What’s the problem with the 5th Street exit? It’s simple: really bad signage. You’re driving west, just getting off the bridge, and you know that you should be in the middle lane to stay on 80W. (You know this because you either white-knuckled it your first time across, shooting down the middle lane and praying that you’d magically stay on the freeway instead of being dumped in the middle of downtown, or you had the presence of mind to check out the detours online first.) But wait! Suddenly you see two signs. One sign indicates the left exit for 5th Street. The other--which is of that sign--indicates that 80W and 101 to San Jose are the right lanes. And both of these signs are placed just past the beginning of the 5th Street offramp! So, you may think you have to take that left exit but stay in the right lanes to continue on 80W. Sounds unlikely, but time after time we’ve had to slam on our brakes as cars swerved from the right lanes to the left ones, or from the left ones to the right, once they figured out their mistake.

Aerial photo of 80W just past the Bay Bridge, from Caltrans.

to the left