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Old 04-27-2009, 12:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Taking the carpool lane?

Has anyone seen that Disney ad for their new movie where the little kids plan to force their parents to take the carpool lane to conserve something or other?

Is there any reason the carpool lane might be better than any other lane? It's not as if the lane is any slower, or...better?

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Around Boston, it's an expensive joke. North on I-93, it's either underutilized during rush hour or backed up just like the other lanes. The single carpool lane also consumes 2 lanes worth of width due to the barriers separating it from the other lanes. And if you do take the carpool lane when it could theoretically save some time, there's invariably some tool driving 20 below the limit, seemingly afraid of what they perceive as a narrow lane width (which it may or may not be) due to the barriers/islands to each side of the lane (the raised asphalt islands on the right of the lane are broken up every 6 feet or so by a ditch to make it difficult for anyone to drive over the island). I've seen these meat bags actually maneuver back and forth in the lane like NASCAR guys warming up their tires depending on whether they're passing the raised part of the island or the ditch.

South on I-93, they have a rig that moves a flexible concrete barrier that transfers the carpool lane to either the south-bound or north-bound side depending on the time of day. Get stuck behind a collision or a breakdown in that lane and forget about any time savings. Then there's the cost of all that equipment. Granted the mobile state tax collectors can nail people with a ticket once in a while for driving in the carpool lane without any passengers, but there's no way it makes up for the system cost.

Everything else is tolls, the overhead of which eats over $.40/toll paid (doesn't help that the outdoor cashiers make $60-70k/yr.). That, of course, doesn't take into account the cost of the bottlenecks and wasted gas of people forced to use such an idiotic, archaic system or jamming up residential streets trying to avoid it.

But this state is run by the hopelessly stupid and corrupt, so I don't know if other places are the same. Politicians are politicians, so I suspect they are, but few places have as much traffic as here.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SVOboy View Post
Is there any reason the carpool lane might be better than any other lane? It's not as if the lane is any slower, or...better?
In Atlanta, the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes either hurt you or help in terms of access. They're all the furthest-left lane, meaning you have to cross multiple lanes to get to them and get out of them, and you are restricted from entering/exiting them in many sections (by a white stripe, not a physical barrier). One infrequent benefit is being able to enter/exit more conveniently if an HOV ramp is positioned in the center of the highway, but that can lead to dangerous situations.

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Old 05-05-2009, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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SVOboy -

Even when I qualify, I mostly avoid them in LA. Like Shawn says, the solid line just doesn't work. In LA there has been talk of removing the solid line so that people could enter/exit at their will. I also think they were thinking of enforcing them based on the time of day.

Even if I had a hybrid and the magic sticker, I don't think I would use them.


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Old 05-05-2009, 01:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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While driving near Sacramento, I use the carpool lane whenever possible (usually when going to the airport). Since it is not used as much, there is a lot less stop and go and slowing in the lane. The lane is not separated out by a physical barrior it also doesn't have a solid line so you can join it or leave it at any time. Really my only worry is that someone will pull in front of me going much slower. The lane is only a carpool lane in the morning and late afternoon. The rest of the time it can be used by everyone.

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