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HOT lanes: Make way for the rich!

January 7, 2013 12:10 am

HOT lanes: Make way for the rich!

In response to the Nov. 28 accident that closed HOT lanes on the inner loop of beltway during rush hour, I hope no one was hurt. My comments concern actions taken after the accident.

Here's my analogy to roads in medieval England. I have visions of a knight on horseback shouting, "Make way!" to the peasants as he leads a carriage down a road. The "nobles" are the upper-income drivers who use HOT lanes (aka "Lexus lanes") and the "peasants" are relegated to regular lanes to sit in traffic because of their lower incomes. How dare the peasants block the all-important nobles from their journey!

After the accident, the left lane of the regular lanes was closed to allow HOT traffic to exit onto the regular lanes. The lane closure resulted in a three- to four-mile backup, completely jamming up the inner loop of Interstate 495 in the regular lanes. Previously, the regular lanes were moving but had slowed for rubbernecking.

The response set an unfair precedent for how incidents in the HOT lanes will be cleared. Do HOT drivers have the right to inconvenience regular-lane drivers whenever there is a problem in the HOT lanes? If there is an accident that closes the regular lanes will traffic be redirected into the HOT lanes without charge? I already know the answer is no! The HOT lanes were built to make a profit because of traffic.

The response shed light on what may be unequal reactions to incidents depending on where they occur. It also highlights how the lack of shoulders on HOT lanes and regular lanes makes emergency response difficult.

Walter Via


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