Los Angeles County’s has opened 14 miles of express lanes on the San Bernardino Freeway. Back in November it was the city’s Harbor Freeway that was set up with this system. The idea of course is to ease congestion.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says, according to the L.A. Times that, “This shows we are willing to address traffic, gridlock and congestion in the region. Other cities are going to do this across the county. We are going to see smarter use of highways.”
This is a venture into “congestion pricing” and the goal is to keep traffic flowing at about 45 mph. It has the usual quirks: drivers pay more, solo drivers are blocked if speeds fall too low, solo drivers can’t use HOT lanes in rush hour unless they pay.Pack a vehicle like clowns in a cab and you travel for nothing. L.A. would seem to be an acid test. There are no “minor” backups on L.A.freeways. And, as Villaraigosa says, other cities are waiting to see if it works in his city. I drove L.A. freeways for years, and for just as many years played the map game (pre-GPS) of finding short cuts. If we look at my W-L it’s probably about 50-50. But anything that cuts into commute congestion is extremely valuable to our health and to the robustness of local businesses. Congestion pricing has been one of the most discussed anti-congestion options. It’s up to you L.A. L.A.