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(WTOP)   It's been a year since the completion of Washington DC's Beltway Express Lanes project, which constructed miles of parallel asphalt for drivers willing to pay to use them. The verdict? Well, at least now something makes Obamacare's numbers look good   (wtop.com) divider line 35
    More: Fail, express lanes, Washington DC, E-ZPass  
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4861 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Jan 2014 at 9:10 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



35 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-16 09:13:41 AM  
FARK Northern Vagina

No significant infrastructure changed in the last 30 years and significant over-development.

/Fark them in the a.
 
2014-01-16 09:14:24 AM  
Believe it or not, it  HAShad some effect. I think it'll take time for more people to get comfortable using them though, and will only really become effective once the HOT lanes down to Aquia are finished up. Right now, if you take them in rush hour, you save yourself the hassle of beltway traffic around Tysons and US 50 only to run smack into a 30+ mile long traffic jam when you hit I-95 south. Once the work to the HOV/HOT lanes there is finished, You'll see people willing to pay the money to skip that hellish traffic.

They're great for through-travellers too. The NY/NJ/PA crowd just need to realize that it's better to pay the $3.40 and zoom on around instead of getting stuck with all the schmucks heading to their suburban sprawl out I-66....
 
2014-01-16 09:14:55 AM  
Nuts to the idea that those are bad numbers.

Love ride share lanes.
 
2014-01-16 09:15:48 AM  
I certainly do not miss driving in NoVa and would not wish that on anyone. What a farking mess.
 
2014-01-16 09:18:21 AM  
It doesn't matter.  The traffic will eventually catch up to these two extra lanes and we'll be farked again.  For now, it's nice to pay a couple bucks and skip traffic sometimes, but it should have been more rail.
 
2014-01-16 09:20:45 AM  

tallen702: Believe it or not, it  HAShad some effect. I think it'll take time for more people to get comfortable using them though, and will only really become effective once the HOT lanes down to Aquia are finished up. Right now, if you take them in rush hour, you save yourself the hassle of beltway traffic around Tysons and US 50 only to run smack into a 30+ mile long traffic jam when you hit I-95 south. Once the work to the HOV/HOT lanes there is finished, You'll see people willing to pay the money to skip that hellish traffic.

They're great for through-travellers too. The NY/NJ/PA crowd just need to realize that it's better to pay the $3.40 and zoom on around instead of getting stuck with all the schmucks heading to their suburban sprawl out I-66....


A few months, I'd understand, but it's been a year, a 2% increase is still resistance. And I'm sure that 60% "on-time" metric was people over-estimating their new commute...
 
2014-01-16 09:21:06 AM  
I wish I had a reason to take 495. Instead I am 95 to 395 to work everyday. Yesterday there were 4 separate work zones.
 
2014-01-16 09:23:29 AM  
I love it how there is absolutely no mention of the HOV usage in those figures. Remember how that was the biggest selling point when the project was proposed?
 
2014-01-16 09:24:07 AM  
$10 in tolls?  Did they sell the thing to a Spanish conglomerate or what?
 
2014-01-16 09:25:00 AM  

tallen702: Believe it or not, it  HAShad some effect. I think it'll take time for more people to get comfortable using them though, and will only really become effective once the HOT lanes down to Aquia are finished up. Right now, if you take them in rush hour, you save yourself the hassle of beltway traffic around Tysons and US 50 only to run smack into a 30+ mile long traffic jam when you hit I-95 south. Once the work to the HOV/HOT lanes there is finished, You'll see people willing to pay the money to skip that hellish traffic.

They're great for through-travellers too. The NY/NJ/PA crowd just need to realize that it's better to pay the $3.40 and zoom on around instead of getting stuck with all the schmucks heading to their suburban sprawl out I-66....


And what do you call the schmucks commuting all the way to and from FARKING AQUIA?
 
2014-01-16 09:40:03 AM  
As someone who commutes from Alexandria out to Fairfax every day they have been a blessing.  Instead of humping it in on back roads or bumper to bumper beltway traffic I save 30 minutes a retain pretty good fuel efficiency.  If not a lot of people use it that is fine by me, makes my drive easier.
 
