Jump to content

HOV Lanes in NorCal: Question from the Southland


bvaughan

Recommended Posts

the latimes reported a week or so ago that socal caltrans is considering various tweaks to the freeway system to deal with congestion, including instituting what is reported to be the norcal practice -- getting rid of the HOV/no. 1 double yellow so that merging in and out of the carpool lane is not restricted to short sections of the HOV lane like in the southland but generally allowed.

 

question(s): how does this affect your HOV/lane splitting technique up north? being able to pass slow smugmobiles (the dreaded prius) in the hov lane by changing in and out of the number one lane without waiting for the merge sections would seem to be a benefit. but does the objective danger of cagers popping in and out of the HOV lane anywhere along the freeway increase?

Link to comment
russell_bynum
the latimes reported a week or so ago that socal caltrans is considering various tweaks to the freeway system to deal with congestion, including instituting what is reported to be the norcal practice -- getting rid of the HOV/no. 1 double yellow so that merging in and out of the carpool lane is not restricted to short sections of the HOV lane like in the southland but generally allowed.

 

question(s): how does this affect your HOV/lane splitting technique up north? being able to pass slow smugmobiles (the dreaded prius) in the hov lane by changing in and out of the number one lane without waiting for the merge sections would seem to be a benefit. but does the objective danger of cagers popping in and out of the HOV lane anywhere along the freeway increase?

I lived in the Bay Area for a couple of years before I moved to SoCal.

 

The way they do their HOV lanes is totally retarded.

 

Ever notice how our carpool lanes (and usually the freeway lanes as well) slow down pretty drastically around the merge points?

 

Now make the whole thing a merge point and see how that works out.

Link to comment

question(s): how does this affect your HOV/lane splitting technique up north? being able to pass slow smugmobiles (the dreaded prius) in the hov lane by changing in and out of the number one lane without waiting for the merge sections would seem to be a benefit. but does the objective danger of cagers popping in and out of the HOV lane anywhere along the freeway increase?

 

In my limited experience down south, the double yellow and solid line are not exactly objective protections from lane hoppers.

 

I don't really agree with Russell's assessment, however. The problem with HOV lanes here isn't really caused by the ability of folks to jump in and out. The problem here is that without 100s of miles of continuity on most roads with HOV lanes, you find the HOV lanes ending far more often as the road narrows or you come upon a bridge or the entirely intrastate Interstate dead-ends into the state highway it used to be.

 

Do I ride in fear of a cage popping into the HOV lanes at any times as I zip by the stopped traffic? You bet. Do I consider that risk any less in southern California because of a few markings on the road? No. The only time I feel comfortable assuming I won't be at risk of those folks are the set-off HOV lanes that other major cities have.

Link to comment
Dave McReynolds

I live in Sacramento, where we have the type of HOV lanes you describe. Generally, congestion is not so bad here as Russell describes for the Bay Area, and people merging in and out of the HOV lanes is not a big problem. The use of the HOV lanes is fairly light here in Sacramento, and so it is a real advantage being able to use them on a motorcycle. As is the advantage of being able to split between the HOV lane and regular lanes on the rare occasion that I have to do that. I like the way they are set up now, being able to merge into the HOV lanes anywhere you want, but I don't have much experience in areas that are much more congested than Sacramento.

Link to comment

What I do is just consider it another lane with no restrictions... which is what it is really.

At least with the double yellow most people have been trained not to cross it.

Eliminating that becomes a free for all especially down here is so cal where it's always a free for all anyway. tongue.gif I hope they don't eliminate double yellow here. blush.gif

Link to comment
skinny_tom (aka boney)

I disagree with Russell.

 

The carpool lanes up here are configured the way they are because of a lack of space. Literally, the is almost nowhere to expand the highways wider. To add the extra lane.

 

I dislike the southland's HOV lanes. You can't go around the slow poke in the Prius (assuming you're driving your cage) unless you cross the double-yellow. Up here, you just go around when there's space. (you know the Prius is not going to move over.)

 

Overall, the HOV lane moves about 50-55 while nearby traffic goes stop and go. Around the interchanges you can expect slower. Sure we have less space in which to split, and then there's the possibility that cars merge anywhere they like, but you get used to it and then it's no big deal.

 

One man's retardation is another man's way of life grin.gif

Link to comment
russell_bynum
I disagree with Russell.

 

The carpool lanes up here are configured the way they are because of a lack of space. Literally, the is almost nowhere to expand the highways wider. To add the extra lane.

