Back-Seat Driver

We answer your questions about airport food, mystery potholes & Watt congestion

You have transportation questions. We have answers.

Q: Reader Jim Faulkner says Sacramento International Airport’s $5 million food court remake upstairs in Terminal A “sounds nice and dandy,” but where’s the love for greeters in the waiting area below? Other than a lonely Starbucks, “there’s no place to sit and relax, have a beverage or meal.”

A: It’s about the $. There once was a Cinnabon and a Sbarro downstairs, but they pulled out because profits weren’t high enough, airport officials say. The airport has tried to entice new eateries, but hasn’t found takers. For what it’s worth, Starbucks will expand this summer, and the airport plans a nicer seating area. Terminal B is the better bet for food and drink this side of the security checkpoint.

Q: Janet Crimmins travels northbound on Watt Avenue over Highway 50, where the county just finished a major new interchange. Cars turning north from the westbound 50 offramp have pulled out right in front of her several times recently, even though she has the green. “There is going to be an accident,” she said. “They should put up a sign saying no turn on red.”

A: County traffic officials say, sorry, they designed that ramp with right-on-red turns in mind so vehicles won’t back up onto the freeway. State law allows cars in both right-turn lanes to go on red. There are rules, though: They have to stop first, and swing out to the appropriate lane, and not cut right in front of cars that have the green. Unfortunately, Watt is jammed, making some drivers discourteous.

Q: Mervin O’Neil was driving over the H Street Bridge last month when, bam, he hit a big pothole in a work zone. The pothole, which wasn’t there hours before, shredded his tire. Is there a way to be compensated?

A: Yes. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract crews were jet grouting the levee for flood protection and accidentally caused part of the road to cave in. They fixed it, but not before a handful of cars suffered tire damage. If yours was one, call the Corps’ local office. They will tell you how to apply for compensation. The levee project will continue through September, with some lane closures, but hopefully no more potholes.

Q: Ryan Koledin called to ask: If the city goes forward with a plan to narrow Broadway to one lane in each direction, and if it builds a bridge from Broadway to West Sacramento, isn’t that a traffic jam in the making?

A: We’ll find out this summer when the city reveals its proposed Broadway redesign between I-5 and Highway 99. The goal, they say, is to slow traffic and make the street more pedestrian- and business-friendly. Some are suggesting guiding more through traffic to W and X streets, which have more capacity.

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