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Thread: HOV Lanes

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    HOV Lanes

    August 31, 2006

    September 7

    DART previews managed HOV lane project at open house

    Get a sneak peek at a new kind of facility for the Metroplex – the region's first "managed high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane." This is a new concept in the transportation world: Single-occupant vehicles will be allowed to use the HOV lane if the driver is willing to pay for access. The lane will extend along I-30 (Tom Landry Freeway) between Dallas and Fort Worth, and an open house will preview the project on Thursday, September 7.

    Construction will be under way this fall, and the first phase – from Sylvan Avenue to Ballpark Way in Arlington – is scheduled to open next summer. Eventually, the HOV lane will be a fully "managed" facility and will extend from Sylvan Avenue in West Dallas to Oakland Boulevard in Fort Worth.

    As with all HOV facilities, the managed HOV lane project will be a joint effort between DART and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). At the open house, representatives from DART, TxDOT and the North Texas Tollway Authority will be on hand to present information and answer questions. Make plans to attend and get all the details:

    When: Thursday, September 7, 2006
    6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Golden Corral Restaurant (Meeting Room)
    1540 N. Cockrell Hill Road (Pinnacle Park)
    Dallas, Texas (Mapsco 42-V)

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    WIll DART get any revenue from this?

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    Tolls could open HOV lanes to solo drivers
    Dallas, Houston exploring options for pay as you go

    10:42 PM CDT on Friday, July 27, 2007
    By MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER / The Dallas Morning News
    mlindenberger@dallasnews.com
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...s.3348637.html

    SUGAR LAND, Texas – Psychologist Anthony Rogers regularly finds himself working in Houston – driving solo and stuck in traffic.

    Car-poolers and buses zip by in the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, only furthering his stop-and-go frustration.

    "I look over at the HOV lanes and think, 'There's plenty of room over there. I'd be willing to pay to use that lane,' " Mr. Rogers, a San Antonio resident, said as he finished a cup of Starbucks in this booming suburb south of Houston.

    He may soon be able to do just that. And by next year, some Dallas drivers will, too.

    On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission gave a hearty amen to Houston-area transit officials' plan to convert five of their six HOV lanes to tolled lanes.

    If the plan is approved – and it could be presented to the commission as soon as next month – solo drivers in Harris County, like Mr. Rogers, will be able to pay for an easier commute.

    Dallas catching up

    HOV lanes are less common in Dallas than in Houston, where their use has steadily expanded for nearly 20 years. But the Dallas area is catching up fast. New HOV lanes will open on Interstate 30 from the Dallas-Tarrant county line to Loop 12 at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Other HOV lanes are set to open this fall along Central Expressway, and an existing lane on the LBJ Freeway will be extended by September, Dallas Area Rapid Transit officials said.

    Plans to make Dallas-area HOV lanes paid lanes are in the works. By next year, HOV lanes along I-30 between Arlington and Dallas will become the region's first such paid lanes, TxDOT spokesman Mark Ball said.

    Houston plan praised

    But Houston's more sweeping proposal to convert all but one of its lanes to pay-as-you-go won enthusiastic response from the Texas Transportation Commission at its meeting in Sugar Land on Thursday.

    "This is very visionary, and I think the rest of the state will be watching," said Commissioner Hope Andrade of San Antonio. Other commissioners had similar reactions.

    The commission sets highway policy in Texas and governs the Texas Department of Transportation.

    The conversion in Houston could cost $50 million and take a year or more, and officials from METRO, the Harris County counterpart to DART, haven't formally decided to make the switch. But plans to do so are far along.

    Strong endorsement

    Carlos Lopez, traffic operations director for TxDOT, told the commissioners Thursday that a formal request could appear on their agenda as early as August.

    "It's almost a no-brainer," Mr. Lopez said after the meeting. HOV lanes have extra capacity, he said, so they should be monetized to let solo drivers pay to use them. Drivers in the regular lanes will benefit, he said, because the paying drivers will be gone.

    Dallas-area officials haven't indicated what they'll charge drivers on the new HOV lanes along I-30 when they become paid lanes next year. Lone drivers will likely pay twice as much as two-person car-poolers, and vehicles with three or more passengers will be free, DART officials have said in the past.

    It won't be cheap

    Solo drivers in Houston will pay a steep price to ride on the HOV lanes.

    Mr. Lopez said they'll likely pay as much as $4.50 each way during peak hours. During less busy times, it may be as low as $1.25, he said.

    Mr. Lopez cautioned, however, that rates will depend on how popular the lanes are with solo drivers. The top rate will have to be high enough, he said, to prevent too many solo drivers from crowding the lanes.

    TxDOT officials said peak pricing in Orange County, a suburban area near Los Angeles, runs as high as $9 each way.

    The market rules

    Commissioner Ned Holmes said Houston's use of so-called "congestion pricing" to regulate traffic is one of the best aspects of the plan. He said the strategy is a way to use market forces to help regulate traffic.

    Not everyone is singing hallelujahs over what critics describe as "Lexus Lanes" for the wealthy, however.

    The new lanes, often called High Occupancy Toll, or HOT, lanes, are in use or in the works in a handful of other communities across America, including Northern Virginia.

    Arlington County, Va.'s, Chris Hamilton said he's not sold on them. HOV lanes there have worked, and he's worried that allowing solo drivers to use them for a fee will ruin them.

    "I am not convinced there is excess capacities in the HOV lanes," said Mr. Hamilton, a frequent blogger about commuting who also works for the county encouraging commuters to car-pool and use transit.

