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Toll lanes planned for I-680 from San Ramon through Walnut Creek

Would charge drivers for HOV access during peak times

Bay Area transportation officials met with the public in San Ramon on Thursday night to discuss a plan to put more express lanes on Interstate 680 in an effort to keep traffic moving.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans are proposing converting current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into express lanes that would be open to solo motorists willing to pay a toll, according to the MTC.

The express lanes would replace HOV lanes on southbound I-680 from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon and on northbound I-680 from Alcosta Boulevard to the Livorna Road exit in Alamo.

MTC officials say the express lanes would be free for the same motorists currently allowed in HOV lanes, including carpools, vanpools and buses, and would also be open to solo drivers who pay a toll to use the lane.

The proposed changes are intended to ease congestion on the busy commuter highway, where traffic is projected to slow by about 5 mph during peak morning commute hours and by about 10 mph during the evening commute by 2015, according to Lisa Klein, manager of the MTC's Express Lanes program.

Community members are invited to learn more about the express lanes proposal and provide their input at an MTC meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today at the San Ramon Community Center at Central Park, 12501 Alcosta Blvd.

Those who cannot attend in person are invited to visit an online public meeting held today through Feb. 13.


Posted by Anon, a resident of Danville
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm

How does cutting down the number of lanes existing traffic can use reduce congestion? When are these greedy bureaucrats going to admit they don't give a fig about congestion or emissions and they just want to pick our pockets?

Posted by SR, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

It's the carpool lane causing the congestion! I commute it everyday, on-ramp after on-ramp, you see a line of cars entering the freeway, 2-3 of these commuters cut over 3 lanes to get to the carpool lane - forcing the 'non-carpool' commuters to break,slow down and even come to a stop..

You want 680 moving? get rid of the carpool/HOV lane! open all the lanes up for everyone - problem solved!

But you are right, Anon.. there is no money in that!!!!

Posted by CW, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

Please hurry up and complete this project. Use the income for transit improvements.

Posted by James, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 7:34 am

Last I heard the existing I-680 express lanes south of Pleasanton cost more to operate than they received in revenue. This doesn't include the millions of dollars for the infrastructure.

The I-680 HOV lane section between San Ramon and Walnut Creek is often filled with carpool vehicles making it almost as slow as the regular lanes so why let the rich pay to drive in the same HOV lane. It will make it go slower and reduce the incentive to carpool.

Until they can show us it isn't a money loser and it will actually improve traffic congestion, we don't need it.

Posted by Tim, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:50 am

I contacted CalTrans recently to inquire about why there is little or no enforcement of the carpool lane by CHP. I got a response that they are understaffed. Here's the real deal, all these agencies exist as "make work" jobs for the employees of the state. What a joke it all is. The money they will collect for the pay lanes can go toward funding more of this in other parts of the bay area. It's just more of too much government and too many agencies. It is out of control. I'm afraid the bureaucrats have the upper hand and they are so far ahead of the citizens. We are all screwed! But they've got gov't jobs and pensions and spend their days twiddling their thumbs on senseless programs - just for busy work.

Posted by Brannon Hills, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I thought I moved FROM Berkeley 20 years ago to get away from the madness. What next only bikes allowed down SRV, CC, DV, BY blvds. Where is our mayor on this?

Posted by Dawne Shelton, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:33 pm

This is absurd. Turning the totally backed up HOV lane into a rich person lane doesn't speed up anyone's commute, doesn't encourage carpooling, and doesn't solve a darned thing. I'm already paying for the bloody roads I can't use. If congestion is the real problem, put in some lightrail/trains down that valley.

Posted by Soo, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

I think this project is not so much about cost than to keep traffic moving. Govt agencies should not be revenue centers but cost centers. They make it up with tax and traffic fine.

Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:50 am

They could use the 'revenue' they receive from these toll lanes to buy a latte at Starbucks!

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