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(Washington Post)   The first section of the DC Beltway's new HOT lanes opened this weekend, let's see how they handle the first Monday morning rush hour. 6:11 - HOT lanes open, 6:38 - 4 car collision at entrance shuts down HOT lanes   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 33
    More: Fail, beltway, High occupancy/toll and express toll lanes, dc beltway, car accidents, rush hour, express lanes, E-ZPass, Virginia State Police  
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9694 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Nov 2012 at 9:23 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-11-19 09:38:51 AM  
3 votes:
They rigged up a ramp where anyone can get on the thing and only once you're committed do you realize that there's no toll-taker option. You either have the EZ-Pass radio transponder or you don't. The sign informing you "EZ-Pass Required" is little more than the sign you might have in your neighborhood reading, "Cloaca Lane" or "Mutton Road".

And once you're in, there's no way out NOR do you have any idea what fate awaits you if you don't pay the toll. Could be the Drone comes out of the Pentagon and Hellfire's your illicit motoring ass. Could be the whole thing locks up like those giant steel plates that come up out of the ground around the Capitol Building and other super-secure locations around here. Rather than risk such a fate, the only alternative is to back your shiat on up the ramp to freedom and hope your friendly fellow motorists will take sympathy on you.

Turns out it's a minor fine if you don't have the EZ-Pass, something like $12.50 plus a $1.50 handling fee. They should make the EZ-Pass Required sign a GIANT farking billboard, screaming at you, some radio message broadcasting at 10 Million Megawatts across the entire radio spectrum so that no matter what you're tuned to it'll scream "YOU MUST HAVE AN EZ-PASS OR THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WILL HOLD YOU DOWN AND ADMINISTER AN ANGRY JAILHOUSE FISTFARK!" or some such warning.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-19 02:25:05 PM  
2 votes:
- There have been "www.495expresslanes.com" signs up along this corridor for 6 months.

It's illegal to display a web site address on a sign along a major highway. MUTCD 2A.06 paragraph 14. This is federal law. It may be illegal to access an illegally-displayed web site name while driving. That's a matter of state law.
2012-11-19 10:11:56 AM  
2 votes:
"Drivers using the HOT lanes will find that they have variable tolls, meaning the fees will change depending on how much traffic is on the road."

whatwhat? sounds like some pretty easy number manipulation can be had there.
2012-11-19 09:44:01 AM  
2 votes:

AngryJailhouseFistfark: They rigged up a ramp where anyone can get on the thing and only once you're committed do you realize that there's no toll-taker option. You either have the EZ-Pass radio transponder or you don't. The sign informing you "EZ-Pass Required" is little more than the sign you might have in your neighborhood reading, "Cloaca Lane" or "Mutton Road".

And once you're in, there's no way out NOR do you have any idea what fate awaits you if you don't pay the toll. Could be the Drone comes out of the Pentagon and Hellfire's your illicit motoring ass. Could be the whole thing locks up like those giant steel plates that come up out of the ground around the Capitol Building and other super-secure locations around here. Rather than risk such a fate, the only alternative is to back your shiat on up the ramp to freedom and hope your friendly fellow motorists will take sympathy on you.

Turns out it's a minor fine if you don't have the EZ-Pass, something like $12.50 plus a $1.50 handling fee. They should make the EZ-Pass Required sign a GIANT farking billboard, screaming at you, some radio message broadcasting at 10 Million Megawatts across the entire radio spectrum so that no matter what you're tuned to it'll scream "YOU MUST HAVE AN EZ-PASS OR THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WILL HOLD YOU DOWN AND ADMINISTER AN ANGRY JAILHOUSE FISTFARK!" or some such warning.


No, what they need is a positional sensor that can activate your phone and send a bluetooth text that covers the entire screen. After all if you are worried about signage, you need to put the sign on what people are actually looking at.
2012-11-19 09:43:36 AM  
2 votes:
Bring on the Google cars!
2012-11-19 09:33:05 AM  
2 votes:

Hack Patooey: The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?


I'm pretty sure common sense isn't necessary to get a license anymore. I actually know people that will get on an expressway, even if there is a more direct route, simply because it is the only way they know how to get anywhere.
I can't believe it still happens in an age where GPS is so common.
2012-11-19 09:22:40 AM  
2 votes:
I wonder what the chances are that some halfwit found himself accidentally entering the lanes and tried to back up to get out of it.
2012-11-19 03:18:12 PM  
1 votes:

GRCooper: That being said, I'm a Alexandrian transplant from NJ, and I cannot BELIEVE how shiatty the driving is here. And by shiatty, I mean slow, slow, not-in-a-rush, get-the-fark-out-of-the-left-lane, do-the-farking-speed-limit shiatty

You should'a been there back in the day. In the 80's, the beltway was a 90mph, bumper-to-bumper deathmatch Circus Maximus, baby.