    "One person's excess capacity is another person's congestion.

    "We're concerned that the new lanes will just lead to more congestion for the folks who are already van-pooling and using transit.

    "We don't want those people to get mired into heavy traffic once these hot lanes start."

    Officials from Harris County and TxDOT said they'll give the HOT lane idea a lot more study before approving it anywhere in Texas.

  4. #4
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    From DART:
    DART NEWS RELEASE
    July 30, 2007
    First Section of I-30 West Managed HOV Lane Opens July 31
    DART Kicks Off 50-mile HOV Lane System Expansion
    http://www.dart.org/news/newsrss.asp?ID=761

    Beginning Tuesday, July 31, ride-sharing commuters can travel quicker on the first six miles of a new High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane that eventually will stretch between Dallas and Fort Worth on Tom Landry Freeway (I-30).

    Initially, DART's newest HOV facility will open between the Dallas/Tarrant County Line and Loop 12. The lanes will be open to vehicles with two or more occupants, buses, motorcycles and other eligible vehicles, Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    The I-30 West opening signals the start of a 50-mile expansion of DART's existing 31-mile HOV lane network. New lanes are set to open throughout this fall on Central Expressway (U.S. 75), LBJ Freeway (I-635) and East R.L. Thornton (I-30).



    Koorosh Olyai, DART's assistant vice president of Mobility Programs Development, said the new lanes will go a long way to help the region meet EPA air quality standards. "The clock is ticking. We must comply with federal air quality improvement requirements soon or risk very real sanctions such as withdrawal of federal funds for transportation projects," Olyai said.

    In 2008, the I-30 lanes will become the region's first managed HOV facility, allowing access to single-occupant vehicles for a fee. Additional phases of this project will include facility improvements, such as widening of bridges and improved access to better serve the commuters. Eventually, the lanes will operate 20 hours a day and extend from I-820 in Fort Worth all the way to downtown Dallas.

    More New HOV Lanes coming this fall.

    I-30, from Jim Miller Road to East of I-635 (LBJ Freeway). Thanks to this six-mile extension, I-30 will soon feature HOV lanes all the way from downtown Dallas, past LBJ Freeway, to Northwest Drive in Mesquite. Two more Barrier Transfer Vehicles (BTVs) or "zipper machines" -- like the ones used on the current I-30 HOV lane -- have been purchased to help with the expanded operation.

    U.S. 75 (Central Expressway), from I-635 (LBJ Freeway) to Exchange Parkway in Allen. The HOV lane will extend 14 miles northward and features a direct "connector" between the HOV lane on LBJ Freeway and the new Central Expessway HOV lanes, enabling motorists to transfer easily from one to the other. The top level of the "High Five" interchange is dedicated to HOV lane usage only.

    I-635 (LBJ Freeway), from U.S. 75 (Central Expressway) to I-30. Opening in the fall, this 14-mile extension will roughly double the length of HOV lanes in the LBJ corridor, one of the nation's busiest freeways.

    Call 214-979-1111 for more information on using the new lanes or visit www.DART.org/HOV.
    Note that the segment opening tomorrow is operated by DART, but is almost entirely within the city limits of non-DART cities Grand Prairie and Arlington. The DART maps I've seen always draw these segments in a different color, noting that they'd be managed by TxDOT. Looks like there's been some sort of interlocal agreement, in which TxDOT contract$ the operation of the lanes out to DART. But I haven't seen anything to tell where the cash from the 2008 fee-based lanes (codenamed "managed HOV facility") will go.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertB
    U.S. 75 (Central Expressway), from I-635 (LBJ Freeway) to Exchange Parkway in Allen. The HOV lane will extend 14 miles northward and features a direct "connector" between the HOV lane on LBJ Freeway and the new Central Expessway HOV lanes, enabling motorists to transfer easily from one to the other. The top level of the "High Five" interchange is dedicated to HOV lane usage only.
    I saw that one coming.

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    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanLandscape
    I saw that one coming.
    My question is what took so long. Or rather, how did TxDOT justify adding another flyover ramp -- the highest and most death-defying lunge over the intersection -- when it wasn't even going to be open for several years? Sure, it makes sense from a planning-for-the-future point of view... I'm just irritated, I guess, that the most DART can do to plan for the future is to add room for a future rail junction. For the money spent on that unused flyover, DART could have tunnelled at least a *few* yards towards Love Field.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

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    I find it amazing how poorly this information is distributed. It wasn't long ago that the story was the HOV lanes on 635 would be open in July. It was obvious in June when they started closing down the previously working lanes that they were never going to make it. <end rant>

    Question: How come it doesn't say in the article when I30 from downtown to Jim Miller will be done? Will that be in 2008 when the HOT starts up?

    Jason

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    Formerly Trolleygirl2 CityLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertB
    Koorosh Olyai, DART's assistant vice president of Mobility Programs Development, said the new lanes will go a long way to help the region meet EPA air quality standards. "The clock is ticking. We must comply with federal air quality improvement requirements soon or risk very real sanctions such as withdrawal of federal funds for transportation projects," Olyai said.
    Doesn't allowing single-occupancy vehicles to use HOV lanes (even for a price) kind of negate the environmental benefits these lanes are supposed to encourage?

    I don't think paying folks driving alone in their SUVs are going to help meet the EPA (ee-paa, ee-paa!, for those of you who have seen the Simpsons movie) standards.
    I tell everyone...I smile just because...I've got a city love...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trolleygirl2
    Doesn't allowing single-occupancy vehicles to use HOV lanes (even for a price) kind of negate the environmental benefits these lanes are supposed to encourage?

