Back-Seat Driver

Back-seat Driver: Are freeway speeds ‘photo enforced?’

Tony Bizjak
Tony Bizjak

Reader Juan Perez saw a sign on Highway 99 near Stockton that says “photo enforced,” and it prompted him to ask: Does that mean the state has cameras on the freeway to catch speeders?

No, CHP spokesman Mike Harris says, “we do not utilize any photo enforcement for speed in California.”

That sign belongs to the city of Stockton. City police put signs on the freeways to make good on the legal requirement to inform drivers that there are red-light cameras at some intersections in the city. The law says motorists must be warned about red-light cameras, either at city limits, or a certain distance ahead of intersections with cameras.

Stockton police Officer Joe Silva says the city offers a double warning. It also has signs on city streets leading to cameras. Aren’t the freeway signs possibly confusing?” we asked. Silva didn’t bite. “We’re just advising motorists that when they are coming in, we do have red-light cameras,” he said.

Here in Sacramento County – where the Sheriff’s Department oversees the red-light camera program on city and county streets – the warning signs are on surface streets, leading to each intersection, not on the freeways. It eliminates uncertainty, Lt. Rich Kropp said.

Cops in cars

Several readers have asked, what’s with all the police officers sitting in parked cars at Sacramento intersections lately? The answer: Fix50. Caltrans supplied extra funds for the city to monitor key intersections and areas around offramps in potentially troublesome areas – like the tricky light-rail crossing on Stockton Boulevard just north of the westbound offramp. That exit has become very popular during Fix50.

Sacramento police spokesman Doug Morse said there haven’t been any serious problems on local streets. But officers will remain stationed and on the lookout for the next week or so, until Fix50 is finally over.

Carpools on 50

With all the Fix50 backups on Highway 50 lately, reader Doug Konovaloff asks: When, if ever, will Caltrans extend the carpool lane into downtown?

Local Caltrans chief Jody Jones says the state is already starting prep work on lengthening the lane from where it now stops at Watt Avenue on in to the Highway 99 interchange. “We expect to have a draft environmental document ready for circulation next fall,” she said. “The project will be ready to go to construction in the spring of 2017 if construction funds are available.”

Pet peeve No. 326

Occasionally, we talk pet peeves. Here’s one from reader Bill Draper: Proper distance between cars stopped at a light.

“Have you ever been prevented from entering a left- turn lane because one or more cars in front of you have left a huge gap between their car and the car in front of them?”

Draper calls it a courtesy issue.