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SpongeBob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2004 at 9:54am
TDAR20 and Gateway: You need to read the proposals. They clearly and unequivocally state that carpools and HOVer's will need to be controlled to reserve space for paying customers. This isn't my opinion, it is the opinion of the companies that are trying to build the lanes. They said it publicly in the Washington Post. The HOT system is a misnomer: it is a Toll Road, and will not contain a provision for high occupancy once it is up and running. It can't.

Second, it is my opinion that HOT will clog the HOV lanes. It is my opinion, and the opinion of almost everyone else posting on this board or who has read anything about the matter. It is the obvious outcome of adding more cars to the HOV lanes. How can adding more vehicles NOT add to the congestion? You'll have everybody paying to get into those lanes -- at least until they become as clogged up as the rest of the grid.

Finally, it should be obvious that it doesn't matter how many lanes you have on I-395: the determining factor in the traffic flow equation is the carrying capacity of the outflow streets. Making it possible for more CARS to get to the border of DC is a waste of time: the goal should be to get more PEOPLE to the border of DC. And that means HOV-4. And that will require more parking lots and more buses. Not more SOV's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tdar20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2004 at 10:35am
Ok Spongebob, your full of negatives here, I agree with some but not all. Whats your solution to the problem of HOV lanes 3 to 5 years from now if nothing is done? At least the HOT alternative is an alternative. Not a perfect one but one that extends the HOV past F'Burg. Never could deal well with people that only offer problems and never a way to fix them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2004 at 10:44am
The other thing I would like to comment on is the argument that things are getting so bad that doing anything would be better than the current situation. To this I say, Wait a minute! Yes, traffic is horrible on the beltway and 95, but the HOV system on 95 is one of the only things in the region that works fine so DONT ruin the best thing we have going just because of problems on the regular lanes. The fundamental decision, relating to the HOT on the 95/395 corredor is whether we are going to give up on HOV and go over to toll. There are other options that could be explored including a regular toll lane system south of Woodbridge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tdar20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2004 at 2:20pm
Bob I agree with you that it works well now but projecting 3 to 5 years in the future what will happen? As far as I can tell, VDOT has its head in the sand and not putting any resources beyond a study to solve the problem. Both ends, the getting into DC part over the bridges and the heading south part near Quantico. I for one would pay higher road taxes as long as I knew they were being used for extending the HOV lanes south. I know that it is going to cost either way. Nothing will be free here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2004 at 10:21am
Precisely, TDAR, but you're missing the point here: there WON'T BE HOV. It will be a TOLL ROAD. A PRIVATELY OWNED toll road on PUBLIC land. (Don't mean to shout, but I can't figure out how to underline for emphasis. Pretend I'm speaking reasonably [8D].)

Please read the 1995 Public-Private Road Partnership agreement signed into law by the Virginia assembly. It basically abdicated the state's responsibility to provide transportation services, allowing anyone with enough money to solve the problem for the state and reap the benefits. That opened the door to Fluor and Clark.

I wouldn't mind higher taxes, either. Heck, I've posted elsewhere saying charge $5/day for parking at the HOV lots and do a Fastpass on the car for $1 per trip 24/7 on the HOV lanes with the current restrictions kept in place. In other words (and this is a solution, you'll notice, not a complaint,) keep the current system but add a revenue stream. I'd also be all for HOV-4 provided we can get more parking spaces. I also think there should be cops at every exit and entrance. I'd be happy even if they were specially deputized private forces managed by a contractor, as long as they stopped the cheaters. And I'd extend the HOV hours: 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.

Eyes on the goal here, my Sluggies: carry more people to the DC borders in fewer vehicles. Toll lanes (I refuse to subscribe to the HOT misnomer) do the reverse.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tdar20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2004 at 12:41pm
SpongeBob....I did not miss the point, just have a different view. One way or another you will be paying to ride. Maybe it will be more crowded with the HOT lanes maybe not. I have seen various results from the California experiment with them that supports both sides of the arguement. Just like politics.....I can give you any answer you want depending on who is paying me and what outcome you want. I for one support them for the single reason of extending the lanes past F'burg. The only way those lanes are going to be extended is through a private effort. If it is going to cost me to drive on them with other paying customers then so be it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2004 at 2:17pm
Sorry, Tdar: physics will defeat you every time. 1. The CA results are a mixed bag, agreed, but nowhere do they replicate the situation here. In other words, that data is not indicative of what we can expect by eliminating HOV. For one thing, we have the world's best, yes, BEST HOV! And it is a unique situation we need to be careful to preserve.
2. Extending the lanes to Fredericksburg is a waste of time. Right now, the lanes are completely open Northbound until the Dale City exit. So there is no morning pressure to relieve. The problem, as you know, is in the evening, and that is completely the effect of having a poorly designed merge. It bugs me, too, because I live off 234 and get stuck in the pre-Stafford mess frequently. I don't know how to eliminate it short of extending the HOV hours to midnight on Friday or something like that.

But really, Tdar... do you want to pay to use a public highway FOREVER? Toll roads are a regressive tax element.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tdar20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2004 at 7:29am
Physics?? Now thats a real streach.......nothing in this world is free.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote waterelf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2004 at 8:39am
Spongebob, I don't know what HOV you are in northbound each morning, but I travel each day from Fredericksburg and the backups start way before the Garrisonville (143) exit. My carpool has even talked about starting 15 minutes earlier just to make up the time difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2004 at 9:53am
I wasn't aware of that situation, Elf. All I can say is I get on I-95 everyday at Rte. 234 and can remember only a couple of times in the past ten years that there was a backup before the HOV entrance at the truck scales. (Of course, I'm talking about once the lanes were extended that far!)

So if there is a pocket of congestion around Fredericksburg, then that seems a different thing altogether from the daily backup which starts around the Purple Heart Bridge and extends down to Dale City. It is regular commuter congestion which HOV lanes are intended to alleviate, not isolated pockets of congestion, which yours is if it doesn't connect to the standing I-95 back-ups.

However, Tdar's point about the future is worth tackling: Stafford and F'burg (and PWC, too,) will only continue to grow. We will eventually need the HOV extended to F'burg. But remember, it took 15 years to get it across the Occoquan. Now we face a long empty stretch across the Marine Corps base. To say that we need to eliminate HOV for everyone on the I-95 corridor and replace it with a toll road just so a private company can provide service to Stafford and F'burg commuters, well, that doesn't seem fair to those of us who are using the HOV now. There's a budget squeeze in Richmond, true, but these things don't last forever; eventually there will be money again for building roads. It's no reason to scrap the world's best HOV lane, throw our hands up in the air, and turn over the future of Virginia's highways to a for-profit company. If you do it today, in your silly impatience, your children and grandchildren will be paying tolls on these roads. It's FOREVER, folks!

As for physics, I forgot to point out the obvious: the flowrate through a system is determined by its narrowest point. Make I-395 twenty lanes wide if you want-- it won't do any good. The Pentagon exit, Memorial Bridge, and the 14th St. Bridge ain't gonna get any wider. They cause backups already. Add more vehicles, as the toll roads will, without question, and the backups will get so bad the system will shut down.

I can offer that Prince William County has many houses for sale, and if you don't like any of them, why, we'll build you another while you wait. Hold on, just let me knock down these trees over here....
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