Ever get ready for a night out and hop on the freeway in anticipation, only to meet total gridlock … at 10 in the evening?

Yeah. That's L.A. for you. And what's really infuriating is when you look to your left and see a wide open ghost town of a lane. The carpool lane. A bill making its way through Sacramento would open that extra lane for your nighttime enjoyment:

AB 405 by Mike Gatto of Burbank would allow “single-occupancy vehicles to access the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes during non-peak hours,” according to a statement from his office.

Yes, you'd be able to use those lanes your tax dollars pay for — lanes meant to alleviate traffic and encourage carpooling during rush hour, not after-hours — later at night.

The bill passed the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee unanimously yesterday, Gatto's office announced.

While carpool or HOV lanes are open to commuters after-hours in the Bay Area, it's not the case in L.A. You're punished because you don't drive a Prius. And that's not right. Gatto:

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.

Credit: Albert Valles / LA Weekly Flickr pool.

Credit: Albert Valles / LA Weekly Flickr pool.

The bill says no new carpool lanes will be established after July 1, 2014, unless they're open to all after-hours. It also specifies that stretches of the 134, 170, 5, 210 and 57 be open to single motorists during non-rush hours.


There is no reason for drivers to be stuck in traffic when a late-night accident or mysterious slowing clogs the rightmost freeway lanes, while the carpool lane sits empty.

Are you behind this, party people?

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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