Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Vacation

It's always good to come home right?  Two weeks away and your ready....especially ready for some San Diego. This summer we vacationed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada....a beautiful region from which my wife hails.  To be honest she's from well north of Toronto, but I promise, you've never heard of it!
When we travel, don't we all tend to critique our area of expertise?  In the restaurant business? can't go anywhere without sizing up the joint....real estate?... housing the local news... and so on..... for me it is of course the traffic. And man does Toronto have traffic!  One major route in and out of a city with a population over 3 million, not counting the toll road which like everything else is way overpriced.  Case of beer for $30 anyone? 5 bucks for a gallon of gas and don't get me started on the extra you can pay for ethanol infused gasoline to "do your part for global warming." Don't even think about idling your car in the takes just seconds for someone to scold you. But wait, I wanted to talk about traffic.  The critique on their misguided political correctness will have to wait.  But it does dovetail.  With all their fervor to save the planet they refused to build freeways...that major freeway in and out of Toronto has just three lanes, a few spots with four but not for long.  Compare that with the 22 or so lanes we have at the 5/805 merge and you can see why I was so darn happy to get home!  Our volume numbers are similar too, the merge carries about 270,000 vehicles a day.  Toronto's Queen Elizabeth Way or QEW hosts an average of 240,000.  More lanes, less gridlock, less pollution.....not so complicated.  Sure they have trains and buses and carpools...however, just like here in good old SoCal.....people like their freedom.  But we haven't yet been brainwashed by the ivory tower crowd to believe we can do our part to save the planet by putting up with less while paying more.  Give me more lanes and cheap beer!  God bless the USA, and welcome home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coronado Bridge

The past month has been a challenging time for Coronado commuters.  With three aircraft carriers now home ported at North Island the bridge can get crazy....especially in the mornings.
On April 12 the Vinson arrived making San Diego her new home....also arriving the 3300 crew members to further add to an already jammed bridge.  The navy says the three ships will seldom be in port at one time but for at least another month you should expect heavy traffic.  The Reagan is scheduled to depart in June for exercises off Hawaii.
It's hard to believe but there has been the odd complaint from Coronado residents.  Are you kidding me?  Overall though I expect the folks on Coronado embrace their military neighbors and deal with the bridge as being part of life on the island.....not a bad place to live....not to mention respecting our military men and women for all the obvious reasons. 
So deal with the's the "FUBAR of Freedom"!!!
Take your family to the harbor and gaze at the powerful site of three Nimitz Class Carriers with her crew ready to defend your freedom....the Vinson, Nimitz and the Reagan.  In fact...if you get a chance while on Coronado  be sure to eat at Clayton's....a wonderful diner that caters to and fully supports the personnel stationed there.
That's my shout out to the military...thanks for all you do. Be safe.....see you on the

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Freeway Etiquette

Is there any?  I am ripe for this topic of freeway manners and inconsiderate drivers, just back from 1300 miles up and down the 5, to and from Sacramento.  Holy crap folks....let's get a clue!  The first issue of course is that the stretch north of the Grapvine is just 2 flippin' lanes....and not very well maintained at that....note to Arnold...get this State back on track! we're stuck on a  2 lane freeway for a thousand miles with truck after truck taking up the right lane...the rest of us fighting to maintain speed in the left.  Are there really  people out there that don't know to move to the right to let traffic pass??  The answer sadly is yes, either that or there are lots who don't give a damn about anyone but can you drive in your own little world and not notice twenty cars behind you?  Grrrr.....Same thing in the car pool lanes...if traffic is backing up behind you, speed up or move over...
Writing this now it seems a little petty but man I was fuming yesterday!  Just a little consideration for your fellow man folks....Geez now I'm starting to sound like a lefty....can't we all just get along?  How's that working out for ya?  And I'm serious about the maintenance thing.  Holy crap I drive on better roads when I go visit my sister in San's embarrassing, not to mention hard on the car and I'm in a Land Rover for heaven sake.  You can't tell me it's the fast drivers that cause's the ones that drive with only their selfish selves in mind..usually too scared to be there in the first dad used to call them "nervous nelly's"....their the ones causing the accidents.  Get off my bumpy highway!  Or at least pull over.
Sorry....thanks for letting me safe...see you on the

