If you're among the many who struggle in your supermarket parking lot to wedge your car into the sardine-style slots, there's good news.
Sacramento city officials say they have decided their regulations for the width of "compact car" parking spots are about 6 inches too narrow, and their regular-size parking spots could use some widening, too.
Officials are drawing up revised standards for new lots. That includes shortened parking space lengths. The Planning Commission is holding hearings. New rules on minimum sizes likely will be implemented this fall.
Reader Keith Sharward says it's about time. His last car, a little Mazda RX-8, ended its days as scratched and banged up as a roller derby jammer. His new car is a midsize sedan. Sometimes he has to pull out of the space before his passenger can get the door open to get in.
Then there are the bigger vehicles that can't fit into one slot, so they take up two, defeating the purpose.
The topic is tricky, though. The city requires businesses to provide a certain amount of spaces even in tight urban areas. They say those rules also are being revisited.
Airport flags not flying
A reader noticed something missing at Sacramento International Airport. There used to be a row of shiny metal wind vanes on poles along the automated people mover elevated guideway. As the people mover's cars swooped by, the flaglike vanes would spin jauntily in their wake.
What happened? Public art official Shelly Willis tells us they discovered one of the flags was coming loose this spring, just before a predicted high-wind storm.
Officials decided it's best not to have shards of sharp metal flying across the tarmac. Officials took the flags down and are having the artist design new pins to hold them more securely.
Distracted driving is up
Bad news. Despite tougher enforcement and more education about the dangers, younger drivers increasingly are talking on cellphones and texting while driving.
The state Office of Traffic Safety reports its second annual study of cellphone use shows 11 percent of drivers are talking on cells or texting at any given moment during daylight hours. That's up from 7 percent last year.
Worse, 16- to 25-year-olds showed a bigger increase, jumping from 9 percent to 18 percent this year.
The survey was conducted by researchers standing at 130 intersections statewide.
The results are disturbing but not entirely unforeseen, OTS head Chris Murphy said.
Notably, a San Diego study of younger drivers indicates nearly half of them feel they can drive and chat just fine. But those same drivers estimated that nine out of 10 other drivers aren't capable.