2014-01-16 09:41:21 AM  
LandOfChocolate:

And what do you call the schmucks commuting all the way to and from FARKING AQUIA?

Really goddamned stupid schmucks.

I completely understand the desire to live outside of the District. I also understand the desire to have a brand-spanking-new home with all the extras in a planned community. It's not my cup of tea by any means, but I understand it.

One of my fellow managers who works at a unit over in McLean, VA lives all the way out in Warrenton. He makes a 2-hour one-way commute down I-66 every day. All so he could live in the country while working in the suburbs. I couldn't do that. I live up near Hyattstown, MD and work down in Potomac. The worst my commute can ever be is 45 minutes one way, and that's if I have to bail on I-270 and use Great Seneca or another alternate route.

Anyone who lives in Frednecksburg and commutes to DC every day is a nuisance and a goddamned idiot.
 
2014-01-16 09:46:28 AM  

Carn: It doesn't matter.  The traffic will eventually catch up to these two extra lanes and we'll be farked again.  For now, it's nice to pay a couple bucks and skip traffic sometimes, but it should have been more rail.


Except that everyone and their farking mother is a NIMBY when it comes to rail and rail stops.

Remember the whole asinine debate about Tysons and the Silver Line?

WMATA have their heads up their asses about as much as the suburban commuters do. They need to take a cue from the Moscow Metro and run a ring line connecting the outer stations. That'd help move people from line-to-line making the rides in easier and less crowded, and would allow suburb-to-suburb riders get around better. If I live in Alexandria but work in Tysons, I have to go all the way into the city just to come back out on the rail (once the silver is up and running). But if there was a ring line, it'd be a quick loop ride.
 
2014-01-16 09:46:28 AM  

tallen702: LandOfChocolate:

And what do you call the schmucks commuting all the way to and from FARKING AQUIA?

Really goddamned stupid schmucks.

I completely understand the desire to live outside of the District. I also understand the desire to have a brand-spanking-new home with all the extras in a planned community. It's not my cup of tea by any means, but I understand it.

One of my fellow managers who works at a unit over in McLean, VA lives all the way out in Warrenton. He makes a 2-hour one-way commute down I-66 every day. All so he could live in the country while working in the suburbs. I couldn't do that. I live up near Hyattstown, MD and work down in Potomac. The worst my commute can ever be is 45 minutes one way, and that's if I have to bail on I-270 and use Great Seneca or another alternate route.

Anyone who lives in Frednecksburg and commutes to DC every day is a nuisance and a goddamned idiot.


I can't believe people put up with the commute from Woodbridge, let alone that.  It's insane.
 
2014-01-16 09:46:37 AM  
Fark toll roads. Some of us can barely afford to put gas in the car.
 
2014-01-16 09:50:03 AM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: $10 in tolls?  Did they sell the thing to a Spanish conglomerate or what?


I seem to recall them projecting $30 or so, one-way, from Stafford to the Pentagon for the I-95 HOT lanes. Sure there's enough overpaid folks who can afford that (I might take it occasionally myself, and I'm only moderately overpaid), but given that eventually you'll have a bottleneck where you merge back with the travel lanes, I really wonder how successful this is going to be.

Right now, the HOV is free for anyone, regardless of number of passengers, to use outside the hours of 0600-0900 and 1530-1800. I've got a bad feeling once it becomes HOT, all it's going to do is push a bunch of folks who used to ride for free during that time into the travel lanes, plugging them up even more. Thus, HOT will become useful to the privileged who can afford it, at the expense of making things even worse for the unwashed hordes. So basically a Republican's dream.
 
2014-01-16 09:53:19 AM  
Carn:

I can't believe people put up with the commute from Woodbridge, let alone that.  It's insane.

And that's only half of them on the interstates. The rest clog up US-1 from Alexandria all the way down to Hoodbridge itself.