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Motorcycles on the Freeways

OK It's been awhile since the UT made a point of the responses to Cal Trans Highway Signs warning motorists to be aware of motorcycles.  As a rider I wanted to let it sink in and rattle around in the I'm ready...what's the problem here?  Apparently San Diegans were the only ones to complain about the message that was run statewide?  Really?  That much animosity toward motorcyclists here in Americas Finest?  My boss Cliff Albert on one of his "Cliffnotes" episodes on KOGO railed against the riders and the reckless way they weave in and out of traffic....I couldn't help it...I had to jump in and defend us against the generalization. Chip Franklin, morning pro on KOGO took calls and got an earful.  My friend and fellow rider, Clint August, afternoon jock on Rock105.3 posted on Facebook questioning  the negative San Diego response to the signs and got a pageful from his "friends"...Houston, we do have a problem here.
I will be the first to admit there are some wacked out riders out there, mostly young guys on crotch-rockets that need to be shown an accident scene....but in my world....just a little older....I've gotta tell you, it's the drivers in  cars or "cagers", that just don't get it.
I commute to work every day...put about 60 miles on the bike every single day, most of it on the freeway...and I don't think a day goes by without someone changing lanes into me... oblivious of my presence.  I'm not weaving, I'm not speeding...overly anyway....but apparently I am invisible.  Riders do get upset when this happens because we're not taking about a fender bender here....I could be fatal.  So what's wrong with asking motorists to look twice?
Another hot button issue seems to be lane splitting.  Done safely it is legal here in California.  So what's safe?  Who knows...up to the rider and the cops I guess...there is nothing written in back and white in the code.  For me it usually means riding under 30mph between cars going slower than that...usually stopped.  Again, there are guys who abuse the privilege and scare the crap out of you as they whizz by...but we're not all young and crazy...I wonder sometimes when a driver sees me coming and tries to squeeze me whether or not there's some jealousy involved.  Sorry man, buy a bike and you too can avoid the traffic jams.
So on behalf of my fellow riders...please don't throw us all in the same group as the wild young lads on their very fast bikes...I dare say the majority of riders, especially on bigger more expensive bikes, are more concerned about you and what your heavy metal might do next. So please give us a break San Diego and look twice before you change that lane....a grateful, friendly wave might follow and change your mind about us for good.
Be safe...see you on the

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Times to Commute?

What time do you hit the road?  It seems lately that San Diegans love to sleep late.  The rush rarely takes hold before 7:00am and by 8:30 ninety percent of us are off the road.

In the north county.... I-15 is always the first to get hit and it's usually around the 78 interchange.  The minor back-ups occur around 6:30 and by 7:00 it's typically very busy to Lake Hodges.  Beyond that there is no doubt freeway improvements have improved the commute from RB south.
I-5 on the north coast has become a strange bird.  Over the past year it's normally clear sailing until just after 7am.... by 7:30 you can count on traffic from La Costa Ave to Manchester Ave up to 9am or later.
Hwy 56 is a late starter.....good to about 7:30and then Carmel Valley stacks up until 9am.
Hwy 78 typically follows the pattern of the 15 but with Palomar and CSU  San Morcos in session, count on traffic after 8am on the transition from 15 to West 78.
Hwy 76 is still coming into its own....the one consistent hot spot is west of Bonsall at E. Vista Way...count on a back up there....early.....before 7:30.

East county...the first area to get hit is the 8 in El Cajon...Lake Jennings to E. Main and that's typicaly not until 7am.  In Mission Valley expect delays after 8am in Hotel Circle.
Hwy 52 has been upgraded and normally moves well with early (6:30-7:30) traffic in Santee at the 125.
Hwy 94 goes the way of the 805 from the south...busy morning on 805 from National City and the 94 will back up from Kelton Rd.  But again, it's late... well after 7am.
The 125 from Spring Valley to La Mesa has been a pain lately, after 7:30 especially.

