Thursday, October 16, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Should HOV lanes be restricted to cars with three occupants?

We asked, and you answered — with a resounding "no." The vast majority of readers are against turning HOV-2 lanes into HOV-3, as state and regional transportation officials are considering the option if traffic gets worse. The response caused a virtual traffic jam to our email inbox:

No! Most people find it difficult to find one person to carpool with. We should be encouraging people to use mass transit and get two people into each car that commutes to the city.

— Dee Lawrence,

No. HOV lanes should be removed completely as they are under utilized and can ease traffic during peak hours. It does not encourage people to carpool at all. This was done on the East Coast and traffic flows much better.

— JD Serfontein,

It is hard enough to get two people in a car, let alone three. The car pool lanes save me a lot of time, but I have to make an effort to have another person with me. I see many one-passenger cars in the car pool lanes so the police should make a greater effort to nail these individuals.

— Chuck Quist,
Federal Way

Why not change the criteria for the performance standard? Instead of an absolute threshold of 45 mph, make it a relative threshold such as 35 mph faster than the adjacent lanes. WSDOT put speed sensors in all lanes of the road for the traffic flow monitors, so making that comparison should be straightforward. People use the HOV lanes because they are faster than the alternative. Taking them away will just encourage more cheating, and create more frustration and road rage. We're years away, if ever, from getting rid of traffic, so we need to figure out compromises rather than staking out and holding onto idealistic positions.

— Brian Tucker,

No, they should stay as 2 person car pool lanes. But, keep it to two licensed drivers in each car. Too often it is one person and a child which is not helping the traffic problem, congesting the car pool lanes to those who are actually pooling two or more license drivers in one car, and can be very irritating to those of us w/out a baby in the car seat next to us.

— Jason Chester,

No! the HOV lanes aren't even fully utilized now when we only require 2 people! If you require 3 people, you're only going set up a situation where resources are under-utilized. And don't ignore the psychological impact of watching an entire lane go un-used by people who are sitting in traffic.

— Kojay Pan,

I travel 522 to 405 from Monroe to Bellevue daily. I always commute with my daughter so we can use the HOV lane on 405. It saves us a lot of time and frustration. Every day I see many offenders and very rarely do I see these people being pulled over and ticketed. I think the state should go after the offenders and that would reduce the number of cars in the car pool lane. I do not see very many cars on 405 that have 3 or more people inside and we definitely need any more cars in the other lanes!!

— Kathy Buhs,

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company


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