    I don't think paying folks driving alone in their SUVs are going to help meet the EPA (ee-paa, ee-paa!, for those of you who have seen the Simpsons movie) standards.
    Sure it will help, by reducing congestion. HOV lanes are one of those feel-good things like ESLs that don't really do any good. The quantity of folks who carpool due to HOV lanes that wouldn't otherwise is minuscule. Making more pavement available will reduce emissions faster than anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trolleygirl2
    Doesn't allowing single-occupancy vehicles to use HOV lanes (even for a price) kind of negate the environmental benefits these lanes are supposed to encourage?
    No! You raise the price until it doesn't. You are assured it will not that way. A perfect system IMO.

    Jason

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    Low-Rise Member LDSR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal Lecter
    Sure it will help, by reducing congestion. HOV lanes are one of those feel-good things like ESLs that don't really do any good. The quantity of folks who carpool due to HOV lanes that wouldn't otherwise is minuscule. Making more pavement available will reduce emissions faster than anything.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again... the HOV lanes on LBJ are pathetic. All they do is increase the number of accidents and cause congestion. People are constantly trying to cross all lanes of traffic to exit from the HOV lanes. Accidents happen 'almost daily' because of them. That's never going to change. LBJ would be better off with a 5th main lane instead of the HOV lanes.

    Actually, I guess they give the rather large motorcyle cops something to do everyday... pull people over and cause even more congestion due to rubber neckers.

    (Can you tell I drive LBJ everyday?)

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    Traffic to ease with opening of highway HOV projects
    Ride-sharers to cruise through commutes after lanes open on 3 busy highways

    11:32 PM CST on Wednesday, November 7, 2007
    By THEODORE KIM / The Dallas Morning News
    tkim@dallasnews.com

    Be patient, rush-hour commuters: Those unused carpool lanes you see on highway medians throughout the Dallas area will soon be useful for more than just collecting weeds, soda cans and busted tire treads.

    New high-occupancy vehicle lanes will soon launch on three of the area's busiest highways: U.S. Highway 75, Interstate 30 and Interstate 635. In addition, at least one stretch on I-30 has already opened.

    Together, the nearly 50 miles of projects will more than double the 31 miles of carpool lanes already in operation throughout the area.

    Whether the new lanes always will be free is another matter. Plans are brewing to charge tolls on at least some of the lanes in the future.

    In the short term, the new road capacity will be a boon to car- and vanpoolers, transportation officials say.

    The new projects will add lanes on highways in and around Dallas, including:

    •U.S. 75 along a 14-mile stretch from I-635 to Exchange Parkway in Allen. The lanes will open by late December, said Kelli Petras, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

    •I-635 along an 11-mile stretch from U.S. 75 east to I-30. The lanes will open in January.

    •I-30 west of downtown Dallas from Loop 12 to Sylvan Avenue. East of downtown, workers are extending a reversible HOV lane on I-30 from Jim Miller Road to the Mesquite area. The lanes will open by January.

    In addition, a stretch of reversible HOV lane on I-30 from Loop 12 west into Tarrant County already has opened.

    Transportation planners hope the projects herald a new era for a region not known for carpooling or transit use.

    "We're improving the mobility in three very congested corridors," said Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

    Price Tinsley, a 32-year-old engineer who commutes with a co-worker from his home in Keller to Texas Instruments in Dallas, counts himself as a supporter of such efforts.

    He reckons that he shaves about 20 minutes off his 40-mile commute by using the existing carpool lanes on I-635 west of U.S. 75.

    "It's amazing the amount of time you can cut," Mr. Tinsley said.

    Cutting crowding

    Mr. Morris and other regional leaders see the lanes as a potent tool to reduce congestion and curtail automobile emissions. The lanes, supporters say, will encourage more drivers to share rides and bypass traffic jams.

    An August traffic study of U.S. 75 by South Carolina-based Wilbur Smith Associates provides some insight into how popular the new lanes might be.

    By 2010, the carpool lanes could siphon up to 15 percent of the vehicles on the main lanes where the highway crosses Belt Line Road, the study found. That percentage does not reflect how many more cars might be eliminated from the roads because people are carpooling.

    More than 200,000 motorists are projected to use that stretch, one of the highway's busiest, by decade's end, according to the study.

    Congestion aside, separating some lanes with barriers or posts – as will be done with the carpool lanes – also makes it easier for authorities to reverse or detour traffic flow if needed, such as during a major evacuation, Mr. Morris said.

    More broadly, the projects foreshadow an emerging trend in the transportation industry: the melding of free and tolled roads.

    All of the new lanes will be free to start. But in the future, single-passenger vehicles could have the chance to take them, too, for a price. Existing lanes on those roads would remain free.

    Transportation officials plan to test the toll/free strategy beginning with the stretch of I-30 from Tarrant County to downtown Dallas, Mr. Morris said.

    If successful, toll lanes on additional roads are expected to follow, including on I-635, Loop 12 and other area highways. There is no plan to install toll lanes on U.S. 75, Mr. Morris said.

    How would this work?

    The I-30 project offers a window into how these lanes of the future might operate.

    Planners envision installing an electronic, pay-at-full-speed system akin to the present TollTag network. Other logistics, such as exactly where the tolls will be located, are still being worked out.

    The tolling system could be put in as soon as January 2009, state transportation officials said. Motorists will experience a free grace period before the first tolls are collected.

    Prices for those toll lanes will vary depending on traffic volumes and the time of day. The general rule: The more crowded the free lanes are, the higher the tolls on the paid lanes will be.

