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bstebbs View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Feb 2005 at 12:00pm
I'm reading on the board about how people want to get rid of Hybrids on the HOV lanes. I'm a Hybrid owner and of course I'd like to see them stay but I can see how people would appose them. However, I have a bigger issue that I'd like to get everyone's feedback.

Everyone knows that housing prices have continued to climb. And, in order for people to be able to afford to buy a house in this area, they either have to buy a small house, townhouse/condo, or live somewhere like Stafford and further south. Even in Stafford where I live, housing has gotten expensive.

So, for people right now looking to buy a new home, if they can't afford a $500k house (and most probably cannot), then they either have a buy a very small house/condo/townhouse somewhere not so far outside of the beltway in order to be able to make their work commute OR they buy a bigger house farther away. That's the choice.

So, if they buy further away, you're asking them to make a long commute to work. And, by taking away HOV privlidges for Hybrid drives, you're now asking them to make an even longer commute.

And, if the commute begins to be too far, then you're asking these people to now sell their house and move closer and buy a smaller house (because they won't be able to afford the same size house closer in) OR you're asking them to move out of the metro area.

Now, to be fair, I guess the same could be said for non-Hybrid drivers who see more Hybrids on HOV. However, I travel the HOV lanes in my Hybrid every day and although I see more Hybrids on the road, I don't see the additional conjestion that everyone seems to say is there. My commute is from Stafford until I reach the last exit before the beltway. So, I don't see the HOV lane traffic from the beltway down to the Pentagon. I'm sure it's gotten worse but again, I don't see that part. But, I can say that in the past 3 years, I have NOT seen an increase in commute between Stafford and Springfield on the HOV lanes. Maybe it's elsewhere that people are complaining about. Also, the few times that I have continued on HOV into the Pentagon area, I haven't noticed it being that bad. Maybe slower at times through there but nothing that would be causing BIG delays. I don't think Hybrids are causing BIG HOV delays.

But again, what are we to do about this situation? If you keep the Hybrid exception, then it's an option that people have to eliviate some of their commute time up and down the Rt. 95 corridor. If you take that away, then you're adding to their commute time and in some instances, will force people out of the metro area.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WM_DC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2005 at 9:11pm
I agree with you about the bigger issue. No one can afford to live closer to DC because of the housing prices are outrageous.

You asked what the traffic is like ..... I leave home between 7:45 to 8 am and commute all the way into DC. I get to DC between 8:45 to 9 am and it is usually backed up to the Pentagon. To me ... this is not too bad. When I have gone in earlier (e.g. leaving home around 6:30 to 7 am) ..... the congestion is actually worse.

My friend who uses the 610 lots says that many folks have moved up their work hours because the lots fill up faster .... everyone is trying to get a parking space so folks are going in earlier. Why are so many people trying to get a parking space ... a lot of folks have moved to the area and this also explains some of the increased congestion in the morning.

So while hybrids have increased congestion, the congestion has gotten worse too because more people are going in earlier (due to the parking situation[:0]).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bnvus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2005 at 12:48pm
Unfortunately you are the exception and not the rule. Picking up sluggers is not in your favor since you do not go into the city. Majority of Hybrid owners drive into the city everyday. The spot you get off is the first sign of congestion in the morning between 6AM-7AM. We affectionately call it cheater time. It is even worse in the summer.

However let us not forget the afternoon comute which is also a sore subject. Especially during the summertime.

I live in Stafford also and use the 610 lot. I am fortunate though as I can walk (everyday) to the lot so I do not take up a parking spot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dickboyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2005 at 2:06pm
Yes, housing prices are an issue. Part of the cost of the home is tax to support mass transit. You pay it in Fairfax, but not Prince William. People close in subsidize those that live further out. For the cost of the commute, business could be built in Stafford. Except for NIMBY. Instead of building METRO, build business in Fredricksburg or Doswell.

The big cost driver is availability and location. There is only so much land available for houses. I once lived 13 miles from the capital. Five acres cow pasture on one side, ten acre woods on another side, undeveloped commercial property on the other and five house to the acre max on the other side. Now there is five to twenty dwelling units per acre on all sides with most of the houses in the $500,000 range. I can't afford to live there. So I became an equity emigrant.

Will A.P. Hill be affected by BRAC? Excellent location for Army that is still at Belvoir or consolidating any military at BRAC bases in the DC area. Also an excellent location for an east coast transportation center. Access to 301 and all.

Are there any mode switch slugs? Are there Stafford slugs that you could take to a lot further north? At which point they would switch to some other mode. Even (shudder) METRO. On your way home, you could swing by and get a slug at the same place.

Did you ever think the gallon you save with your hybrid leverages ten or more gallons onto people in the other cars by added congestion in the HOV lanes?

I don't think the effort is to get rid of hybrids in the HOV lanes so much as it is to get rid of drive alones. Convert drive alones to slug drivers or slug passengers. BTW, slug drivers are known to be among the most intelligent of all life forms. It seems they have a quiet time twice a day to solve the world's problems. Even though there are three other people in the car, lack of congestion makes the trip smooth.

If you really are serious about spreading the good news of hybrids, you might share the ride with slugs and expose them to they joys of less fuel used.

See another thread on Slug-Lines that is doing a comparison of ride quality in different types and styles of cars.

quote:
Originally posted by bstebbs
[br]I'm reading on the board about how people want to get rid of Hybrids on the HOV lanes. I'm a Hybrid owner and of course I'd like to see them stay but I can see how people would appose them. However, I have a bigger issue that I'd like to get everyone's feedback.

