Chicago Sun-Times

Carpool Lanes: Your concerns

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On Thursday, the Illinois Tollway approved Gov. Rod Blagojevich's idea to build carpool lanes on the most congested parts of the tollroads. The Tollway officials thinks this will ease congestion and reduce emissions, by encouraging both carpooling and the use of hybrid vehicles. But they haven't quite figure out how to do it yet. See today's story.

There have been public hearings about this, but that doesn't mean everyone's questions are answered. Here's a letter:

Dear Mary, I am so upset about these car pool lanes on the tollway. My Mom lives in Tinley Park and I live in Niles. I travel everyweek different days of the week to see her and I travel it alone. There is no one to car pool with. Now does this mean I will have to pay more to just visit my Mom. That sounds insane. The car pool lanes should be in operation only during rush hour. How can I email the person running this operation? Please print whatever you want of my concerns. Thank you Sincerely, JoAnne

Here was my reply:

Hi, JoAnne, What the Tollway is saying is that if you're traveling alone, you can't drive in the carpool lane without paying a higher rate -- that doesn't mean you can't drive in the other lanes. But if you think this will interfere with getting where you're going on time, you could write a letter addressed to Illinois Tollway Chairman John Mitola at the Illinois Tollway 2700 Ogden Ave Downers Grove, IL 60515. Remember, this is still a work in progress -- it may be that the higher tolls will only apply during rush hour, so it may not affect your trips to see your Mom.

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5 Comments

I've driven in every major city in this nation and feel carpool lanes are good for traffic flow. However, the cities where it works are with roads that have 5 or more normal lanes in the heaviest areas. The Chicagoland area has just now got 4 lanes maximum to travel on and in times of heavy traffic it still isn't enough.
Our Politicians as for usual are playing catch up and they're way behind.
If you want to help traffic flow, how about enforcing the slower traffic keep right law of a few years ago. Has there ever been a ticket handed out to enforce that law. I don't think so because left lane Nazis are out there everyday blocking traffic that wants to pass them.
The carpool lane idea is too little, way too late!
And while I don't own a hybrid, mine is high mileage for it's class.

These HOT systems are great, and they are effective. They increase lane through-put, both in people per hour, because more people are in the vehicles using the lane, AND in cars per hour, because it is not congested so the cars actually move at highway speed.

This second part is what surprises most people. And the first part, everyone ignores, because we are trained to think about moving cars, not getting people where they are going.

The state has done not done a good job of communicating the benefits of the lane. Plus people don't like change or being asked to pay for anything directly if they don't have to (parking, "free"ways, garbage collection). States that have adopted these HOT lanes found that they are unpopular before and wildly popular afterwards. Suddenly even solo drivers have a choice: be stuck in traffic, or pay the variable fee to get where you are going.

These lanes don't force anything on anyone, and they do not raise general fees. They create options to move people more quickly, and they give you, the solo driver, a way out of gridlock.

This is great news. Chicago is probably the only big city in the US that doesn't offer car pool lanes. It is frustrating to see so many single occupancy cars clogging the highways close to Chicago. This change will force people to car pool, take fewer trips or even go for public transportation.

I can't wait to see this getting implemented.

So we are living through YEARS of widening construction just so they can take away a lane, unless you pony up more ca$h, or you spend $25k for bleeding edge technology, or you can come up with a wing man for every trip......only in Illinois. Just like the lottery was to help fund schooling. Things that make you go, huh????

By Mary Wisniewski on November 21, 2008 11:39 AM

The Tollway officials thinks this will ease congestion and reduce emissions, by encouraging both carpooling and the use of hybrid vehicles. But they haven't quite figure out how to do it yet.
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Ms. Wisniewski the way to carpooling is not to force it upon people but to create scenarios where it is feasible to do it. Where I live majority of people don't necessarily work in the same area and if so, they would still have to catch a bus or el to get to work once the designated driver parks their car. That does not save the other individuals money nor the driver making extra trips.

Carpooling is only feasible if four workers live relatively close by and work at the same company, or work close to one another to walk to their jobs and live relatively close in the same community to be picked up and dropped off, also.

I believe the hybrid is the best option, but the Big Three Auto-makers placate it does not know how to build a reliable cheap hybrid for the masses.

We can go to the moon and outer space. We can study marine life on the bottom of oceans. We even know how to build dams and canals to change the flow of massive amounts of water but we cannot build cheap-eco-friendly transportation regardless if it is for mass transit or private automobiles. I PERSONALLY THINK WE HAVE BEEN SOCIALLY ENGINEERED IN WANTING TO NOT BE ECO-FRIENDLY TO THE PLANET WE SHARE WITH OTHERS!

Think about it, we have no problem in destroying eco-systems for other living creatures on this planet for personal use because we simply WANT IT!

We don't NEED IT! We just WANT IT!

That is what we have not figured out yet!!

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Wisniewski published on November 21, 2008 11:39 AM.

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