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A little knowledge of history would show that government policy decisions can work both ways – bus lanes to mixed traffic OR mixed traffic to bus lanes. The lanes on I-395 in Northern Virginia were designed originally to be peak-period reversible lanes for all traffic. As the first sections were nearing completion the 1973 gas crisis hit and it was decided that buses could use the yet incomplete lanes since there would be few vehicles with professional drivers. When the lanes were finally completed to the Beltway it was seen that there remained substantial unused capacity but, since the bus operation had been so successful, it was decided to person some cars – HOV with four or more – to use the lanes along with the buses. That HOV number was later reduced to 3 or more.

The value of the lanes to serving both buses and HOVs to move more people per lane that the general traffic lanes resulted in decisions not to restore the lanes to their originally designed purpose – use by all traffic – in spite of daily reminders by at least one helicopter traffic reported that the lanes were flowing freely while the general lanes were crawling.

Public policy can work in many ways. The great investment in streetcar track was paved over or removed based on public policy. Bus lanes have been established and maintained in many cites (e.g. Madison Ave.) based on public policy. Do what is right and then work to maintain it, but don’t try to outguess future policies.

by sgfranks on Jul 13, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

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