    Carpoolers will probably get a discount on the toll, perhaps up to 50 percent. But they shouldn't expect a free ride. Dallas Area Rapid Transit buses and emergency vehicles would use the lanes for free.

    The goal of the up-and-down pricing, aside from making money for future road projects, is to keep traffic on the carpool lanes manageable and moving at a reasonable speed even during the busiest times.

    "[The strategy] gives people who use highways, for the first time, a real alternative of a different level of service for a different price," said Robert Poole, director of transportation for the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based think tank that advocates free-market principles.

    "We have those kind of choices in all aspects of our lives," he said. "You can buy Starbucks coffee or you can buy coffee for 50 cents."

    Up and running soon

    In the meantime, workers are just trying to get the carpool lanes running.

    The lanes on I-30 have been under construction intermittently since the mid-1990s, while the U.S. 75 project was originally supposed to have opened in July.

    Those lanes were created after the completion of the High Five interchange project in 2005. But the schedule has been set back by a separate construction project in Plano that has prevented work from finishing on the carpool efforts.

    To the south, workers also have yet to complete the HOV lanes on I-635. Those lanes are supposed to link up with the carpool lanes on U.S. 75.

    The timetable of the U.S. 75 project has puzzled motorists given that the lanes have, for months, appeared completely finished and are now littered with debris.

    State transportation officials insist that driving on the lanes now would be inadvisable, to say the least.

    "We cannot permit motorists to get onto the HOV lanes without a way for them to get off," said Ms. Petras of the transportation department.

    The roadway will get a thorough cleaning before the lanes open, she said.

    Staff writer Michael A. Lindenberger contributed to this report.


    HOV RUNDOWN

    NEW OPTIONS

    In the next few months, new carpool lanes are slated to open on three of the Dallas area's busiest highways. That includes a busy stretch along U.S. Highway 75 north of Interstate 635.

    IMPROVED COMMUTES

    Transportation officials say the added capacity will ease traffic congestion, curtail emissions and encourage ride-sharing.

    BUT COULD IT COST YOU?

    Plans are in the works to eventually toll some of those lanes, including a stretch under construction along Interstate 30.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFWCRE8TIVE
    Traffic to ease with opening of highway HOV projects

    :huhcld:

    Has traffic "eased" on the portions of 30, 35, and 635 where they have been built already?

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    Super Moderator Tnekster's Avatar
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    How do they do in Houston with all those elevated HOV lanes? Just curious.

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    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoUTASportscaster
    :huhcld:

    Has traffic "eased" on the portions of 30, 35, and 635 where they have been built already?
    It certainly wasn't eased on I-30 yesterday. There were SIX DART cops in the "HOV Enforcement Area", four in cars and two on motorcycles. Traffic slowed to a crawl as rubberneckers tried to see what was going on. All I could see was a waste of already-scarce DART operating funds. Put a toll on it and open it up as a paid express lane, because "two people in a car isn't a carpool, it's a date".
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

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    Carpoolers have eye on U.S. 75 HOV lanes, due to open Dec. 21
    09:51 PM CST on Tuesday, December 11, 2007
    By THEODORE KIM / The Dallas Morning News
    tkim@dallasnews.com
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...s.25f4171.html

    They look like a row of broken teeth, battered from one brawl too many. And the real fight hasn't even begun.

    Just days before the first carpool lanes on U.S. Highway 75 north of Dallas are slated to open, the plastic posts that separate the lanes from regular traffic have already taken a beating.

    Dozens of the stakes are missing, taken out by cars and tractor-trailers. The lanes are strewn with debris and have sprouted weeds and, in a place or two, tree saplings.

    The Texas Department of Transportation says the lanes – also known as high-occupancy vehicle lanes – will soon be fixed. Officials are aiming to open the 14-mile stretch between Exchange Parkway in Allen and Interstate 635 in Dallas on Dec. 21.

    That hasn't stopped a flood of questions from motorists: What's with the posts? Where will drivers be able to access the lanes? Will they ever open?

    "It's real frustrating to sit in traffic when these unused lanes are just sitting there," said Donna Kent, 50, director of operations for a church in Allen.

    Transportation department officials urged patience and cited many reasons why the lanes have been designed as they are.

    First, the lanes are separated from regular traffic to discourage motorists from swerving in and out. This occurs frequently on the HOV lanes of I-635, which have no barrier, said Kelli Petras, a department spokeswoman.

    "Obviously, we can't control driver behavior," Ms. Petras said. "But, unfortunately, drivers will swerve in and out of those lanes. They do not follow the law all the time."

    Access to the lanes also is limited by design to keep traffic moving and manageable. Motorists will be able to enter and exit the lanes only at Exchange Parkway, Park Boulevard in Plano and I-635.

    Officials chose to install plastic posts because they are easy to replace and significantly cheaper than building a concrete barrier.

    In the meantime, commuters, including Ms. Kent, must wait.

    She said she has contemplated calling the state every day until the lanes open.

    "I think I'll hold off [calling] for a while, but only until Dec. 31," she said.


    THE ROAD TO OPENING DAY

    Here are questions and answers about the HOV lanes along U.S. Highway 75 north of Interstate 635:

    Q. When will the lanes open?

    A: Transportation officials want to open the lanes Dec. 21. They will be open to vehicles carrying two or more people.

    Q. The lanes appear finished. What else needs to be done?

    A: Workers still need to install new changeable message signs and lane signals. The lanes cannot open until a related HOV project on Interstate 635 is finished.

