31 comments

  1. chefdavid says:

    I am calling this the VIP lane. Will the library systems get some HOV Passes like they do for the state parks ? A bunch of money will be spent on parking lots and equipment to collect tolls and it won’t help the traffic and will probably not break even if it had to pay for the construction, r/w aquisition.

  2. Bill30097 says:

    This is one of the stupidest ideas I ever heard of next to stoplights at entrances to Interstates where the idea is to build speed to merge safely with traffic. Woried about money? Don’t waste billions on the I85/316 Taj Mahal interchange!

    • Lady Thinker says:

      The traffic lights mid-way down the entrance ramp didn’t work in the sixties so I am stunned that Georgia wasted that money again because they failed to learn from previous experience. One of the many problems with this idea is the gridlock on the roadway, specifically the turn lanes, in trying to turn left to get onto the backed up entrance ramp.

        • Lady Thinker says:

          What breed is your dog? Mine is a Lhasa.

          In re-reading my post, I wasn’t clear. What I meant to say is that system didn’t work in the sixties because of the gridlock of trying to enter the entrance ramp to get onto the expressway. Some people would be bumper to bumper in making the left turn so that when the traffic lights on the feeder lanes changed, no one could go anywhere until the intersection cleared, then drivers would do the same thing again, block the intersection in trying to turn left so that ongoing traffic couldn’t move and there was gridlock. When Atlanta Police had motorcycles to spare, the motor officers would sit on the sidelines to discourage that problem. I’m curious as to whether that problem is still occuring, the left-turning people blocking oncoming traffic.

          • That seems to be a problem at all crowded intersections. My proposal would be smart lights (or just someone sitting at a camera) that turns a light red once the intersection clogs – but get this – keeps all sides red until it declogs.

            If you’ve ever gotten in a traffic jam outside of perimeter mall (before they just gave up on technology and put people up there) this was a big problem. You’d be waiting on a feeder street to get back on Ashford Dunwoody and the left turners and even the people going straight would clog the light and wouldn’t be cleared out during the whole green cycle for the feeder street.

            So my proposal would essentially be that the lights are on timers, for example Ashford Dunwoody gets 3 minutes and feeder street gets 1 minutes. If Ashford Dunwoody clogs 90 seconds into it’s green, go ahead and turn the light red, wait the 90 seconds and then turn the feeder light green. Leave both lights red and let the intersection clear up before you just recreate the problem by giving another side green.

            • Lady Thinker says:

              With the technology available today, your idea just might work. Now what is your dog breed? I am really very curious.

  3. I’m all in favor of this. I’m tired of my taxes going to pay for ever more endless roads to nowhere I actually want to go. Make it easier to put more buses on the roads (particularly BRT) and trains. Encourage people to move either near their job or along the path of a transit corridor that makes sense.

    Roads should get a reasonable number of people from place A to place B in a reasonable amount of time. Set up the HOT tolls to give commuters a faster option but price it accordingly. Tell people that for $10 you can shave 10 minutes off your drive from downtown to Buford and let the market sort out people who’ve chosen to pay with their time and those who value getting their a bit faster during rush hour.

    As for the lights that control access to the interstates I’m all for them. Every one I’ve seen stops you with a long distance to go to where you actually have to merge. Unless you’re driving a jalopy you should be able to get up to merger speed by the time you get to that point. What I don’t like is when I’m driving along and all of a sudden a block of 10 cars driving within 10 feet each of each other needs to merge in all of a sudden. Once you’re on the interstate you shouldn’t have to slow down until you’re ready to get off, make people slow down and wait before they get on, so far I like what I see with the traffic lights the other point being they’re hardly ever on except during the most congested times.

    • griftdrift says:

      I agree. I find myself actually cursing when I see them turned off on the PIB on ramp. Anyone who travels 285 on the inner loop at 5:30 knows one thing – they work.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    The Augusta Chronicle doesn’t know what’s its talking about. The I-85 lane will be free to minimum 3 person and not the current 2 person carpools.

    The I-85 HOT lane won’t much reduce congestion. The HOV lane is currently at capacity with 2 person car pools. Hence the change to 3 person minimum to create HOT lane capacity to sell to tollpayers. The rub is that the tolls may not recover operating and $50,000,000 capital cost.

    I’m all for HOT lanes if tolls fully recover costs. If they don’t, the result is the punishment of 2 person car pools and general purpose lane users subsidizing tollpayers, without reduction in congestion.

    • Harry says:

      I-85 commuters are going to be ticked off, and commuters vote. Having more ticked off voters may defeat the proposed 2012 sales tax increase.