/then you yankees all moved down and farked it up


To be honest, the beltway traffic is purely congestion - the infrastructure in NOVA cannot support the pop growth over the last 20 years. What really grinds my gears.jpg are the smaller roads, with folks doing 35 in a 45, or not accelerating when the light goes green. That shiat compounds backwards to cause traffic where there should be none. Additional to this is signal timing, which might as well have been done by chimps. 3 minutes at a light is no good for anybody, and hitting every other light is poor understanding of traffic flow. Bad design coupled with bad driving equals traffic jams at the Walmart light on Saturday morning at 11am. While I'm at it, I also think this area would benefit from jughandles to make left turns. That keeps everyone who will make a turn in the right lane, and it removes the added time to have green left-turn arrows at every light. Win-win!
2012-11-19 11:51:53 AM  
1 votes:

oakleym82: This thing. You switch to to "HOV ON" if you have 3 people in your car, then you don't get charged the toll. It's not complicated.


No, it is complicated. It requires the driver to fiddle with a device while rounding a corner going 70 mph and making a decision of whether or not to use a toll lane. None of this should be necessary.

Either we need more capacity in general, or we need to enforce carpooling on the beltway. This does neither of those things. It simply generates revenue for the highway authority while allowing a fraction of the commuters to enjoy exclusive access to roads built with public funds. Total bullshiat.
2012-11-19 11:41:11 AM  
1 votes:
we could have trains and buses instead

/ if 'certain segments of the population' weren't so consistently violent and rapey
2012-11-19 11:17:28 AM  
1 votes:

AngryJailhouseFistfark: This is Metro DC. It is a place of cults and cults of cults. A place of secret access, of passwords and back rooms. It is a culture of exclusion and rigid hierarchy, where systems and structures that would be simple and commonplace anywhere else are bound up in jargon and codes and hoops through which one must jump in order to prove worthy to be in The Club.


Prime example: Slugging.
2012-11-19 11:14:11 AM  
1 votes:

wambu: Hey NOVA FARKers!

When I used to visit DC, I parked in the old Perpetual Savings Bank parking lot near the yellow line just off the beltway (near Geo. Washinton's Masonic lodge). It's been years, so that option is probably no longer available. I'm planning a trip to visit some museums. Where are some good parking lots in NOVA for those of us just visiting that are near a Metro station? I don't mind paying to park, but free is always better.


You can park in the garage at Springfield Mall for free and walk over to the Franconia/Springfield metro station. Bring a gun.
2012-11-19 11:10:12 AM  
1 votes:
living in Loudoun county (Leesburg) and working about 35 Mi away in downtown DC, I'd say the best thing about living in my country is the huge, coach-like commuter buses that pick up at a parking lot about 3 mi from my house and get me to a block from my work in about 45 min. 45 min that I can sleep, read, whatever else the fark I want to do. Sure its $7 each way, but the farking tolls would cost me that much to drive, to say nothing of gas or parking.
2012-11-19 11:10:03 AM  
1 votes:

ImpendingCynic: WTH is an "HOV-capable" EZ-pass?? Why doesn't a standard EZ-pass work as-is? C'mon Virginia, this doesn't need to be complicated.


No, this is Metro DC and it needs to be as complex and incomprehensible as possible. I came here from California. When I was a kid they had a toll-free lane crossing the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. It was called a "Carpool Lane". People know what carpool means. It means more than one person in the car. So I move to The Northern Virginia and discover some peculiar thing called an "HOV" lane. Why, whatever could that be? Is it short for "Hovercraft"? Then I see another sign with much smaller print, nearly unreadable at freeway speeds which says that HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle. OK. Well, the sedan holds five. The ex-wife's minivan held seven. I'd say those are high occupancy for a motor vehicle. Does that mean they must be filled to capacity? Not so sure. Oh, here it is, a number 2 or a number 3, that must indicate how many people must be in the car, empty seats are OK.

This is Metro DC. It is a place of cults and cults of cults. A place of secret access, of passwords and back rooms. It is a culture of exclusion and rigid hierarchy, where systems and structures that would be simple and commonplace anywhere else are bound up in jargon and codes and hoops through which one must jump in order to prove worthy to be in The Club.
2012-11-19 10:57:24 AM  
1 votes:
I stayed at my last job for nearly two more years after the CEO retired and was replaced by a bipolar, screaming harpy with short term memory loss because it allowed me a reverse Metro commute from DC to MD. That's how much I didn't want to drive on the beltway.
2012-11-19 10:50:16 AM  
1 votes:

computerguyUT: I think it's BS that they take public road space, publicly maintained roads and tell you that you can't use them, even though you're paying your taxes.
For them to be fair and legal, they need to create their own space that does not infringe on the public roadways, fund them privately, maintain them privately, and charge whatever the usage market will bear for use.
They did the same thing here in Utah. They took one of our lanes away, turned it into a (miserable faliure of an) HOV lane and charge for it's use unless you're carpooling or have paid for the Express (whatever the hell they're calling it).
It's a complete joke.