 

That's another problem entirely. If you create an HOV lane by removing a normal traffic lane, that's not a good thing.

 

The situation Greg mentioned where the carpool lane just ends semi-randomly sucks too. We have that down here of course, but it isn't nearly as common.

 

 

I dislike the southland's HOV lanes. You can't go around the slow poke in the Prius (assuming you're driving your cage) unless you cross the double-yellow. Up here, you just go around when there's space. (you know the Prius is not going to move over.)

 

Right, but all you have to do is wait for the next opening and the get by.

 

Which brings me to one of my gripes about some of our HOV lanes down here. There are a few places where you have to go FOREVER before you get a break in the double yellow so you can merge in. That doesn't make any sense either, IMO.

 

 

One man's retardation is another man's way of life grin.gif

 

grin.gif

 

The Bay Area was my first experience with carpool lanes. Right away it just struck me as a stupid way to do it. People were dive-bombing in there trying to get into gaps that weren't there. If you were rolling along at 65-70 (which the traffic conditions in that lane would have permitted) you were playing Russion Roulette. So you slow down to 50-55 and keep a sharp eye for retards trying to shove their way in where there isn't room.

 

Down here, the double yellow in the carpool lanes is pretty well respected. Sure, people jump it, but that's the rare exception, not the rule. Generally the merge points slow down quite a bit since you've got more people trying to get in/out in a small area instead of spreading it out (Which is, IMO, the ONE good thing about the way you guys do your HOV lanes.), but you know where it is, you know it's coming, and you expect it. And the fact that the people who are merging out have slowed down, makes it much easier for the people merging in to get in. It isn't like you'll just be driving along at 70mph and suddenly have to slam on the brakes because some brain donor decided to randomly merge with 70mph traffic when they're going 10mph.

 

To each his own, I guess. (That's the politically correct way of saying "If you guys want to do it the stupid way, go right ahead." thumbsup.gif )

Link to comment

Every carpool lane in the U.S. I have ever seen except for those in SoCal allow unlimited ingress and egress....I commuted for many years in Seattle and it was never an issue....frankly I think anyone who trusts 2 painted lines to keep a car from entering their lane is kidding themselves...

Link to comment
russell_bynum
Every carpool lane in the U.S. I have ever seen except for those in SoCal allow unlimited ingress and egress....I commuted for many years in Seattle and it was never an issue....frankly I think anyone who trusts 2 painted lines to keep a car from entering their lane is kidding themselves...

 

Do you trust that everyone on the northbound side of the freeway is going to be going north? There's nothing to stop people from getting on the northbound side going south. Does it happen? Sure. Is it common? no.

 

The double yellows do no prevent people from getting in. BUT...people who enter the carpool lanes over the double yellow are the exception rather than the rule. You look out for it, but it isn't something that you're going to see six hundred times on every commute. My current commute doesn't really have carpool lanes, so I don't know how people are behaving today. But when my commute did include lots of carpool lanes (about 3 years ago), I saw maybe two people a month jump the double getting into the carpool lane.

 

And...in general when people are doing that sort of thing, they're on the lookout for LEO's...so they're more likely to see you.

 

In the time that I lived in the Bay Area, I had probably once a week where someone would just randomly pop into the lane in front of me, close enough and slow enough that I had to brake hard to keep from running over their stupid ass.

 

I can't say I've ever had someone jump into the carpool lane over the double yellow in such a way that I had to take evasive action.

Link to comment

I can't say I've ever had someone jump into the carpool lane over the double yellow in such a way that I had to take evasive action.

 

I can remember at least twice it has happened to me and I only ride in SoCal a few times a year....I know it makes folks feel safe but I know of no evidence it is any safer...

Link to comment
. . . when my commute did include lots of carpool lanes (about 3 years ago), I saw maybe two people a month jump the double getting into the carpool lane.
on a 100 mile round trip commute on the 405 i see at least one a day, and usually 2-3. hov lane drops to about 50 mph when the regular lanes drop to stop and go so you can miss the jumpers.
Link to comment
the latimes reported a week or so ago that socal caltrans is considering various tweaks to the freeway system to deal with congestion, including instituting what is reported to be the norcal practice -- getting rid of the HOV/no. 1 double yellow so that merging in and out of the carpool lane is not restricted to short sections of the HOV lane like in the southland but generally allowed.

 

What I heard is that some local agencies in SoCal requested that Caltrans look in to this - i.e they want to change to the better way we do things here in the Bay Area.

