I-680 Ex­press Lane de­bate con­tin­ues with read­ers

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - Gary Richards Colum­nist Con­tact Gary Richards at mr­road­show@ ba­yare­anews­group.com.

QI got a kick out of all of the peo­ple com­plain­ing about the new In­ter­state 680 Ex­press Lanes.

Ap­par­ently, some peo­ple think that they should be able to drive wher­ever and when­ever they want, re­gard­less of the ef­fect on other peo­ple or the en­vi­ron­ment.

I rec­og­nize that con­ges­tion is not a lot of fun for any­one. How­ever, there are some sim­ple ways to avoid it, by mak­ing rel­a­tively mi­nor changes in one’s driv­ing be­hav­ior:

• Sim­ply re­duce the num­ber of dis­cre­tionary trips by com­bin­ing a num­ber of er­rands into one trip where pos­si­ble.

• Avoid driv­ing dur­ing peak traf­fic times

• Drive with some­one else when you can.

• Re­place your gaspow­ered ve­hi­cle with one that does not burn fos­sil fu­els.

• Be will­ing to pay a bit more for the priv­i­lege of driv­ing down the road alone in a ga­so­line-burn­ing ve­hi­cle, es­pe­cially dur­ing peak traf­fic times. — Andy Schar­lach, Alamo

AThat is the Ex­press Lane op­tion. Andy drives a 2014 Chevy Volt, so the toll lane is his lane — free.

QWhat a huge waste of money. Ex­press Lanes rarely are faster than the reg­u­lar flow of traf­fic and seem to only in­clude two pas­sen­gers and car­pool al­lowed ve­hi­cles — nei­ther pro­vid­ing rev­enue. — Michael Dun­bar, Alamo

AI too think the rev­enue may not be that great, af­ter fac­tor­ing in costs for ex­tra CHP en­force­ment and con­struc­tion. How­ever, those in charge of the toll lanes on High­way 237 pre­dict that it will raise $1 bil­lion over two decades. That is noth­ing to sneeze about if it comes true.

QI read the ar­ti­cle about the I- 680 Ex­press Lanes be­tween Dublin and Wal­nut Creek. I drive this stretch once or twice a week. I’ve no­ticed driv­ers weav­ing in and out of the Ex­press Lane.

I fi­nally fig­ured out that they would en­ter the Ex­press Lane just af­ter the FasTrak sen­sor and exit just be­fore the next sen­sor. They would do this the en­tire length of the Ex­press Lane.

Also, the num­ber of driv­ers wear­ing head­phones or earbuds on both ears is truly alarm­ing. — Ben Miyaji, Pitts­burg

ATh­ese have been lead­ing com­plaints by other driv­ers. I sus­pect this first stunt will ease over time, as been the case on In­ter­state 580 and I- 680 through Fre­mont. As for earbuds and head­phones, ar­rgh.

QOne evening the Ex­press Lane worked to my ad­van­tage. I got on the free­way in Danville head­ing to­ward Dublin.

There was an ac­ci­dent right be­fore Acosta, which per my GPS was go­ing to make me late for my din­ner meet­ing.

I paid 50 cents to use the Ex­press Lane and ar­rived 5 min­utes early. — Mike Gar­cia

AEar­lier is al­ways best, es­pe­cially when the cost is a measly 50 cents.

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