September 27, 2005 > Public's first look at HOT Lane
Public's first look at HOT Lane
Solo drivers will have option of paying to use I-680 carpool lane
by David Hyams
Plans for the Interstate 680 "Smart Carpool Lane" Project will be unveiled for residents and commuters at a public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Mission San Jose Elementary School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The project, currently in design stage, will convert the carpool lane on a 14-mile stretch of southbound I-680 to a "smart" carpool lane, or HOT (high occupancy/toll) lane. The project will allow solo drivers to use the carpool lane if they pay a toll electronically. The toll will vary depending on available capacity of the Smart Carpool lane. Drivers will see the current toll displayed on an overhead electronic sign and decide on-the-spot whether to enter the lane. All tolls will be collected electronically through drivers' FasTrak accounts - there will be no toll gates. Carpools will continue to use the lane for free.
Details of the project are not finalized. The Alameda County Congestion Management Agency is seeking input from drivers and other interested
parties so the project will reflect the public's needs and desires. This will be the first toll lane in the Bay Area; regional transportation planners anticipate Smart Carpool lanes throughout the Bay Area over the next 25 years.
The October 5 meeting to introduce the I-680 Smart Lane will have an "open house" format. Visitors will go from station to station to learn how electronic toll collection and enforcement will work, how trips will be priced, how the roadway will be affected, likely construction schedule, and other details. Afterward, attendees can answer a brief questionnaire that will provide agency staff with valuable feedback.
In addition, the meeting's displays, material, and feedback form will be available online in a "virtual open house" at www.680smartlane.org beginning October 4 for those unable to attend the October 5 public meeting.
The meeting will be in the cafeteria of Mission San Jose Elementary School, located at 43545 Bryant Street, Fremont. The school is off Mission Boulevard less than a mile from the Mission Boulevard Exit from I-680.