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  • Driving Tips
  • The California Highway Patrol points out that most roads in Napa County are two-lane and require extra caution. Common accidents include head–on collisions, and running off the road over the embankment or into a tree. Drivers need to be aware of bicyclists, particularly on the winding country roads that bikers love. If you’re pulling a trailer, be especially aware of how much clearance you have when you pass a bicyclist.
  • Although we recognize the competition is tough, we believe the city of Napa has some of the worst drivers in California, maybe even in the country. (Note: If you’re from Boston, you win.) So some helpful hints.
  • When the red light turns green, it does not mean you can safely enter the intersection. It means you can legally enter the intersection. Look both ways to make sure that no vehicles are continuing to drive through.
  • If you are a pedestrian, work on the assumption that no driver will even look for you, let alone see you. Actually stopping for you is out of the question. Crosswalks and green lights mean nothing. It isn’t that drivers are out to get you. It’s just that they’re not interested in your existence. Cross a street only when you are sure it is totally safe. First Street in downtown Napa is one-way. This does not mean you need look in only one direction before crossing the street. It is not unknown that a car travels in the wrong direction. (In all fairness, this is almost always a tourist. This is one thing locals seldom do.)
  • In California, unless otherwise indicated, it is legal to make a right turn on a red light after stopping and checking that it is safe to make the turn. In Napa, the stopping and checking parts are usually ignored. The custom is to just turn; slowing down only enough to keep the car from tipping over.
  • Cars at an intersection, unless there is a left turn signal, must yield to oncoming traffic before making a left turn. The decorative broken glass and plastic at many intersections should give you an idea of how closely this quaint law is followed.
  • In summary, assume that at every intersection, no matter what color the light, vehicles are likely to turn left right in front of you or to attack you from either or both sides. Assume the worst and you should survive to happily enjoy your visit.
  • Two–lane highways lead into Napa County from both the east (Highway 12) and west (Highway 12/121). Both can be dangerous. Highway 12 from the east travels from Highway 80 through Jameson Canyon to Highway 29. Most of the stretch through the canyon is two–lane. Do not try to pass on the two–lane section, and watch out for cars coming toward you that try to pass. Many accidents on this highway are head–on and fatal.
  • Highway 12/121 is the “Carneros Highway,” and it is two–lane all the way from Highway 37 in Marin County to Highway 29 in Napa County. The last stretch, from the turnoff for the town of Sonoma over the hills to Napa, deserves particular caution. Avoid passing, and be particularly cautious when you come over the hill at the Napa/Sonoma County line. There is a passing lane for cars going uphill, which is occasionally used by cars going the other way downhill. Again, many accidents on this highway are head–on and frequently fatal.
  • Once you’ve survived the drive to the Napa Valley, you’ll find the country driving pleasant. Stay sober, take your time, and you should enjoy driving along Highway 29. Just be careful turning off, and onto, Highway 29, particularly when it involves a left turn.
  • The main caution is driving along the Silverado Trail, which runs along the east side of the valley. Locals use this road to avoid tourist traffic and get somewhere in a hurry. As a result, the average speed on this road is considerably higher than that on Highway 29. This leads to accidents on the Trail that are more often fatal than those on Highway 29. Use caution, take your time, don’t bother passing, and watch out for passing cars coming towards you. If you decide you want to drive the Trail at sightseeing speed, please pull over occasionally to let the line of cars (there will be one) behind you go by.
  • Traffic Information
  • For online traffic information for the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including the North Bay and Napa Valley, we recommend:
  • www.sfgate.com/traffic
  • Caltrans
  • Caltrans, the State of California’s Department of Transportation, has up–to–the–minute online information on state highways. Here’s information on Highway 29, which runs north–south through the Napa Valley.
  • www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr29
  • For toll-free information on significant delays on California State Highways, call 1.800.427.ROAD (7623).
  • Caltrans District 4
  • www.dot.ca.gov/dist4
  • Information on District 4, which covers the entire Bay Area including Napa County.
  • 511
  • www.511.org
  • Toll–free hotline from all area codes in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides complete Bay Area public and private transportation information, including up–to–the–minute traffic information on 37 freeways, eight bridges and all major roads. Includes information on public transit, paratransit, carpools, vanpools, parking and biking. Just dial 511 from your cell phone or land phone.
