for the past couple of years, and it seems like it’s been much worse this year. They repaved (or chip sealed) Llano north of Todd, and it wasn’t nearly as bad. — John Green, Sebastopol

The answer comes from Tom O’Kane, deputy director of Sonoma County’s Transportation and Public Works Department. “Llano Road south of  Todd certainly needs pavement repairs, but this segment is not included in the 200 miles of the primary road network identified by the Board of Supervisors,” he said. Since 2010, the county has focused long-term maintenance funding on those designated “primary” roads, just 14 percent of the county’s roads. (Read a longer story about that decision HERE.)

O’Kane said an ad hoc committee on roads is considering the priorities for next year, “and there is the potential for this section to be included. But just to be clear, their focus is on the primary road network and connecting links to parks and other areas that stimulate economic activity.” 

In other words, if you want to lobby for your paving project, now’s the time to contact your supervisor.


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