Feeling Congested?

This weet MNDOT began their toll-lane scheme on highway 394. The idea was to allow more single-occupancy vehicles the use of the “sane lane” which was formerly reserved for high-occupancy vehicles, busses and motorcycles. A transponder in one’s car communicates with receivers planted along the route and your account gets charged the going rate for the stretch of HOV lane you travel.

Now, the HOV lane is one-way for a stretch of 394 from Highway 100 all the way to downtown Minneapolis. That meant that it can only be used by one direction of traffic. It’s restricted now based on the highest traffic during the rush hour. Therefore, you could use the HOV lane going eastbound in the AM and westbound in the PM.

Okay, so now the problem is that they have restricted the non-peak direction’s HOV lane as well, meaning that if you’re a commuter who formerly travelled the opposite way of the worst traffic on 394 (westbound in the AM, eastbound in the PM) – you’re hosed. Now you get to contend with worse than peak traffic in what’s supposed to be the ‘easy’ direction.

And, if you’re like me, who lives in South Minneapolis and works at 394 & 100, there’s no available HOV lane, even if you wanted to use the ridiculous transponder.

So, the DOT in its infinite wisdom is inconveniencing all travellers in order to bully everyone into paying for transponders and paying for tolls. However, I argue we’ve already paid for these roads with our tax dollars once, and that the monies collected will undoubtedly go for more road projects instead of smarter public transit solutions like light rail (which has been wildly successful) and busses (which are desparately needed).

4 Comments so far

  1. Nate (unregistered) on May 21st, 2005 @ 3:04 am

    Although I am in agreement with the need for more public transportation, I think the need for toll roads is great. It would be tons better if that money went to the public trasportaion business here in the cities. I can’t believe they are separate entities. They should be working as one. But, our city puts not very much money into smarter road ideas. This toll money is SUPPOSED to go to fix that. I hope the city stays with it’s plan…

  2. Sal (unregistered) on May 21st, 2005 @ 11:14 pm

    I heard a rumor through the grapevine that there is current legislation being pushed to the Minnesota House of Representatives that would open up the HOV lanes to everyone during non-peak hours (like it use to be).

    So don’t worry too much… as they are still working out the kinks in this new system. I’m not a big fan of the toll lanes either, but if that money is properly used to support MNDOT and the expansion of projects like the Light Rail, I’d be all for it.

  3. Jess (unregistered) on May 25th, 2005 @ 10:14 am

    I hope to god they do… I drive from Hudson to Minnetonka everyday and I tell ya… even leaving at 3:30p it’s horrible now on 394, especially by Louisiana!!!!

  4. Erica (unregistered) on May 26th, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    As much as I don’t like working an afternoon shift, I love the fact that I don’t have to commute during rush hour. I can’t even fathom trying to navigate that mess. I’m totally unsurprised that the tolls have made traffic worse, not better.

    But re-opening the HOV lanes during non-peak hours would certainly help.

    In my dreams, they would have built a light rail line down the center of 394 instead.

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