Some Like It HOT: Metro Studying More Roads for Congestion Pricing

Metro will look at five corridors to convert HOV lanes to HOT lanes.  For a better look, visit our ##http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=34.086787,-118.042603&spn=0.491332,1.091766&t=h&z=10&msid=101639407016372706927.000494fe23c1718325ab4##Google Map##
Metro will look at five corridors to convert HOV lanes to HOT lanes. For a better look, visit our ##http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=34.086787,-118.042603&spn=0.491332,1.091766&t=h&z=10&msid=101639407016372706927.000494fe23c1718325ab4##Google Map##

Drivers willing to pay an extra fee for a congestion free commute could get some good news in the coming months.

Buried in a Metro Board Subcommittee report is an interesting update on Metro’s congestion pricing plans.  In addition to turning standard HOV Lanes on the I-10 and I-110 into HOV and toll lanes during non peak hour periods, a move that seems more about capacity expansion plan than congestion reduction; the MTA is also planning to study whether to bring congestion pricing in some form or another to five more stretches of Los Angeles County Highways.

Staff is proposing to study five stretches of highway to assess the feasibility of expanding their Congestion Pricing program.  If you can’t read the map above, the report recommends studying:

  • 1-1 05, from 1-405 to 1-605
  • 1-405, from 1-105 to 1-5 north of LAX
  • SR91, from 1-1 10 to the Orange County Line
  • SR57, from SR60 to the Orange County Line
  • Additional consideration may also be warranted for the 1-10 between 1-605 and the San Bernardino County Line.

These corridors were selected based on a criteria created by the federal government.  Every corridor was rated on connectivity, constructability, transit benefits and revenue potential.  This last category is a tricky issue for Metro who stated over and over again, in the face of harsh media criticism, that their congestion pricing plans are about reducing congestion and protecting investment in HOV lanes.  The “revenue potential” of these tolls was just a bonus.

At this point, Metro isn’t using the term “Express Lanes” to discuss the study.  “Express Lanes” is the term they created for their almost-congestion-pricing pilot plans for the I-10 and I-110 that will begin construction sometime in 2011.  As we discussed earlier, the Express Lanes concept, which doesn’t change any part of the road pattern during rush hour, would allow drivers of single passenger vehicles to buy a congestion free ride during non-peak hours by buying their way into the carpool lane.

Instead, Express Lanes’ impact on peak hour travel time is limited to the transit expansion projects that the federal government paid for to entice Metro to experiment with HOV/Express Lanes conversion.

As for these five corridors, Metro staff says its way to soon to know what form, if any, congestion pricing might take.  But one thing is for certain, Metro’s plans for congestion pricing in existing HOV lanes go way beyond a one year pilot study on the I-10 and I-110.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Metro Chief Talks HOT Lanes and Alternative Transportation

|
Today, Metro hosted it’s third "online chat" with Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor. Today’s topic was HOT Lanes and the regional transportation funding crisis. For the full chat, click here. The highlights of the chat were mostly congestion-pricing related. Metro has taken a beating for examining road pricing as a way to reduce congestion, and […]

Suburban Congressmen Introduce Anti-HOT Lanes Legislation

|
A pair of Southern California Republican Congressmen have authored legislation seeking to halt Metro’s plan to add congestion pricing in the form of HOT Lanes to two Los Angeles County Highways. Representatives Gary Miller (pictured) and David Dreier have introduced "the Free Way Act" which, according to a statement on Miller’s website would, "prohibit states and localities […]

Feds Helping Metro Move to HOT Lanes.

|
Traffic Patterns Could Change on the I-10 with the Coming of Congestion Pricing The Federal government has chipped in $213 million to help Metro convert HOV Lanes into a type of toll lane known as a HOT Lane.  HOT Lanes are managed toll lanes with a user fee varies based on the amount of people in […]

Metro Moves Forward with Confused “Congestion Pricing”

|
Yesterday, the Metro, aka LACMTA, announced the details of it’s HOT Lanes FAST Lanes Express Lanes proposal to take existing carpool lanes on the I-10 and I-110 freeways into and out of Downtown Los Angeles.  While the new plan has been tweaked from the one outlined last August in one aspect, it is still missing […]

Katz Blasts Back at Congestion Pricing Foes in S.G. Valley

|
Metro Board Member Richard Katz took aim at San Gabriel Valley Congresspeople who are fighting Metro’s congestion pricing plans for the I-10, I-110 and I-210.  Steve Hymon, who is suddenly the busiest writer in Los Angeles, wrote about the brewing fight over HOT Lanes at both the Bottleneck Blog and in his weekly Road Sage […]