Roadshow: Slow to 65 mph on Interstate 280 and Save a Butterfly

Q Mr. Roadshow, this may seem off subject, but please bear with me for a moment!

Kate Connors

Friends of Edgewood

A Little is off subject for Roadshow, from columns rooting for Steve Wozniak on “Dancing with the Stars” to my wife’s fabulous shrimp rigatoni recipe to my not-universally-popular license plate puzzles.

Q I wanted to let you know about research done into the local extinction of the bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis) at Edgewood County Park and Preserve near Redwood City.

Kate Connors

A Huh, butterflies and traffic?

Q Biologist Stuart Weiss of the Creekside Cen- ter for Earth Observation calls it a “drive-by extinction” caused in large part by nitrogen emissions from cars passing to the west of the butterfly’s habitat along Interstate 280.

The prevailing winds blow nitrogen compounds onto the native grasslands, essentially fertilizing them and allowing the encroachment of non-native grasses, which choke out the native plants essential to the butterfly’s survival.

The amount of nitrogen emitted from vehicles increases significantly as speed increases. So by not exceeding the speed limit, we’re not only saving fuel, but maybe helping save butterflies as well. Efforts are under way to restore habitat and reintroduce this native butterfly to its historic home, but if you get a chance please encourage readers to slow down as they pass Edgewood!

Kate Connors

A Stick to 65 mph and save the Euphydryas editha bayensis butterfly!

Q Gary, you would not believe how much candy I have from my neighborhood, a few school candy drives and from readers of your column and the Mercury News for Operation Care and Comfort — about 300 pounds!

Jill Johnson

Sunnyvale

A Readers brought several dozen bags of candy to my desk the past few days after I jokingly mentioned in a column about how much I liked peanut butter cups, and Jill responded by saying she would send any candy I got to our troops overseas. She picked them up on Sunday — minus one teeny peanut butter cup. Thanks everyone.

Q Here’s my road pain: The metering lights at the south Highway 17 ramp to north 85. The lights are red for 10 to 11 seconds, then green for two or three seconds, which means each lane releases about four cars per minute!

Aaauugh!

Susan McLean

Milpitas

A I simply cannot believe someone doesn’t like metering lights.

Q Every weekday morning, the backup is horrific and seems to reach its peak around 8:30 or so. Example: I joined the backup at 8:16 a.m. recently and didn’t get through the light until 8:31, which means there were about 60 cars ahead of me and who knows how many joining the party every second behind me.

The strange part is that traffic on north 85 isn’t bad. Wait a minute — 85′s traffic looks better because so many of us are stuck waiting for the lights, right? That means it’s never going to change! Just kill me now and get it over with! Don’t tell the traffic czars. They’ll slow down every metering light in the state.

I and many others would be ever so grateful for any help you can provide. Saint Gary, hear our prayer!

Susan McLean

A Prayers won’t help. Caltrans will look into this but 85 frees up in this area because metering lights slow the flow onto the freeway to cope with the lane drop before Saratoga Avenue. Try going at an earlier time, when the wait might not be as bad, stay on 17 and exit at Highway 9 in Los Gatos for your drive toward Saratoga, or get off 17 at Hamilton Avenue.

Time those trips and report back as to whether they are faster.

Q A chorus of boos to the crew that installed a patch on Big Basin Way in Saratoga, about a quarter mile west of Tollgate. The new asphalt is more than an inch above grade and has its own pothole.

Any chance of rectifying the problem? The only attempt to mitigate the patch is a ROUGH PAVEMENT sign. DUH?

Jack Moore

Saratoga

A Repairs are planned Thursday for a slide that has caused the pavement to buckle.

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