    Q: Why are the lanes separated from regular traffic?

    A: To prevent motorists from swerving in and out.

    Q: What's with the plastic posts?

    A: They are easy to replace and much cheaper to install than a concrete barrier.

    Q: The lanes are strewn with debris. Will they ever be cleaned?

    A: Workers have gradually removed debris. The lanes will also get a thorough sweeping before they open. The broken plastic barriers will also be replaced.

    Q: Where can I access the lanes?

    A: At Exchange Parkway in Allen, at Park Boulevard in Plano and at I-635.

    Q: How will emergency vehicles access the lanes?

    A: The plastic posts are spaced far enough apart for an emergency vehicle to squeeze through.

    SOURCES: Texas Department of Transportation; DART

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    ^ Too bad they didn't ask the REAL question: Why waste the tens of millions of dollars building HOV lanes when it has been proven that using them as general purpose lanes would have a greater effect on reducing congestion?

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    because it's leftist propaganda IMHO

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal Lecter
    ^ Too bad they didn't ask the REAL question: Why waste the tens of millions of dollars building HOV lanes when it has been proven that using them as general purpose lanes would have a greater effect on reducing congestion?
    Houston has proven that HOV lanes carry more passengers than normal lanes.

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonDallas
    Houston has proven that HOV lanes carry more passengers than normal lanes.

    Jason
    Cite?

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    We don't care about moving people or air pollution, just collecting credits from the EPA to try to avoid them screwing us.
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
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    Interstate 30 HOV lane extension between Dallas and Mesquite opens Monday
    11:39 AM CST on Thursday, December 13, 2007
    By MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER / The Dallas Morning News
    mlindenberger@dallasnews.com
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont....108fb1f9.html

    Mesquite carpoolers will get a faster way to and from downtown Dallas beginning Monday, when a six-mile extension of the Interstate 30 HOV lane opens.

    HOV lanes running west of Dallas on I-30 opened July 31. Monday’s opening will extend a single lane that runs east of downtown all the way to Northwest Drive in Mesquite.

    HOV lanes – short for High Occupancy Vehicle lanes – promise a faster, less congested commute for drivers who carpool. Buses and emergency vehicles also get access to the lanes, which are jointly developed by TxDOT and DART.

    The eastern extension of the I-30 lane will be followed Dec. 21 by new lanes opening on North Central Expressway.

    The I-30 lanes west of downtown will eventually reach Fort Worth, and will become North Texas’ first tolled lanes sometime next year. Those lanes will be opened to solo drivers who pay a toll.

    After an introductory period, the tolls on those lanes will likely be set on a sliding scale, with the highest prices charged when the free roads are busiest.

    Next spring, TxDOT is expected to request proposals from private companies to build six new HOV lanes along the LBJ Freeway, a major expansion of that road that TxDOT’s Dallas-based engineers have called the biggest managed lanes project in America.

  23. #23
    Administrator dfwcre8tive's Avatar
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    HOV lanes on Central Expressway are slow to catch on
    Some motorists confounded by temporary signs, limited access

    08:50 PM CST on Thursday, January 3, 2008
    By THEODORE KIM / The Dallas Morning News
    tkim@dallasnews.com
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...s.22ad455.html

    The lanes are up and running, though they often don't seem like it.

    Two weeks after the state opened 14 miles of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on Central Expressway north of Dallas to curb traffic and promote carpooling, the lanes have been slow to catch on with commuters.

    Motorists blame poor signage, a limited number of entry points and a confusing layout that requires some to exit Central to access the lanes.

    The lanes have attracted drivers, particularly during rush hour. But for many, it hasn't been headache-free.

    "They're more trouble than they're worth," said Phil Haggard, 59, a Royse City retiree.

    Mr. Haggard and his wife, Judi, wanted to try out the lanes on a recent shopping trip to Allen but couldn't find them at first. Once on, Mr. Haggard noticed his was the only vehicle in the narrow lanes.

    Transportation officials and industry observers say it is far too early to gauge whether the lanes are a success. But the stakes are high for regional planners banking on it and other projects to lay ground for tolled express lanes in the future.

    Planners have inferred little from the lukewarm reception to the lanes so far but predict use will grow starting next week, as commuters return from the holidays.

    "You should expect a break-in period," said Christopher Poe, assistant director of the Texas Transportation Institute. "Learning the access points and how to use them is part of that."

    Motorists, however, say early glitches haven't added to their love of the lanes, which run northbound and southbound in the middle of the highway between the High Five interchange in Dallas and Bethany Drive in Allen. Many have complained of inadequate signage at the High Five.

    Northbound drivers looking for the HOV lane must first exit at Midpark Road, then take another ramp onto the HOV lane. But the state has yet to install permanent signs for motorists.

    Don White, a 42-year-old Allen videographer, said he has missed the turn a few times already.

    "We've missed the signs before," he said. "Then there's nowhere to get back on."

    In addition, HOV lanes on Central and Interstate 635 are linked by an elevated, reversible ramp that changes direction depending on the time of day. At other times, the ramp is closed altogether, forcing all HOV motorists onto the frontage roads.

    The Texas Department of Transportation has erected temporary message signs to guide motorists, and permanent signs are on the way, TxDOT spokeswoman Kelli Petras said.

    Motorists also have griped about lane access and width.

    Rubber posts separate the HOV lanes from the main lanes. Between Allen and Dallas, motorists can enter and exit the lanes only near Parker Road in Plano. That's because the lanes were intentionally access-limited and designed to serve long-haul commuters, officials said.