I can't say with 100% certainty that this is true along the entire length of the project, but these HOT lanes around the VA part of the Beltway did not reduce (or otherwise "take away from") the existing highway (unless you count dealing with the huge mess while they were under construction.)

I actually am optimisitic that eventually these lanes will help reduce the clusterfark of traffic that was there before, but everytime part of the highway system around here gets "fixed" it just pushes the bottleneck somewhere else a couple miles away.
2012-11-19 10:43:29 AM  
1 votes:

groppet: And work wonders why I dont want to transfer to any of our DC/VA offices. Commuted there for years and it was not worth the hassle. Wait til the snow hits the hot lanes then you will see the fun. What a waste of money, the best thing you can do is avoid Tysons corner all together.


Quoted for truthiness.
2012-11-19 10:24:36 AM  
1 votes:

RsquaredW: They've had five collisions since the HOT lanes opened on Saturday, all of which were people who got caught going onto the lanes and trying to swerve out. Brilliant signage, obviously.


DC is pretty famous for putting direction signs AFTER its too late to change your mind. Especially in the tunnels. Its purely built for locals.
2012-11-19 10:20:54 AM  
1 votes:

freewill: Fade2black: A woman.

If I could have the time back that I've spent frantically reminding the g/f that no, she can't just brake here to give herself a moment to think about what to do next...

/ The cop is waving you on to the right. Go. Go now! I know we were going left, but the road is closed. There are on other options. You have to go right. THE COP IS GETTING PISSED. GO.


If you need lots of time to make decisions, perhaps driving is not for you. Walk and don't chew gum while you're doing it so the rest of us can actually go somewhere. Holy mother of piss me the hell off, braking doesn't give you magical extra special timey wimey to think while everyone else waits--it's to make you not run into things.

/woman
//makes me want to vandalize people's cars while driving
///driving is not for the timid, scared, or the semi-functional
2012-11-19 10:10:29 AM  
1 votes:

jkl65s4: There has been an extensive media campaign for these new express lanes. The traffic reporters are going out of their way to mention it as well as a big push since summer to get the locals signed up and using E-ZPass. I seriously don't know how much more clear it could be. The only thing I can suggest is parking a state trooper at the entrance 24/7, as people are a lot less likely to do stupid things if they know a cop is right there who will give them an even bigger ticket.


1. I-66 to NB I-495 used to have two exits (left and right). The left exit has been repurposed for the HOT lanes. This is not well signed.
2. Not everyone on the beltway is a local.
2012-11-19 10:08:00 AM  
1 votes:
Having witness a car make a right turn from the #1 of 4 lanes, onto the I-95 North exit ramp while going 60 MPH and completely perpendicular to the Maryland inner loop traffic, I can safely say that I have seen it all.

GO TO THE NEXT FARKING EXIT YOU ASS. 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-19 10:06:55 AM  
1 votes:
maxximillian: It's also been on the radio and in the news. If people somehow managed to miss this it's thier fault not VDOT.

We don't know if the backers were regular commuters.

I know somebody who got a toll ticket in Massachusetts where we've had cameras for years. She didn't like highways, had never been on the toll road before, and had no clue how to properly navigate the lines of cars at a toll plaza. I'm sure there are people in Virginia who don't regularly take the highway and pay no attention to highway-related news. Some of those pick the wrong day to take a special trip and end up confused.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-19 10:02:26 AM  
1 votes:

Some FAQs for the road:

How do I know how many axles my vehicle has?

If you are driving a private passenger vehicle and not towing a trailer, chances are your vehicle has two axles. However, you should contact the E-ZPass agency which manages your account to verify the number of axles on your vehicle. Please make sure that your vehicle has only two axles before your first trip in the 495 Express Lanes.

There was an accident and I did not receive a faster trip. Will I be charged?

We are sorry to hear that your trip in the 495 Express Lanes did not meet you expectations. Refunds will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

What are the administrative fees for toll violations?

