I would like to make a few follow-up comments on the Vasco Road article appearing in the Jan. 4, 2008 edition of the Press. I have been commuting on Vasco Road for the past 10 years, and I have a pretty good idea of what goes on and what improvements are needed on this infamous stretch of road.
Most of the proposals I hear from our elected officials to "fix" Vasco road are wasteful substitutes to what is really needed. The only way to make Vasco Road safe and keep rush-hour traffic moving at a reasonable pace is for a complete overhaul of the road. This road must be widened to a divided highway, with safety barriers, with at least two lanes in both directions, for the entire section from Marsh Creek to Livermore.
The idea of putting a median barrier and removing the passing lanes for the hilly portion takes the cake for misusing valuable road construction money. During commute hours I routinely encounter no fewer than three big-rigs that go so slow up these hills that you can literally count the lug nuts on their wheels. Try to imagine 500 cars behind one of these trucks going 5 mph for a mile or more up one of these hills. You can bet the truck drivers will not pull over to let the traffic go ahead. This is a recipe for accidents.
Most of the accidents on Vasco Road are not caused by speed per se, but by reckless passing, where passing cars are playing chicken with oncoming traffic. Usually reckless passing is coupled with excessive speed, making the resulting head-on collisions that much more violent.
The "pixisticks" they put down in the median strip are a reasonably effective, but not perfect, deterrent, for now, to reckless passing until Vasco is made into a dual lane highway. Also, with the rapid increase in housing developments in East County, it is projected that the number of drivers on this road will increase by 500% over the next 20 years, necessitating the eventual widening of Vasco.
Vasco Road will have to be widened. Let's bite the bullet and do it now. It will ultimately be more expensive if we wait 10 to 15 years to complete the widening project. We should use the money we plan to waste on the median barrier for the road in its current configuration and put this toward making Vasco Road a divided highway with two lanes in each direction.