Environmentalists File Lawsuit Against Caltrans Over Carpool Plans
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. A group of environmentalists has filed a lawsuit against Caltrans because of plans to construct lanes for carpooling along U.S. Route 50 in Sacramento as an extension of its existing carpool system. The group says that emissions from the increased number of vehicles could adversely impact local residents.
Environmentalist Group Objects to Expansion Plans
The group, Environmental Council of Sacramento, contends that the planned project is basically an expansion of the freeway because if it were a true expansion of carpool lanes, the state could redesignate several existing lanes to serve that purpose without adding additional lanes. The ECOS reports that adding additional lanes would have an adverse impact on the health of those living in surrounding residential areas, encourage sprawl, cause increased commuter time and increase greenhouse gases.
A previous lawsuit filed by the environmental group over an extension of the carpool lane between Sunrise Boulevard and Watt Avenue resulted in Caltrans settling out of court. In the settlement, the state department of transportation agreed to improvements in the light-rail system and the construction of a bike and pedestrian crossing in the area.
Caltrans Plans for the New Carpool Lanes
Caltrans is still lacking the funding to begin the project, which is projected to cost $187 million. It has worked toward adding carpool lanes to all the Sacramento freeways for decades. The aim is to increase efficiency, incentives for carpooling and ridesharing and improving traffic flow. Officials with Caltrans have not yet commented on the newly filed lawsuit.
High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Northern California
Northern California HOV lanes operate as commuter lanes during peak hours of traffic congestion Monday through Friday. Outside of these hours, other vehicles are permitted to use the lanes. Mass transit, vehicles with a minimum of two occupants and motorcycles are permitted to use carpool lanes during designated heavy commuter hours.
The Danger of Carpool Lanes
Although speeds are posted, traffic in carpool lanes around Sacramento tends to move up to 10 mph faster. While members of the California Highway Patrol look for traffic offenders, much of their time is spent clearing accidents off the roadway. These speeders, when they are involved in an accident, can cause more serious injuries than if the accident happened at a lower speed. In a recent study, Sacramento ranked number 16 out of California cities with populations of more than 100,000 for collisions by motor vehicles and their contributing factors. Among the factors considered were drunk driving, speeding, injury and fatality rates and daily miles traveled.
When traffic in the next lane slows, some drivers dart into the carpool lane in an effort to keep moving when their lane has slowed down or stalled and endanger those already in the carpool lane.
Generally, drivers need to enter the carpool lane carefully. Entering at too slow a speed without sufficient space and time to increase speed to keep up with other drivers can result in a rear-end collision. Exiting the carpool lane without care can have the same consequence.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith and I am a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Motor vehicle accidents cause thousands of injuries and deaths in California every year. If you or your family member has been injured as a consequence of an accident with a careless driver, please call me at 916-921-6400. My toll-free line is at (800) 404-5400. My legal advice is both friendly and free.
The Million Dollar Advocates Forum allows membership only from primary counsel trial lawyers who have shown settlements or verdicts for clients of seven figures or higher. I belong as a member from California.
Photo Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:404HOV_lane.png Courtesy of Floydian
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