Firm minimum of 3 occupants in H-1’s Zipper
The state Department of Transportation recently announced that only vehicles with three or more passengers can use the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) and contraflow lanes. What if my commute vehicle is a two-passenger sports car? Just when the DOT finally got it right by changing the previous HOV policy from three to two in a car, they have decided to go backwards to a policy that didn't work before and won't work now. If people think that the regular traffic goes faster than the HOV lane, why don't they get into the regular traffic? Most cars on the road in rush-hour traffic carry one person. Why penalize those riding two in a car? Motorcycles were allowed in the HOV lanes because they were classified as single-rider vehicles. Also, is it possible to permit two-person cars after 8 a.m.? The HOV lane is a trickle of cars after 8.
Answer: For high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Kalanianaole Highway, H-2 freeway and Moanalua Freeway: Only two passengers are required. As of July 8, ZipperLane and Nimitz contraflow lanes: three required.
Unfortunately for you, it doesn't matter what size your vehicle is or how many passengers it can legally carry, unless you ride a motorcycle.
"The requirement of three or more passengers to commute in the ZipperLane and Nimitz contraflow lane applies to sports cars as well," said transportation spokeswoman Tammy Mori.
You can travel in the regular HOV lanes, which Mori said have "proven to be beneficial to those who choose to use it."
Motorcyclists, meanwhile, are still allowed to travel in both the ZipperLane and Nimitz contraflow lane, as well as the other HOV lanes.
"The current situation during our morning commute is not a healthy one for our highway system or for our residents," Mori said.
The Transportation Department knows there isn't a single solution to the commuter congestion, "but we believe (the current plan) will benefit most drivers in the long run," she said. "It is a step in the right direction to help provide some real traffic relief on a permanent basis."
The department has received many suggestions about dealing with the problem, including adjusting occupancy levels, the time of day and the time of year, "all of which we are taking into consideration," Mori said.
Over the next several months, the Transportation Department will evaluate the data being collected.
"We want to see what types of changes would work in the best interest of the entire commuting population and not just pockets of commuters," Mori said.
To a very kind gentleman. My wife fell while walking on the sidewalk on Miller Street next to the Queen's Medical Center recently. She was not seriously hurt, but was left with scraped knees, aches and pains. And her cell phone fell from her purse without her realizing it. The man found the phone several hours later and called to say he was leaving it with the parking lot attendant nearby. We are sorry we could not thank you personally. -- C.K.
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