The idea of opening up L.A. freeway carpool lanes to everyone seemed like a pipe dream to us. After, the laws in California -- texting while behind the wheel, stoned while driving -- only seem to get more restrictive.
But L.A. area Assemblyman Mike Gatto's bill that would allow us to drive after-hours on those needlessly wide-open lanes that we paid for is actually a success. Now all we need is for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign it:
The bill, AB 405, passed the assembly this week 69-1, according to Gatto's office. That was its final legislative hurdle before Brown gets to sign it or rejected it.
What was the reason for leaving those "high-occupancy vehicle" lanes vacant at night anyway? To punish you because you don't have a Prius like all the cool nerds.
Seriously, punishment is part of the rationale: Drive alone? Then you cannot have. But who drives in a carpool at 10 p.m? Unlike the Bay Area, where you can use those lanes at night, L.A.'s HOVs are restricted to carpoolers and stickered hybrids 24/7.
Gatto's bill would prohibit new carpool lanes on freeways selected by the Department of Transportation from operating 24 hours starting July 1.
On May 1, 2015 the Department of Transportation would have to start opening up select carpool lanes to solo drivers during non-rush hours, too.
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Sounds totally reasonable.
Carpool lanes are supposed to provide an incentive for carpooling during peak travel hours, and be good for the environment. I support these goals. But, when motorists are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at midnight while carpool lanes sit empty, those goals are not met.