In his Aug. 13 commentary, Tony Illia of the Nevada Department of Transportation defended carpool lanes in Las Vegas.
I then drove U.S. Highway 95 north from downtown during rush hour to understand his assertion. It was quite obvious that there were major traffic jams and slowdowns for the normal lanes, yet virtually no traffic in the carpool lanes. A simple calculation shows that opening the carpool lane to everyone would speed up traffic, reduce pollution and save fuel.
Carpooling requires people to live close to each other, work close to each other, enjoy the other person and to arrive at and leave work at the same time. In Las Vegas, these conditions are not common.
The huge cost to build an HOV lane from southbound U.S. 95 to southbound Interstate 15 is a complete waste of money because very few commuters will use it — as the carpool lane on U.S. 95 north proves. In addition, removing a lane available for driving on I-15 will do nothing except make the traffic worse. This is especially true because the removed lane is currently one of two express lanes.
It is true that merging from U.S. 95 south onto I-15 south is a real problem requiring difficult merging that has caused numerous accidents. Unfortunately, the HOV flyover bridge will not help the merge and, depending on where the I-15 through-lane reduction occurs, the merge will be much slower, harder and more dangerous.
Moving traffic faster should be NDOT’s goal rather than engaging in politically correct social engineering by pushing HOV lanes. Saving the most time for the most people is what the general population wants.