    Meanwhile, the lanes lack shoulders, but they actually were created out of space from Central's existing main lanes and shoulders.

    Drivers have yet to adjust to the arrangement. Earlier this week, a stalled car in the southbound HOV lane compelled some drivers to run over the rubber posts and dart precariously into the main lanes.

    "Once you're in the lanes, you're in," said Howard Haynie, 52, a technical instructor who uses Central to commute from Allen to Addison. "There's no escape."

    Officials for TxDOT, which built the lanes, and DART, which manages them, say they are open to changes. They plan to re-evaluate the location of entrances and exits sometime later this year, Ms. Petras said.

    Richardson officials have lobbied the state to create an HOV access point somewhere between Plano and I-635. So far, the answer is no.

    But Richardson City Manager Bill Keffler is hopeful given that the lanes remain a work in progress.

    "HOV lanes are relatively new to Texas motorists," Mr. Keffler said. "That's why TxDOT is going to be methodical and studious about any changes to the system as they implement it. The experience is still playing out."


    HOV LANES AT A GLANCE

    Where: Central Expressway

    Length: About 14 miles

    Cost: $19 million

    Opened: Dec. 21

    Access points: Just south of Bethany Drive in Allen; in the vicinity of Parker Road in Plano; I-635 in Dallas

    Traffic benefits: By 2010, the lanes could siphon up to 15 percent of the roughly 200,000 vehicles that will travel the stretch daily.

    Travel benefits: Every mile of HOV lane use shaves one minute off a commute.

  24. #24
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    I have seen decent usage at some rush hours, but not always. I've also seen cars moving slower than the main lanes, causing a blockage.

    This morning there was a damn scooter ran out of gas in the southbound HOV around Belt Line, with the TxDOT truck just pulling up and blocking the lane. Generated a southbound onlooker backup in the main lanes.

    Haven't seen anyone crossing the barrier yet, although it's obviously being done. I had heard alot about the indestructability of the vertical markers and bases before they were actually installed, and embarrassed silence afterwards...
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
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  25. #25
    Low-Rise Member LDSR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random Traffic Guy
    I have seen decent usage at some rush hours, but not always. I've also seen cars moving slower than the main lanes, causing a blockage.

    This morning there was a damn scooter ran out of gas in the southbound HOV around Belt Line, with the TxDOT truck just pulling up and blocking the lane. Generated a southbound onlooker backup in the main lanes.

    Haven't seen anyone crossing the barrier yet, although it's obviously being done. I had heard alot about the indestructability of the vertical markers and bases before they were actually installed, and embarrassed silence afterwards...
    Everytime I travel with a passenger on LBJ or Central, I avoid the HOV lanes. They're dangerous. TXDOT should do a study on the safety of HOV lanes rather than the count of passengers carried.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDSR
    Everytime I travel with a passenger on LBJ or Central, I avoid the HOV lanes. They're dangerous. TXDOT should do a study on the safety of HOV lanes rather than the count of passengers carried.
    You mean a study such as this one out of UC Berkeley?

    Institute of Transportation Studies: UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center
    (University of California, Berkeley)
    Year 2007 Paper UCB-TSC-TR-2007-9
    HOV Lane Configurationsand Collision Distribution on Freeway Lanes – An Investigation of Historical Collision Data in California
    Koohong Chung, Ching-Yao Chan, Kitae Jang, David R. Ragland, Yong-Hee Kim

    Abstract
    High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane programs are widely adopted in metropolitan areas in an effort to reduce congestion by encouraging carpooling. However, the operation of HOV lanes may result in traffic interactions that affect safety performance. In this paper, historical data from a number of freeway corridors in California are used to illustrate the distribution of collisions on different lanes on the freeway. The peak hours’ data, when compared to those in the non-peak hours, from all corridors indicate that more interactions due to traffic weaving near the HOV lanes might lead to a greater concentration on the inside lanes of the corridors. In addition, a comparison of corridors with continual access with those with dedicated ingress/egress sections also implies that the restricted entrance and exit into the HOV lanes could cause more intense and challenging lane-changing actions and subsequently a greater proportion of collisions near the HOV lanes. The collision data presented in this paper demonstrate the phenomena of collision concentration near HOV lanes, presumably caused by traffic merging and weaving. The results from this study provide valuable insights into the planning of HOV operations and in the identification of safety countermeasures for such facilities.

  27. #27
    Incoherent Rambler grantboston's Avatar
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    Wonder if the fallout from all of this will at all alter the plans for HOV construction on the LBJ Eastern refurb? If I remember correctly, the HOV lanes were going to be the first things reconstructed.

  28. #28
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    Those safety concerns were exactly why the flexible markers are used, and I believe they were trying for an extra 2' of width in the barrier as well. But it has its own drawbacks as we've seen on 75.

    Yesterday about 4pm I was heading north on 75 and saw that the southbound HOV was completely stopped with 2 cars at 45* angles trying to get through the markers and merge back into southbound main lanes just where the lane starts to be elevated, I presume to stay on the main lanes in ignorance of the exit to midpark? Or trying to get to 635 if the reversible section was closed on the weekend (brilliant, that). Whatever the reason, these brain surgeons had a nice 10 car backup in the HOV lane.
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random Traffic Guy
    the reversible section was closed on the weekend
    I don't understand why they build these lanes that are only open ~30 hours/week and left empty the rest of the time. How hard would it be to install automatic gates than can be moved according to traffic flow? The lanes on I-35, etc are bad enough, but that ramp in the High Five couldn't have been cheap!