The 805 is almost always busier in the south bay than the 5.  Early slowing near the 54 before 7 but very heavy past the 94 after 7am.
The 5 in National City almost always goes the way of the bridge, busy bridge busy 5...especially north of the 15 interchange and south of the bridge.
The Bridge, what can I say, Navy traffic...unpredictable and very early.  If its gonna stack up it will normally do so by 6am and clear by 7.

Mid county it the 805 that struggle most mornings especially north of Mission Valley and past the 52 into University in the Triangle?....get on it 7:30 you've got company all the way up to Mira Mesa.

All this of course barring any accidents, a crash in lanes for just a few minutes can change the game you don't know this already.

So the lesson here is to get at it early.  If you can be on the road before 7am chances are you will have a relatively easy ride to work....(famous last words).

For the afternoon commutes all bets are rhythm at all...(hey Steely Dan said that) leave work at different times, make a stop on the way home....throws the whole game off.  These days only one thing is for certain in the PM drive.....Hwy 78/San Marcos will be a mess.....but I've covered that already.  Be safe...see you on the

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Highway 78 needs help!

So now that the UT has published an article stating the obvious to those in the North County, that the 78 commute in San Marcos is the busiest in the kidding!....what can be done?  Every afternoon, right on time, unlike the Sprinter, the gridlock slows it down eastbound to the 15.  Hey wasn't the Sprinter and the millions spent supposed to alleviate this?  We don't like mass transit, we won't use mass transit, yet it's shoved down taxpayers wallets time and time again.  It wasn't that long ago that the 78 had a major face lift  between the 5 and 15...three lanes each way.  Alas, like many projects before it....too little too late.  Now what?  Well Caltrans has nothing official on the books but the City of San Marcos, according to the  UT, has been throwing money their way to make improvements near CSU San Marcos. 5 mill hear and 4 mill there, good luck with that! In the meantime those in the know continue to use S. Santa Fe and  Mission as alternates.  If only that guy on the radio would stop telling everyone else about those super secret safe...see you on the

Friday, January 29, 2010

East County Construction

What the heck is going on out there in Santee??  I hear that all the time from friends that live in the east county.  On highway 67 it  looks like their building 10 bridges to nowhere.  The bridges are in fact the end of the 52 that will stretch from the 5 all the way east.  Caltrans timeline has it completed by the end of this year (2010)..we'll see.  The project from the 125 to the 67 is called "Sunny Side Gateway", homage no doubt to our fabulous east county weather...don't think I'll be using that on the air.    What do you get for $255 million?  Two lanes each way...hmm....remember the last 52 project over the Mission Trails Summit?  It opened with 2 lanes over the hill and was a mess from day one.  Let's hope 4 lanes are enough. By the way, the extention of the 905 in Otay Mesa between the 805 and Otay Border will be 6 lanes... Caltrans claims time savings of 10 minutes on the commute...on this point I think their actually underselling it....even with 4 lanes, if you've spent any time on Mission Gorge Rd lately you know what I mean, time savings will be huge.
Want to read more here's a link to the PDF...

The other east county headache these days has been the 8 east of the 67....the left lane is being extended from 2nd to Greenfield, but only eastbound.  Project completion by late 2012.  No word on westbound help for your morning commute between Lake Jennings and E. Main.

It's on the drawing board at least....more lanes on 125 at Mt. Helix between 94 and 8...that will help the daily bottleneck but to me the most exciting part of this proposal....(yes exciting..sad isn't it)...the ramp from South 125 to East 94.  Too bad it's only proposed.  Here's the bottom line from Caltrans......

The total estimated cost of the project ranges from $226
million to $336 million. There is $60 million programmed for
the project as part of the State Transportation Congestion
Relief Program (TCRP). Due to the state’s budget situation,
most of these funds are not available.

Oh well, we've got the Sunny Side Gateway going for us.   See you on the