If you do not pay your toll, the best thing to do is to immediately go to the ?Missed Toll??page to pay your toll. There will be a $1.50 administrative fee to cover the cost of collecting the toll. If the 495 Express Lanes has to send you a letter with an unpaid invoice, that administrative fee goes up to $12.50 per trip. If you do not pay your first invoice then that fee escalates to $25.00 per trip.
The first two are for entertainment value only. The last says they're a bunch of greedy bastards who should be dumped into the Potomac wearing cement overshoes. The per-trip, rather than per-month, "fee" is unrelated to expenses, it's just a way to gouge revenue. This is how people in Texas end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Some toll roads bundle up your no-account charges for a month and send you a combined bill, plus a monthly processing charge which is related to the actual processing cost.
2012-11-19 10:00:34 AM  
1 votes:
There has been an extensive media campaign for these new express lanes. The traffic reporters are going out of their way to mention it as well as a big push since summer to get the locals signed up and using E-ZPass. I seriously don't know how much more clear it could be. The only thing I can suggest is parking a state trooper at the entrance 24/7, as people are a lot less likely to do stupid things if they know a cop is right there who will give them an even bigger ticket.
2012-11-19 10:00:00 AM  
1 votes:

brigid_fitch: Hack Patooey: The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?

Not only do I see this all the time, some farkwit BACKED INTO ME once! Going onto an entrance ramp and the car started giving me issues--wouldn't accelerate right, almost every idiot light on the dash starts flashing. Didn't want to pull onto a busy highway when she's acting up, so I pulled onto the shoulder & called AAA. As I'm waiting, a white commercial pickup truck passes me, goes onto the shoulder, and starts backing up. I figure he's being a good Samaritan and wants to see if he can help. Except that he's not slowing down. Hit the horn but the car's turned off--no horn. By the time I turn on the ignition to try the horn again or maybe try to get the hell out of the way, the asshole slams right into me. Bumper crumples, trailer hitch on the back of the truck punctures the radiator. When he tries to pull forward, he nearly rips the radiator out of the engine. No injuries, thankfully, just utter incredulity.

Luckily, the 2 guys he was with told the cops the truth. I don't think anyone, myself included, would EVER believe that somebody got backed into on the shoulder of a busy highway ramp. But it happened.

/CSB
//VW's apparently have a "limp-home" mode (Emergency Running Mode). That's what kicked in that day. Never experienced it before.


More importantly, VW horns only work when the ignition is on?
2012-11-19 09:59:14 AM  
1 votes:

gochuck: I laugh at the people who live out in the burbs. If you work in DC, live in DC (especially if you don't have kids, no excuse then).


Perhaps we don't want to live in a city whose "leadership" is nearly constantly under criminal investigation?

Perhaps we don't want to live in a city where Marion frakking Barry is seen as some kind of bizarre folk hero?
2012-11-19 09:56:02 AM  
1 votes:

Hack Patooey: The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?


Not only do I see this all the time, some farkwit BACKED INTO ME once! Going onto an entrance ramp and the car started giving me issues--wouldn't accelerate right, almost every idiot light on the dash starts flashing. Didn't want to pull onto a busy highway when she's acting up, so I pulled onto the shoulder & called AAA. As I'm waiting, a white commercial pickup truck passes me, goes onto the shoulder, and starts backing up. I figure he's being a good Samaritan and wants to see if he can help. Except that he's not slowing down. Hit the horn but the car's turned off--no horn. By the time I turn on the ignition to try the horn again or maybe try to get the hell out of the way, the asshole slams right into me. Bumper crumples, trailer hitch on the back of the truck punctures the radiator. When he tries to pull forward, he nearly rips the radiator out of the engine. No injuries, thankfully, just utter incredulity.

Luckily, the 2 guys he was with told the cops the truth. I don't think anyone, myself included, would EVER believe that somebody got backed into on the shoulder of a busy highway ramp. But it happened.

/CSB
//VW's apparently have a "limp-home" mode (Emergency Running Mode). That's what kicked in that day. Never experienced it before.
2012-11-19 09:50:58 AM  
1 votes:
Seems like it would have made sense to make the HOT lanes toll- (and citation-) free for a week or two so that people could get used to them, rather than try to turn on the Cash Machine on Day 1. Now you've got people backing up on the expressway and causing multi-car accidents because they don't want to get a ticket.
2012-11-19 09:45:12 AM  
1 votes:

genepool lifeboat: I actually know people that will get on an expressway, even if there is a more direct route, simply because it is the only way they know how to get anywhere.


Expressway routes can be shorter in time versus land routes which are shorter in distance.
2012-11-19 09:35:15 AM  
1 votes:
They've had five collisions since the HOT lanes opened on Saturday, all of which were people who got caught going onto the lanes and trying to swerve out. Brilliant signage, obviously.
2012-11-19 09:27:51 AM  
1 votes:

Hack Patooey: The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?


Sadly I see this all the time. WTF is wrong with people? Go to the next exit shmohawks.
We can keep building extra lanes and highways but you can't fix "stupid".
2012-11-19 09:26:37 AM  
1 votes:

Hack Patooey: The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?


A woman.
2012-11-19 09:25:41 AM  
1 votes:
The cause of the crash has not been determined but Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes.

I see it all the time, but who the fark thinks its OK to back up on the highway because you screwed up an exit?
 
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