  • Napa County Transportation Planning Agency
  • 707.259.8631
  • www.nctpa.net
  • The NCTPA web site provides information on transit and paratransit throughout Napa County. This includes these services:
    • VINE (County-wide bus system)
    • Downtown Napa Transit Center
    • 1151 Pearl Street
    • Napa CA 94558
    • 707.255.7631 800.696.6443 TDD 707.226.9722
    • VINE Go (Paratransit)
    • Napa 707.252.2600
    • Upvalley 707.963.4222
    • American Canyon 707.556.8221
    • American Canyon Transit
    • 707.648.7275
    • Calistoga HandyVan
    • 707.963.4229
    • St. Helena VINE Shuttle
    • 707.963.3007
    • Yountville Shuttle
    • 707.944.1234
    • TaxiScrip Program
    • 707.255.7631
  • Automobile Rental
  • If you didn’t arrive by car, you can rent one in Napa.
  • Budget
  • 407 Soscol Ave
  • Napa CA 94559
  • 800.527.7000
  • Enterprise
  • 230 Soscol Ave
  • Napa CA 94559
  • 707.253.8000
  • Hertz
  • 686 Soscol Ave,
  • Napa CA 94559
  • 707.265.7575
  • Autorickshaw
  • Travel within and between Napa and Yountville.
  • NV Hoppers
  • Napa
  • 707.224.4677
  • www.nvhoppers.com
  • Tour / Limousine Services
  • If you don’t want to drive, you can take a tour bus or rent a limousine.
  • Antique Tours Limousine Service
  • 707.226.9227
  • www.antiquetours.net
  • Fully restored 1947 convertible Packard limousines.
  • California Wine Tours
  • 800.294.6386
  • www.californiawinetours.com
  • Five-hour Napa Valley tour and tasting $49/person.
  • Classic Limousine
  • 572 Lincoln Avenue
  • Napa CA 94558
  • 707.253.0999 800.259.8401
  • www.classiclimousine.50megs.com
  • Limos include a 1949 Packard and a 1969 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce.
  • Esperya
  • 101 Old Vine Way
  • Napa CA 94558
  • 707.255.7517
  • www.winecountryesperya.com
  • Personal and corporate tours, including winery visits, barrel tastings, restaurants, picnics and cave dinners.
  • Group Outings
  • 4225 Solano Avenue #575
  • Napa CA 94558
  • Fax 707.226.8652
  • www.groupoutings.com
  • Limos include a town car and 120" stretch limousine. A special tour offers barrel tastings and discounts at top wineries.
  • Napa Valley Off-Road Tours
  • 3266 Silverado Trail
  • Napa CA 94558
  • 707.257.6680
  • $150 per person
  • Wine tasting, vineyard tours, lunch, off-road excursions, private visits to wineries, all in a comfortable Pinzgauer all-terrain vehicle that seats 10 visitors.
  • Royal Coach Limousine Service
  • 1850 Imola Avenue
  • Napa CA 94558
  • 800.995.7692
  • www.royalcoachlimousine.com
  • Napa Valley’s oldest service–since 1985.
  • Taxis
  • Taxi service is available throughout the valley, but only by telephone. It’s very unlikely you’ll be able to wave one down on the street. These services offer vehicles that are much more luxurious than the average.
  • Black Tie Taxi
  • 707.259.1000 888.544.8294
  • www.blacktietaxi.com
  • Valley Valet
  • 707.942.9009
  • www.valley-valet.com
  • Primarily in Calistoga and upvalley, but also for Napa, airports and wine tours.
  • Winery Shuttle
  • Napa Winery Shuttle
  • 707.257.1950
  • www.wineshuttle.com
  • The shuttle is a great service if you›d like to spend the day touring and tasting and have someone else do the driving. The shuttle, which leaves from most Napa Valley hotels, travels on a fixed route, stopping at seven well–known wineries. You can get off and on when and where you wish. Because they stop at each location every 30–40 minutes, you can do a tasting, then conveniently catch the next shuttle to the next winery.
  • If you get hungry, the shuttle also stops at two upvalley restaurants for lunch. Price, which does not include winery tasting fees or food purchases, is $38 per person, which includes unlimited stops per day. Plus they’ll pick up your wine at the winery and deliver it to your hotel.
  • Train
  • Another “getting around” alternative is the Wine Train.
  • Napa Valley Wine Train
  • 1275 McKinstry
  • Napa CA 94559
  • 707.253.2111. 800.427.4124 Fax: 707.253.9264
  • www.winetrain.com
  • For full information see the Wine Train listing in our Napa section.
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  • Content Courtesy of Napanow.