 

The way they do their HOV lanes is totally retarded.

 

Ever notice how our carpool lanes (and usually the freeway lanes as well) slow down pretty drastically around the merge points?

 

Now make the whole thing a merge point and see how that works out.

 

I think the advantage is that the merges and weaving become more spread out instead of concentrated near interchanges. Interestingly (at least to me) I heard recently that preliminary data suggests there's not much difference in safety (usually measured in accident rates) between NorCal and SoCal HOV lanes. I wouldn't be surprised if the were more violators in NorCal though.

 

That's another problem entirely. If you create an HOV lane by removing a normal traffic lane, that's not a good thing.

As far as I know this has never happened in California (even in NorCal) - they might reduce the shoulder to two feet and the lane widths to eleven feet but I've never seen them take a mixed flow lane and make in an HOV lane.

 

And finally, slow moving vehicles randomly popping in to the HOV lane can be an issue but I treat it just like cars changing lanes while I'm splitting - I'm aware and alert that it can happen at any time and I try to anticipate which vehicle is likely to move over into my lane.

Link to comment

It would be difficult to use the SoCal method in NorCal since many (most?) of the HOV lanes are part time, outside of the rush hour they function as normal lanes.

Link to comment
russell_bynum
It would be difficult to use the SoCal method in NorCal since many (most?) of the HOV lanes are part time, outside of the rush hour they function as normal lanes.

 

Which is another thing that never made sense to me.

 

Outside of commute time (i.e. when there's considerably less traffic on the road), do you really need an extra lane?

Link to comment

So, Russell, how would you optimize HOV lane use? We know that the norcal model doesn't make sense to you, but do you think the socal model is ideal?

Link to comment
russell_bynum

For the most part, I like the SoCal model. I think there are places where it goes way too long between openings, but otherwise, I like it.

 

We have a few sections where the carpool lane is physically walled off from the rest of the lanes for a long time. I've got mixed feelings about that. On the upside, traffic flows very well and you don't worry at all about someone merging in. But...if something goes wrong, like a wreck, then you're totally trapped. Plus, that sort of thing is often a prime example of what I was talking about with lanes that go on way too long without an opening.

Link to comment
Dave McReynolds

I'd just like to second what Tom said about the width of the freeways in the Bay Area. I just got back from spending Saturday night with some friends down there, and decided to ride down on my motorcycle. Am I ever glad I did! For some reason, on Saturday afternoon I80 was like a parking lot all the way from Sacramento to SF. I must have lane split 2/3 of the way from Sacramento to Vallejo. Then I rode around the top of the Bay and connected up with 101 in Marin county. 101 was just as congested as I80, and when I got there, I began lane splitting just as I had been doing on I80, only to rediscover just how narrow the lanes are and how much more careful you have be lane splitting there than on I80. And it seemed like the closer you got to the Golden Gate bridge, the narrower it got. I finally gave up when I got to the tunnel just before the Golden Gate bridge and just got in the line of traffic. I've been on 101 many times before on the motorcycle, and must have lane split there. Maybe it was the comparison that got me: for 50 miles of lane splitting on I80 it was as if I had my own personal motorcycle lane; for ten miles or so on 101 I felt like I should keep my elbows and knees in and my mirrors folded up!

Link to comment
russell_bynum

For sure, it gets pretty tight. LA has a few places like that, but for the most part, SoCal's lanes are much wider.

Link to comment
. . . for 50 miles of lane splitting on I80 it was as if I had my own personal motorcycle lane; for ten miles or so on 101 I felt like I should keep my elbows and knees in and my mirrors folded up!
coming north from orange county to la on the i5 is like that. south of the county line you've on a 15' wide hov lane barrier protected for much of its length with a 100' median on the left. then you cross the county line into la, where until just last year no real money had been spent on the road since ike was president. narrow lanes, bad asphalt patches, 3 inch wide longitudinal expansion joints just perfect for tire catching, and no hov, but wierd 1/2 miles on/off ramps where the fastest flow and shortest time are found. getting into and out of those far right lanes without getting clipped or stuck in the slow stuff can be a workout.
Link to comment

I really don't like the Socal HOV lanes. I had to sit out a rainy couple of hours of stop & go traffic; because it's suicidal to lane split on double yellow plastic stripes and road buttons.

 

The Prius example is a good one. Then when you come to an opening, if you want to exit, you have to cross 3 lanes quickly.

 

Norcal has painted lines with buttons, much better for lane splitting

 

My .02

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...