        • Harry says:

          People arse starting to be fed up with meaningless stimulus. These HOV lanes will just cost a lot of money while further exacerbating the I-85 mess.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          The I-85 HOT lane, as a demonstration project, will highlight local transportation market economics. Either users will pay the full cost for uncongested or less congested travel, or they won’t.

          BTW, HOT lanes don’t get any cheaper that this, i.e. tolls aren’t paying for the lane itself, only the the lane’s operating and hopefully capital cost—general road users paid for the lane construction. If tolls don’t recover I-85 HOT lanes costs, HOT lanes are probably a bust anywhere else in Georgia, or they can be built to serve as a government transportation subsidy for those willing to pay some, not their full fair share, more. I hope they pay for themselves.

          • Harry says:

            They don’t get any “cheaper” than this because they’ve already been built with taxpayer money!! Now they’re being retrofitted for tolls thereby requiring that taxpayers pay for them twice, while removing a non-toll lane which will further congest traffic. Yeah, brilliant.

            • Dave Bearse says:

              It remains to be seen who ultimately pays for I-85 HOT lane operation and technology. The HOT lanes won’t reduce congestion, but they won’t worsen it.

              • Harry says:

                So what’s the point, other than to raise taxes from a select group of commuters? Yes, these lanes will move the political class freeloaders to the airport and state capitol quicker, but at the expense of everybody else.

                • Dave Bearse says:

                  Question to GDOT as reported in Monday’s AJC: Will the tolls pay enough to OPERATE (CAPS=Emphasis mine) the road?

                  A: Not for AT LEAST the first three to five years.

                  It’s increasingly clear there’s no expectation to ever recover the $50,000,000 capital cost. And who better than than wealthy that will be the predominant users of the lanes to exert the influence necessary to insure tolls never recover the operating and capital costs?

  5. Cloverhurst says:

    Kudos to DOT, under the leadership of Vance Smith and board members like Chairman Rudy Bowen, Bill Kuhlke and Brandon Beach we are beginning to get results.

    Keep up the good work

    • Bill30097 says:

      After seeing the tremendous waste of $$$ on I85/316 and the various several mile long exit/entrance ramps on I85 My response is that you are either as moronic as DOT or work there or both

  6. Scott65 says:

    …and how many years have we been waiting for a solution to the GA400 to 85N interchange which now dumps you on Sidney Marcus to Buford Hwy to Cheshire Bridge Rd just to get back on 85N. Id still like to deck the moron who designed that one (better yet he should be forced to drive it every day at rush hour)

  7. Lady Thinker says:

    One problem is the collection of the tolls. Will there be booths or will one purchase a sticker to go through like the far left lane on 400? There have been several news articles on people using the far left lane and never paying a toll. That money, which is a very significant amount, still has not been collected. And once the money has been paid for that lane, will the tolls ever come down as has been promised on 400?

    • There will be transponders that are automatically read like the cruise lanes in the middle of 400. I wasn’t aware that the fines for the violators of the cruise lanes weren’t being collected. Any idea why that might be? Are we mailing out the fines and people just aren’t paying them? I know when I was in Ontario, their toll roads didn’t have toll booths either. But the transponder readers you drove under were filled with cameras that actually read the license plates of cars without transponders. Here’s the Wikipedia article about the 407 Express Toll Route…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_407

      • Lady Thinker says:

        Thanks for your link. Here is a link where CBS did a story on toll violators. One man, Dennis Larson, owes over $77,ooo for 1711 violations using two cars. He has no intention of paying it. The article also names other violators.

        http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/23912061/detail.html

        I guess the toll fines goes on the honor system. You get a letter asking you to pay the toll violation of $25 and if you are honest, you pay, if you are not honest, you ignore the letter.

        CBS said the toll authority granted an amnesty type deal and offered to settle the fines for a fraction of the costs. The violators did not take advantage of the offer. I am wondering why the toll authority has not sued the people.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      No booths, maybe no sticker.

      It’s required that there be a transponder in place on any vehicle using HOT lanes, including 3+ person car pool vehicles. Road users that alternate between paying tolls and car pool use of the lane also have to report a change in status, i.e. tollpaying or carpooling, prior to using the lane after a change in status. Want to bet solo drivers will be going on-line while driving to report a change to tollpaying status?

      I’d guess the transponder requirement will even apply to Gwinnett County transit and any school bus use of the lane so as to save the enforecment expense of false alarms.

      This demonstration project will show that DOT can monitor the location of vehicles on public roads roads at a lane by lane level, technology that will be necessary for future transportation taxation based on when and where you drive (with a concomitant result that DOT will know the whereabouts of your vehicle is at most any time).

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