Don't get me wrong. Suburbia or rural places are fine and dandy, but for the love of god, take the VRE instead of clogging up the roads!

If the MARC ran from Urbana or Clarksburg, or even Boyds on down to Potomac, I'd take it every day myself.
 
2014-01-16 09:55:24 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: $10 in tolls?  Did they sell the thing to a Spanish conglomerate or what?

I seem to recall them projecting $30 or so, one-way, from Stafford to the Pentagon for the I-95 HOT lanes. Sure there's enough overpaid folks who can afford that (I might take it occasionally myself, and I'm only moderately overpaid), but given that eventually you'll have a bottleneck where you merge back with the travel lanes, I really wonder how successful this is going to be.

Right now, the HOV is free for anyone, regardless of number of passengers, to use outside the hours of 0600-0900 and 1530-1800. I've got a bad feeling once it becomes HOT, all it's going to do is push a bunch of folks who used to ride for free during that time into the travel lanes, plugging them up even more. Thus, HOT will become useful to the privileged who can afford it, at the expense of making things even worse for the unwashed hordes. So basically a Republican's dream.


It's still free for HOV-3 folks. Also, I seem to remember the projected cost for a trip on the 495 HOT lanes was going to be ~$10 one way. So far I've never seen it above $4.
 
2014-01-16 09:57:07 AM  

Carn: I can't believe people put up with the commute from Woodbridge, let alone that.  It's insane.


Woodbridge-to-Alexandria commuter here. Assuming you have control over your own hours, it's not too bad. I live 19 miles from work, I leave home at 0530 in the morning and leave work at 1500 in the afternoon. My commute is generally about 30 minutes. In the summer, I'm home by 1530 and have tons of daylight left to do things outside. And the house we bought for $350k would have easily been an $800k home if it were in Alexandria. So I'm cool with it.

Of course, that's because I can take the HOV, by myself, for free. Let's see what happens next year when they get the HOT lanes running.
 
2014-01-16 10:03:29 AM  

tallen702: It's still free for HOV-3 folks.


Unless you want to go to the trouble of slugging, which has all the joys of queueing up and waiting and either being driven by folks of wildly varying driving abilities or putting up with complete strangers in your car, I haven't found carpooling to work well for me--at least not with two other coworkers. I had two other colleagues who lived somewhat close to me. But now there's a time penalty involved in driving around picking up/dropping off others. There's cases where one person would go on travel, and now you don't have three people, or cases where someone would need to work late/leave early. There was so much logistics planning, that it didn't work well.

I don't deny that carpooling works great for some--perhaps many--folks. I'm just not one of them.
 
2014-01-16 10:11:10 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: tallen702: It's still free for HOV-3 folks.

Unless you want to go to the trouble of slugging, which has all the joys of queueing up and waiting and either being driven by folks of wildly varying driving abilities or putting up with complete strangers in your car, I haven't found carpooling to work well for me--at least not with two other coworkers. I had two other colleagues who lived somewhat close to me. But now there's a time penalty involved in driving around picking up/dropping off others. There's cases where one person would go on travel, and now you don't have three people, or cases where someone would need to work late/leave early. There was so much logistics planning, that it didn't work well.

I don't deny that carpooling works great for some--perhaps many--folks. I'm just not one of them.


I can understand that. The wife works at the same location as me, but I have to be in by 6:30AM and she's not supposed to be there until 8:00AM. So more often than not, we take separate cars.

Honestly, I think more could be accomplished with a bypass for north-south through travellers and restrictions on commercial vehicles during rush hour than by any additions to existing infrastructure.
 
2014-01-16 10:16:42 AM  

tallen702: Honestly, I think more could be accomplished with a bypass for north-south through travellers and restrictions on commercial vehicles during rush hour than by any additions to existing infrastructure.


THIS. A thousand times this.

Seriously, if you're a semi truck or a dump truck, stay the fark out of the HOV, and how's about keeping to the right-hand lane? And while we're on the subject of dump trucks: "I better sweep all this loose gravel off my tail gate before I head out onto the freeway," is something no NoVA dump truck driver has said, ever. Fark those guys.
 