Everyone knows that housing prices have continued to climb. And, in order for people to be able to afford to buy a house in this area, they either have to buy a small house, townhouse/condo, or live somewhere like Stafford and further south. Even in Stafford where I live, housing has gotten expensive.

So, for people right now looking to buy a new home, if they can't afford a $500k house (and most probably cannot), then they either have a buy a very small house/condo/townhouse somewhere not so far outside of the beltway in order to be able to make their work commute OR they buy a bigger house farther away. That's the choice.

So, if they buy further away, you're asking them to make a long commute to work. And, by taking away HOV privlidges for Hybrid drives, you're now asking them to make an even longer commute.

And, if the commute begins to be too far, then you're asking these people to now sell their house and move closer and buy a smaller house (because they won't be able to afford the same size house closer in) OR you're asking them to move out of the metro area.

Now, to be fair, I guess the same could be said for non-Hybrid drivers who see more Hybrids on HOV. However, I travel the HOV lanes in my Hybrid every day and although I see more Hybrids on the road, I don't see the additional conjestion that everyone seems to say is there. My commute is from Stafford until I reach the last exit before the beltway. So, I don't see the HOV lane traffic from the beltway down to the Pentagon. I'm sure it's gotten worse but again, I don't see that part. But, I can say that in the past 3 years, I have NOT seen an increase in commute between Stafford and Springfield on the HOV lanes. Maybe it's elsewhere that people are complaining about. Also, the few times that I have continued on HOV into the Pentagon area, I haven't noticed it being that bad. Maybe slower at times through there but nothing that would be causing BIG delays. I don't think Hybrids are causing BIG HOV delays.

But again, what are we to do about this situation? If you keep the Hybrid exception, then it's an option that people have to eliviate some of their commute time up and down the Rt. 95 corridor. If you take that away, then you're adding to their commute time and in some instances, will force people out of the metro area.



dickboyd@aol.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2005 at 1:13pm
bstebbs-- You may travel I95 at a different time in the am, but I travel on I95 going into DC and generally get up to the HOV entrance about 6:30pm - 6:45pm. For the past few months, there is an HOV back up in the Woodbridge area and then again at the Lorton area - pretty much every day and it is steadily getting worse. I know you don't go past Springfield, but there is also a regular back up starting around Landmark. A year ago, NONE of these areas had back ups - now you can expect them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2005 at 3:40pm
How much of that backup is because of the hybrid exemption = and how much is because of the overall population/job growth? If 100K jobs were added in the DC area over the past 2 years, is it any wonder that the roads get clogged? Seems like the regular lanes are taking the brunt of it, even with the hybrid exemption. I figure each and every car in the regular lanes is there for a reason, and it isn't to sit in traffic. Taking hybrids from HOV lanes, which USUALLY travel at the speed limit (while regular lanes average about 25 mph), and moving even one of them to the regular lanes only makes it worse. Hybrid exemption, in addition to getting people to buy them for the environment, also serves as a way to balance the traffic flow. When HOV lanes ROUTINELY move at 40 mph, it will be time to find a different way to balance the flow. If the exemption is not renewed, the only alternative to balance the flow is to have a manned toll booth set up at the entrances, and raise the toll until you get the right balance between the reversible lanes and the regular lanes. Can even make the toll graduated so 3 in a car is free, 2 pays some, 1 pays more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MDC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2005 at 2:43am
Since the number of hybrids has probably tripled in the last 18 months... Ending the exemption would put many of those hybrids in commuter parking lots, don't you think?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2005 at 8:02am
quote:
Originally posted by MDC
[br]Since the number of hybrids has probably tripled in the last 18 months... Ending the exemption would put many of those hybrids in commuter parking lots, don't you think?



Even if "many" are in the commuter lot, the regular lane congestion would increase from those NOT in the commuter lot = meaning that the HOV lanes which already travel better than the regular lanes really don't get a huge benefit, while the regular lanes only get worse. If the balance won't be met with the exemption, the only other way is through market forces; ie, toll.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul HOVillegal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2005 at 9:40am
I believe your point is mute. Prices are controlled by demand and supply. Obviously, the desire is spend less time on the road while getting to your job. The supply of jobs in northern virginia and dc has been growing at a steady pace and very healthy at this time. So, we all know were the jobs are. Therefore, the demand for housing in northern virginia is high because everyone wants a shorter commute to work. Hmm, does this sound familiar?

Hybrid contribute to the high prices of oil, i.e $53.00 per barrel. Do the math, 25 mpg x 3 person= 75 mpg vs. 45 mpg x 1 person=45 mpg. The solution, if you drive a Hybrid, pickup 2 more passengers.

OK, the federal governement and State of virginia have encouraged the production of Hybrids so lets do away with allowing single occupant Hybrids. I have seen the number of Hybrids grow exponentially and now have a significant impact on HOV lanes. I just hope someone is smart enough to figure this thing out.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VA4ver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2005 at 10:34am
I don't think the hybrids contribute to the price of oil -- I'd like to see proof of that one. It think it's all the gas guzzlers that we buy. It is because the average American household has how many cars? At least 2. Also it is the fact that we are a large country so we drive EVERYWHERE.

We also do not have an adequate public transportation system to move people w/o cars. In Germany we used to hop trains to get from point A to B, strauss cars, bikes, etc. But Germany is also about the size of Virginia and isn't as rural.

What if households decided to reduce the number of cars on the roads? Think the American Way will support that type of change? Also I read somewhere that China is sucking down a lot of oil. Doesn't OPEC use their control over the oil as a way to keep countries in line?

As for the housing prices, count your blessing if you have already purchased! As long as the high paying jobs are here, the prices mostly likely won't go down.
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