Metro experiments with toll lanes on 110 and 10 Freeways
Twenty-five cents to $1.40 per mile
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Ground will be broken tomorrow on a project that will convert carpool lanes on stretches of the Harbor (110) and San Bernardino (10) freeways into toll lanes accessible to solo drivers.
The so-called Express Lanes project will transform about 25 miles of carpool lanes on the highways into high occupancy toll, or HOT lanes, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Solo drivers will be required to pay a toll that will range from 25 cents to $1.40 per mile, depending on traffic.
On the Harbor Freeway, carpools with two or more people will still be able to use the ExpressLanes free of charge. On the 10 Freeway, however, only carpools with three or more people will get free access to the lanes at all times, according to Metro.
Carpoolers with only two passengers will have to pay to use the lanes during peak hours—5 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.—but can access them free during non-peak hours.
“We’re really trying to encourage people to get out of their cars, but we realize the fact that some people have to drive,” Metro spokesman Rick Jager said. “This affords them the opportunity, for a toll, to get into the HOT lane and to get where they need to go quicker.”
The project, which will be funded by a $210 million federal grant, is modeled after a similar toll lane on the 91 Freeway in Orange County.
Jager said the lane changes are a pilot project and will be evaluated after one year of operation.
He said Metro has not projected a number of drivers who will use the new toll lanes, but the agency does expect to generate about $20 million in tolls.
The project includes 11 miles of existing carpool lanes in both directions on the 110 between the Artesia Transit Center and Adams Boulevard near downtown and 14 miles on the San Bernardino Freeway between Union Station and the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who took over as chair of the MTA Board last week, and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will be joined by federal, state and local transportation officials for the ceremonial groundbreaking at the Artesia Transit Center.
When the lanes are complete, drivers will be able to install a small transponder on their windshields that can be read by overhead sensors. Cameras will be able to tell if vehicles are exempt from having to pay the toll. People who install a transponder will also be able to flip a switch to an off position if they enough people in the car to qualify as a carpool.
If speeds in the Express Lanes begin to decline, the toll will either go up to the highest price, and they will shut down completely to solo drivers when speeds drop below 45 mph. Jager said there will be a sufficient number of digital and other signs to convey the status of the lanes in real time.
The California Highway Patrol will be responsible for issuing tickets when drivers are in the new HOT lanes illegally.
The new lanes require the installation of 22 toll transponder readers, 27 electronic messaging signs and other infrastructure that will demand some lane closures, primarily late at night. Metro expects to have toll lanes open on both highways by early 2013.
By Richie Duchon | City News Service
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority did its usual “rope-a-dope” with the Black community last week on the most important infrastructure investment of the next 100 years.
According to its own analysis, by realigning existing funds, Metro could cover the costs for two key features of the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line—construction of a Leimert Park Village light rail station and a tunnel through Park Mesa Heights.
The funding study, requested by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, examines ways to pay for a rail station at Leimert Park Village (estimated cost $131 million) and moving an 11-block section of the rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard below ground (estimated cost $269 million).
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—More than $30 million in federal stimulus funds has been set aside for buying property and doing other preliminary work in the Los Angeles area for a high-speed rail system that would run from San Diego to the Bay Area, transit officials announced.
California High-Speed Rail Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said the money might be used to buy Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, where three segments of the line would converge.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising—or necessary—a showdown will be.
Now that the parade of labor union members and leaders, bus riders, politicians and ordinary citizens have voiced their overwhelming support for an historic Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved it, the next step [in the process] is to get an OK from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA).
Once the FTA has signed off on the agreement, the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail line will be the first project to begin construction under the new guidelines.