News Alert
Suspected Serial Arsonist Arrested After Rash of…

Clash Over Carpool Lanes on I-80

The El Cerrito City Council is being asked to take a stand against a bill by state Assemblywoman Fiona Ma of San Francisco to open I-80 carpool lanes to all vehicles during commute hours in the reverse-commute direction.

On the El Cerrito City Council agenda Tuesday night is a resolution opposing a bill by state Assemblywoman Fiona Ma to open carpool lanes on Interstate 80 to all vehicles during commute hours in the "reverse commute direction."

The bill, AB 2200, would apply to I-80 between the Carquinez Bridge and the Bay Bridge. It would suspend the carpool lane requirement of three people in a vehicle for eastbound traffic between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and for westbound traffic between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The law would expire on Jan. 1, 2020.

The proposed City Council resolution says that Ma's bill would slow buses and thus reduce ridership on public transit and increase greenhouse gases. The council measure also says the bill would undermine a $93-million multi-jurisdiction plan to install ramp metering lights and other congestion-reducing traffic controls on the freeway. That plan – the I-80 Integrated Corridor Mobility (ICM) Project – won El Cerrito City Council support most recently on March 26.

The council resolution parallels an April 20 letter sent to Ma by the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC). The council measure was proposed by City Councilwoman Janet Abelson, the WCCTAC chair.

An analysis of Ma's bill by the Assembly Transportation Committee's chief consultant, Janet Dawson, says Ma "asserts that HOV lanes in this corridor are not fully utilized at all times. She cites as evidence recent HOV (high-occupany vehicle) volume reports demonstrating that while the HOV lanes may be at or near capacity in the morning (approximately 1750 vehicles per hour), only 200 vehicles per hour used the HOV lane in the reverse commute direction."

The bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee on a 9-2 vote on April 23. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Assemby Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

Lawrence Radcliffe May 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Yay! its about time we opened up the non-commute direction to all drivers. I've done the reverse commute from El Cerrito to Pinole for decades. I couldn't believe it when the HOV lanes were finished, but were off limits to the vast majority of vehicles in the non-commute direction. It made no sense then, and it still makes no sense to see the HOV lane underutilized. After all, we all paid for it with our taxes, didn't we? Lawrence Radcliffe El Cerrito
Toni Mayer May 15, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I agree. I commuted for more than 30 years between El Cerrito and Martinez, then Vallejo. It made no sense to me to have carpool restrictions in the non-commute direction. I say enforce the restrictions in the direction of the commute and lift it counter-commute.
Valerie Snider May 16, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Car pool lanes seem like a good idea in theory. But, do they really encourage car pooling? How many people decide to car pool so they can use the HOV lane? (I suspect none.) It's only beneficial if three commuters who would otherwise be in three cars decide to take one car, but the logistics of that are complicated. Why should a mom driving her toddlers to preschool be allowed to use a car pool lane?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »