Ditch HOV from Basalt to the airport
This letter is in response to Lee Lewiston’s letter concerning traffic patterns on Highway 82 (March 12).
Left lane lurking is certainly a problem that exists everywhere. It seems to be even more of a problem here. The main reasons that our valley seems to have a bad case of it are: the confusing right lane HOV restriction and the ignorance of the laws that go with it.
First, the HOV lane designation itself. Is it necessary now that the four lane is complete to the airport? Why do we still have it? Do buses really need to have the right lane right of way from Basalt to Brush Creek? By my count there are around five stops in that stretch and the express buses don’t stop at most of those. I’m not a traffic engineer, but it seems to me that the dangerous patterns that have arisen are not worth the benefits of having an express lane for buses.
Second, what percentage of drivers on Highway 82 actually know the rules? Most probably do, but when the need for speed requires an illegal pass on the right side the rules are ignored. I’ve done it, chances are you have too. Why, because someone is stuck “lurking” in the left lane obeying the speed limit and you want to get home! Oddly enough, in Basalt (a few hundred yards from where the HOV restriction ends), there is an HOV sign reminding downvalley drivers to stay in the left lane? No wonder the poor lady in the dark green subcompact kept lurking. Should the signs be bilingual? Is language the problem? I’m not so sure? A year or so ago, during casual chit chat about traffic with an anglo associate from Rifle, he wondered aloud why people can’t seem to observe that Heavy Oversized Vehicle (HOV) lane?! “Aren’t the dump trucks supposed to stay in that lane with the buses?” he continued. It’s not just folks from out of town or out of the country that are confused or unable to decipher the rules.
The only reasonable solution is to do away with the HOV lane altogether and let the buses have their way when the real mayhem begins at the end of the four lane.
If anyone from CDOT is listening I have some more suggestions.
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