2014-01-16 10:18:17 AM  

tallen702: Prank Call of Cthulhu: TedCruz'sCrazyDad:

It's still free for HOV-3 folks. Also, I seem to remember the projected cost for a trip on the 495 HOT lanes was going to be ~$10 one way. So far I've never seen it above $4.


How do they monitor the HOV-3 use?  You get the easypass, and have to manually switch it from toll to HOV right?  How would they know if I just kept it on HOV-3 while driving alone? I have the donk Maryland easypass that doesn't have that option. So If I take the family to Potomac Mills, I'd still have to pay the toll if I used the lanes.
 
2014-01-16 10:18:52 AM  
For the last four years my wife commuted from Fairfax to Rockville. She had nights when her return trip was 90 minutes or more. After the express lanes opened, she shaved a good 20-30 minutes off her commute. That's the only success story I care about.
 
2014-01-16 11:02:00 AM  

Tricky Chicken: How do they monitor the HOV-3 use?  You get the easypass, and have to manually switch it from toll to HOV right?  How would they know if I just kept it on HOV-3 while driving alone? I have the donk Maryland easypass that doesn't have that option. So If I take the family to Potomac Mills, I'd still have to pay the toll if I used the lanes.


The last I heard, they still hadn't figured this out. At one time they were talking about an IR camera system that would count number of people in the car and compare to the transponder setting, but you can guess how well that would work.

My assumption is that:

(a) the system is smart enough to detect switching modes while in the lanes. Whatever the transponder is set to when you enter ought to be the same mode at subsequent points as read by other sensors.

(b) the data could be transmitted in real time to a cop who sits there and watches, and gets a beep when a car goes by in carpool mode, and he visually checks and sees how many people are in there. Or he gets a beep when someone goes by who has changed modes.

But I'm not sure how it would work with multiple lanes and multiple cars going by at once.
 
2014-01-16 11:03:40 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: tallen702: Honestly, I think more could be accomplished with a bypass for north-south through travellers and restrictions on commercial vehicles during rush hour than by any additions to existing infrastructure.

THIS. A thousand times this.

Seriously, if you're a semi truck or a dump truck, stay the fark out of the HOV, and how's about keeping to the right-hand lane? And while we're on the subject of dump trucks: "I better sweep all this loose gravel off my tail gate before I head out onto the freeway," is something no NoVA dump truck driver has said, ever. Fark those guys.


I-270 is just as bad, especially in the evening rush. Semis hogging the two right lanes, nobody passing the other. Then you get all the box trucks and dump trucks trying to get by on the left (non HOV) lane which backs up everyone behind them as well. I'd love to see the MD DOT put  a ban on commercial trucks over a certain GVW between the hours of 3:30PM and 6PM on 270.

Or, better yet, build the goddamned bride upstream of Great Falls like they were supposed to way back in the 60's so that the FFC Parkway and ICC actually connect to make the outer beltway like they were supposed to.... Farking NIMBYs ruining everything....
 
2014-01-16 11:15:06 AM  

Tricky Chicken: tallen702: Prank Call of Cthulhu: TedCruz'sCrazyDad:

It's still free for HOV-3 folks. Also, I seem to remember the projected cost for a trip on the 495 HOT lanes was going to be ~$10 one way. So far I've never seen it above $4.

How do they monitor the HOV-3 use?  You get the easypass, and have to manually switch it from toll to HOV right?  How would they know if I just kept it on HOV-3 while driving alone? I have the donk Maryland easypass that doesn't have that option. So If I take the family to Potomac Mills, I'd still have to pay the toll if I used the lanes.


the roadside equipment feeds the information for HOV tagged vehicles to Virginia State Police officers assigned to the road (funded by revenue from the tolls).
 
2014-01-16 11:20:10 AM  
The rules of the 495 express lanes are the same as any other HOV lane in the area, with the perk of being able to drive alone by toll. VSP enforces HOV, no EZpass = bill in the mail. Traffic has been lighter since it opened, at least in comparison to the years it was under construction... That may not really be a fair comparison though since the population grew while it was under construction too.
 
