California Dolphin: statewide California news

Roadshow: Why toll booths charge for going westbound, but not eastbound

Q: Last Friday, the question was asked about how the toll vs. free direction on Bay Area bridges was determined. You wrote about the year the switch was made to one-direction tolls westbound only, but no explanation of how they chose which directions on each bridge.
Allen Palmer, Scott J. and others
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A: Here you go. On the Bay Bridge, there was room for a very wide toll plaza only on the east end, meaning tolls would be charged only in the westbound direction for those heading into San Francisco. To be consistent, the decision was made that tolls on the Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges should also be collected westbound only.
Q: A joke goes that San Francisco is the only city in the world with a “cover charge” — you pay to drive in, but it’s free to leave.
Bay Area driver
A: That cover charge could jump if a $3 toll increase is approved by Bay Area voters next year. Tolls on six of the state-owned bridges are now $5. Tolls on the Bay Bridge vary from $4 to $6 depending on time of day.

Like Mr. Roadshow’s Facebook page for more questions and answers about Bay Area roads, freeways and commuting.
Q: I’ve spotted some big cranes near Highway 152 over the Pacheco Pass. Could they be for widening 152?
Fred Estrada
A: No. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is performing geotechnical work along 152. Drilling crews are taking soil and rock samples from several locations near the highway to determine the exact conditions of the ground, hundreds of feet below the surface, where roughly 13 miles of future high-speed rail tunnels are proposed.
Q: Why does summer traffic seem not even a bit lighter this year?
A: Traffic counts take a few weeks to gauge. Anyone else agree with Mr. Grumble?
Q: There are a number of tire-destroying potholes on Interstate 880 in Fremont near the truck scales. Is there any plan to repair them or should I plan to continue replacing tires and doing alignments? … There are two major dips near the Dumbarton Bridge toll plaza. Any fix coming?
Gribble (Grumpy’s brother?) and others
A: Fixes are coming. Next time go to and submit a maintenance request.
Q: Is there any explanation as to why it takes two Valley Transportation Authority employees to power-wash the light-rail stations? One to actually do the work, and the other to hold the hose.
Doug Claar
San Jose
A: It’s VTA policy to have a second person serve as the lookout for job site and pedestrian safety while the other does the washing.
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