  30. #30
    Administrator dfwcre8tive's Avatar
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    DART Plans Overhaul Of HOV Lanes
    KXAS-TV
    updated 10:29 a.m. CT, Thurs., Feb. 7, 2008
    http://video.nbc5i.com/player/?id=214999

    DALLAS - Soon after opening HOV lanes on some of North Texas' busiest freeways, Dallas Area Rapid Transit said a redesign is in the works.

    DART opened the lanes to encourage carpooling two months ago. The transit agency said it will overhaul the lanes in an effort to make people feel safer.

    Drivers have complained about the lack of entry and exit points in the lanes along Central Expressway and Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway.
    Story continues below ↓advertisement

    "Somebody broke down, and it jammed up the HOV lane, and nobody could even escape," another woman said.

    Plastic stanchions separate the HOV lanes from regular traffic, leaving few spots for drivers to get in and out of the fast lane.

    "Because there is just no entrance anywhere, they have to make their own entrance," one man said.

    In a little more than a month, drivers have crashed through more than 500 of the plastic stanchions.

    DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said DART will remove as many as half of the plastic stanchions separating the HOV lanes from the regular lanes.

    "One of the things we want to do though is look at adding some access points," he said. "We will be doing that over the next several weeks."

    Information on the HOV lanes and their access points can be found at DART's Web site.

  31. #31
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    One thing I was wondering about on US75 was enforcement. I don't know there's any point along it where the DART cops can sit and check for jerks, and pull over vehicles. Then last week there was a cop sitting in the painted gore where the southbound ramp descends to the US75 frontage road. Good place to watch but vehicles had to be pulled over into the businesses along the frontage road.

    I am laughing about the sad state of the vertical markers. I need to stop and pick up some of the loose ones which can be seen on the outside shoulders, some with the bases attached too. They would make a good desk decoration for the guy who was telling me how indestructible they are.
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
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  32. #32
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    Huge crash today at the split where the southbound US75 HOV lane divides to go to the frontage road or to WB 635. The barrier nose protector was crushed, and there was a pickup truck about 100' farther down the 635 leg of the ramp. Truck had a huge hit on the passenger side, whole thing looked almost folded around that side. If no other cars involved, seems to indicate the driver making a quick correction to the left to take 635, and hitting or sliding into the barrier with the right side of the truck. But the degree of damage, and where the truck ended up, is hard to believe if that is the scenario. There was quite a delay to SB75, although the HOV users were moving pretty well until they got right onto the site. Let's be careful out there. Better an unintended detour than a crash, please.
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
    @BicycleAdagio

  33. #33
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    Everything RTG has described on US 75 is happening on the I-635 HOV lanes as well. I saw a pickup stop traffic in the HOV lane as he forced his way through the barriers, apparently having realized too late that the westbound HOV is an express to US 75 with no exits.

    DART says they'll add more portals, but that will defeat the purpose. Like the other side of I-635, the lane will become a waste of time, money, and ultimately lives.

    Yesterday, I rode the bus down the I-30 HOV lane. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents, with all those places where you jog left and right to avoid the concrete dividers. It's not a traffic lane; it's a series of slalom gates.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  34. #34
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    On 635 east of US75, I'm more concerned with the loss of the outside shoulder in most spots, to make room for the HOV lane. That turns any flat tire into a big incident. Worse, they've left 2/3 of a lane empty between the HOV barrier and the leftmost normal lane. While separating the lanes is a benefit (the reason for the flexible barriers), this has gone too far - leaving a open area like that will encourage reckless driving, and be a spot for trash to collect. The 8' would be much more useful as a minimal outside shoulder.
    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
    @BicycleAdagio

  35. #35
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random Traffic Guy
    On 635 east of US75, I'm more concerned with the loss of the outside shoulder in most spots, to make room for the HOV lane. That turns any flat tire into a big incident. Worse, they've left 2/3 of a lane empty between the HOV barrier and the leftmost normal lane. While separating the lanes is a benefit (the reason for the flexible barriers), this has gone too far - leaving a open area like that will encourage reckless driving, and be a spot for trash to collect. The 8' would be much more useful as a minimal outside shoulder.
    That's just temporary, I think. Look closely and you'll see sandblasted lines where they're going to put new stripes. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between those and the sandblasting they've done to get rid of old stripes! But I've seen them doing it -- the easternmost few miles are already complete. Basically, anything "striped" with buttons is temporary until they get a chance to lay down new stripes. The big gap between the yellow buttons and the HOV lane is where they had the concrete barriers during construction.

    If you operate under the assumption that HOV lanes are a Good Thing, then they're doing a Good Job. As a computer programmer, I can sympathize; there's nothing like building a system that meets the customers specifications perfectly, only to find out they didn't have a clue what they really needed.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  36. #36
    Administrator dfwcre8tive's Avatar
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    Friends of DOWNTOWNDALLAS

    Tell us what you think about transportation in our city!

    The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M is conducting a survey to gauge public opinion (primarily of commuters between the mid-cities and Downtown) regarding new ways of traveling I-30 between Dallas and Arlington. If you are a regular user of this thoroughfare, please take a moment to tell them what you think!

    This type of analysis helps us more effectively plan current and future transportation initiatives, from thoroughfares to public transit, which are increasingly vital issues in today's environment and steady growth of Downtown.