2014-01-16 11:20:15 AM  

minuslars: the roadside equipment feeds the information for HOV tagged vehicles to Virginia State Police


Does that mean the transponder is linked to only one specific vehicle? Meaning if three people form a carpool, and take turns driving their vehicle, they each need a transponder instead of moving it from car to car? Because I can see how that would enforcement a lot easier, but would force more people to buy the transponders and pay whatever service fee there is.
 
2014-01-16 11:22:36 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: minuslars: the roadside equipment feeds the information for HOV tagged vehicles to Virginia State Police

Does that mean the transponder is linked to only one specific vehicle? Meaning if three people form a carpool, and take turns driving their vehicle, they each need a transponder instead of moving it from car to car? Because I can see how that would enforcement a lot easier, but would force more people to buy the transponders and pay whatever service fee there is.


I had to register my vehicle info when I ordered my transponder, but since they will simply mail a bill to people without an EZPass in the lanes, I assume they photograph plates too and this may be what VSP uses... don't quote me on that.
 
2014-01-16 11:38:32 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: minuslars: the roadside equipment feeds the information for HOV tagged vehicles to Virginia State Police

Does that mean the transponder is linked to only one specific vehicle? Meaning if three people form a carpool, and take turns driving their vehicle, they each need a transponder instead of moving it from car to car? Because I can see how that would enforcement a lot easier, but would force more people to buy the transponders and pay whatever service fee there is.


I got an email from them that said that an upgrade from the normal to the new transponder was free.  I haven't gotten one because I don't plan on ever carpooling and I don't know if it will cost to get one for new people.  I'm with you, trying to bounce around picking up different people and coordinating schedules sounds like a lot of extra stress to maybe shave a few minutes off a commute.  It works great for slugs where everyone is going to the same place though with a unified pickup point.
 
2014-01-16 12:39:27 PM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: Does that mean the transponder is linked to only one specific vehicle?


My fiancee and I share one transponder. It's registered to both vehicles. Also, if we forget it, the system scans the plate and bills our account.
 
2014-01-16 01:16:44 PM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: Thus, HOT will become useful to the privileged who can afford it, at the expense of making things even worse for the unwashed hordes. So basically a Republican's dream.


Then why the fark is CA doing it?  They have nothing but Democrats.  Seriously, they just ripped out a lane on 101, to make 2 HOV lanes (to later be converted to HOT).

/Fark the NIMBY's.
//Fark them.
///Seriously, it's a 3+1 lane freeway coming North, that merges with a 2+1 lane freeway, and then the combined 5+2 lane freeway drops to 3+2 lanes, and then jumps back up to 4+1 lanes after splitting off 2 lanes to head off to the Dumbarton Bridge.  And so, for reasons that are obvious to a 3rd grader, that piece of road is congested from 3:00 - 7:30.
////The one piece of REALLY farked-up road near where I was growing up had a similar issue.  7 lanes down to 4 (now 5.  Still pretty farked up.  Which is why you spend an extra 5 minutes detouring around on the 50 MPH 4 lane side road.  That doesn't exist here, because Fark CA NIMBY's)
 
2014-01-16 01:22:44 PM  

meyerkev: ///Seriously, it's a 3+1 lane freeway coming North, that merges with a 2+1 lane freeway, and then the combined 5+2 lane freeway drops to 2+2+half aux lanes, and then jumps back up to 3+1+aux lanes after splitting off 2 lanes to head off to the Dumbarton Bridge.  And so, for reasons that are obvious to a 3rd grader, that piece of road is congested from 3:00 - 7:30.


FTFM.

WTF, CA?  WTF?

/Actually, that's probably WTF, PAMPA, WTF?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-01-16 04:36:49 PM  
Initial projections for the lanes said that more than 66,000 trips would be made each weekday within the first year.

Actual volume exceeding half of projected volume makes this one of the less dishonest toll road projects.
 
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