    Survey results will be utilized by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

    Please click on the link below to participate.

    http://www.dallastravelsurvey.org/

    Many Thanks,
    DOWNTOWNDALLAS

  37. #37
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    I tried sending the following email to help@dallastravelsurvey.org but received an SMTP 550 error. I forwarded it to the TAMU Institutional Review Board and hopefully between that email and this post someone will fix this survey and we won't have a road based on flawed data.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I was only a few questions into the survey and stopped as one of the questions was flawed. The question itself was fine but there was no way to accurately answer it. The question was titled, "What type of trips do you make on IH-30 during the week (Sunday to Saturday)?" The problem with this question is the use of Radio Buttons instead of Check Boxes. Say I travel to work Monday through Friday. The use of Radio Buttons only allows me to choose travel to work for one day of the week. Obviously this is probably not the case for most people; if they travel to work via I-30, they most likely do it every day. Had the question been formatted with Check Boxes, checking every day of the week would have been possible.

    I did not continue past this question as the current survey results will be inaccurate and I did not care to waste my time proof-reading your survey for you.

    Thank you,
    --"shaun3000"

  38. #38
    Administrator dfwcre8tive's Avatar
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    Bill proposes ticket cameras for Central's HOV lane
    10:27 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    By DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA-TV
    http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dw....1fd1be1a.html

    First there were red-light cameras, now there are proposals for HOV cameras.

    They could soon capture illegal lane changers along Highway 75.

    Drivers are watched even now. Just think about all the cameras monitoring North Texas highways, interstates, and tollroads.

    The difference, those cameras can't be used to send you tickets.

    The safety measure that could allow for tickets is a result of a News 8 investigation.

    The investigation has shown the HOV lanes on Central have contributed to three deaths and a 32 percent increase in major crashes.

    The bill calls for cameras because, as we've shown, the HOV lanes are too narrow for police to safely patrol them.

    The bill calls for a $100 fine for drivers who cross illegally - the cause of deadly accidents.

    ...

  39. #39
    Supertall Skyscraper Member NThomas's Avatar
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    New lane on Tom Landry Highway set to open
    DART News Release
    July 1, 2009
    Full Release
    ...With the completion of nine new miles, between Loop 12 and Sylvan Avenue, west of Downtown Dallas, the region will have 84 miles of HOV lanes. The I-30 West lane runs from Sylvan to the Dallas/Tarrant County line.

    The new lane will be in operation from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is open to vehicles with two or more occupants, buses, motorcycles and other eligible vehicles. Hybrid vehicles with single occupants are not allowed in area HOV lanes...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFWCRE8TIVE
    Bill proposes ticket cameras for Central's HOV lane
    10:27 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    By DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA-TV
    http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dw....1fd1be1a.html

    First there were red-light cameras, now there are proposals for HOV cameras.

    They could soon capture illegal lane changers along Highway 75.

    Drivers are watched even now. Just think about all the cameras monitoring North Texas highways, interstates, and tollroads.
    ....
    ls for cameras because, as we've shown, the HOV lanes are too narrow for police to safely patrol them.

    The bill calls for a $100 fine for drivers who cross illegally - the cause of deadly accidents.

    ...
    Can they also start using the cameras to send tickets for idiots on the road, ones that tail gate, cut people off, etc....

  41. #41
    High-Rise Member eirin's Avatar
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    As long as they don't try to ticket with those for speeding...that's just too much.
    Socialism - bringing a greater good to a greater many, one golden parachute at a time.

  42. #42
    Just Changing Planes aygriffith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NThomas
    New lane on Tom Landry Highway set to open
    DART News Release
    July 1, 2009
    Full Release

    Another perfect example of the Dallas area's incompetence on how to use HOV lanes or express lanes to their fullest... 3pm to 7pm, and i'm sure that means its a one way lane? They should be open for 22 hours a day with 2 for maintenance. And they should reverse at noon each day from towards downtown to away from downtown.

    I drove to a Rangers game last Friday and was amazed at the mess that those HOV lanes look like. 30 has been done for how long and they still aren't open? Some areas there is easily room for two lanes in the middle but instead there is a maze of K-wall backfilling the extra space.

    This is far from something to be proud of...

  43. #43
    Supertall Skyscraper Member NThomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aygriffith
    Another perfect example of the Dallas area's incompetence on how to use HOV lanes or express lanes to their fullest... 3pm to 7pm, and i'm sure that means its a one way lane? They should be open for 22 hours a day with 2 for maintenance. And they should reverse at noon each day from towards downtown to away from downtown.

    I drove to a Rangers game last Friday and was amazed at the mess that those HOV lanes look like. 30 has been done for how long and they still aren't open? Some areas there is easily room for two lanes in the middle but instead there is a maze of K-wall backfilling the extra space.

    This is far from something to be proud of...
    DART had opened it for a Rangers game/event some time ago that didn't fall into the usual schedule so I hope we'll see it used more then just what that release said and more along the lines of a previous action. Especially since it'll become a HOT lane in the near future.

  44. #44
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    Why is DART in charge of HOV lanes? To me it seems that the federal organization that commissioned the interstates and freeways would be in charge of installing HOV lanes. This would free up resources and money for DART to use for bus and rail services and expansion. This just seems intuitive to me, what am I missing here?

  45. #45
    Supertall Skyscraper Member NThomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldchap
    Why is DART in charge of HOV lanes? To me it seems that the federal organization that commissioned the interstates and freeways would be in charge of installing HOV lanes. This would free up resources and money for DART to use for bus and rail services and expansion. This just seems intuitive to me, what am I missing here?
    There probably more important and officall reasons then this one but, express buses use them and are out of the main lanes so not only are those buses helping to take cars off the road, the bus is also not interfering with the other car traffic.

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