Gwinnett Commuter Wants HOT Lane Stopped

From the story:

He said dealing with a longer commute has changed his quality of life. “I’m driving until 7 p.m., and my kids are getting ready for bed and taking baths,” he said. “I’m missing all that extra family time when I should have been home seeing and playing with them.”

Rodgers said he wants the state to suspend or stop the HOT lanes at least until they figure it out. He alone is the grass roots behind a petition drive, but he doesn’t think he’s alone.

“Just seeing the faces of the drivers that I’m sitting next to in traffic, the guys beating on their horns, angry and frustrated, I know there are a lot more,” he said.

So what about this? Is it time to pull the plug or should we give the HOT lanes more time? Is 13 days enough time to judge this a success or failure?


    • Engineer says:

      It is $884/year ($442 one way), using the $1.70 rate mentioned in the above comment, or $17/week ($8.50 if one way). The question then becomes becomes, is his time and by that same token, the time with his kids, worth it to him to spend the extra?

      Only the individual can decide if the costs outweigh the benefits, so it isn’t up to me to say one way or the other. But if I were in that situation, I’d probably be willing to spend a little extra and use the lane every now and then.

  1. TolleyJenkins says:

    What is he doing leaving work before 7pm anyways? Maybe if he was willing to work a bit harder he’d be able to afford the HOT lanes.

  2. zedsmith says:


    He didn’t buy it, and he doesn’t own it. The public does. Same goes for me and those wars I didn’t want to buy.

  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    You know, in most cases before opening up and operating a big project like this, a state government might have elected to do some minor basic research to figure out what kind of impact taking away a lane of traffic and ending free two-person carpools and instituting a toll in the carpool lane would have on congestion on the entire road instead of just saying “Well, it works in other states”.

    Oh yeah, the state did do some research on the impact that this project would have on traffic after it opened (but after they had already spent over $60 million to complete construction on the project).

    The state’s own internal research told them that converting an existing lane from two-person carpools to a three-person carpool lane with a toll would actually make traffic WORSE, telling them that basically taking away a lane on an already very congested road would probably not be as good of an idea as it originally seemed after a night of excessive drug and alcohol abuse and that maybe ADDING a couple of extra HOT lanes to the road might have been a slightly better way to introduce the concept to an already kind of skeptical (and distrustful) public in Georgia.

    But, eh, you live and you learn….

    • GTKay says:

      I’m trying hard to understand what you’re trying to say in that last paragraph about what would have been a better way to introduce HOT lanes…but it’s just not happening.

      If you’re talking about adding lanes in addition to the ones we have and making them HOT lanes, then I’m curious as to where you would add them.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        The additional lanes could be elevated over the median of the road like in Texas and California since GDOT is in the mood to copy what other states are doing without thoroughly researching how it would work locally first.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Elevated lanes with their own exits and entrances so that motorists using the lanes won’t have to dart across five or six lanes of traffic to use them.

      • Rambler1414 says:

        There’s several different ways, and they’re all be considered for the 75/575 corridor and the 400 corridor.

  4. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “So what about this? Is it time to pull the plug or should we give the HOT lanes more time? Is 13 days enough time to judge this a success or failure?”

    I don’t know if 13 days is enough time to judge this “experimental project” (because everyone likes to see their congested rush hour commutes experimented with and turned into total gridlock every now and then, just for the sheer heck of it) a success or failure.

    But I do know that 13 days is enough time to gauge the increasingly angry reaction in advance of the next major election, which in this case looks to be the regional TSPLOST referendum in July 2012.

    And we all assumed that voter turnout from the overall electorate would be light….

  5. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    Short of pulling the plug on the HOT lanes “project”, the best thing that the state can do is to restore the free two-person carpools to that lane as quickly as possible as people tend to get very angry when sitting in already bad-enough gridlock made artificially worse by an inept state government pursuing a misguided agenda.

    • Cassandra says:

      Your handle is absurd. The current GA GOP was and probably still is Dem. There are Dems a’plenty in Georgia; now they are invisibly cloaked under the Magic GOP Binkie.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Yes there are still plenty of Dems in Georgia, but they are virtually completely powerless and on the verge of extinction at the state level as many of them have switched parties to stay in office and the concept of being identified with the national Democrat Party around these parts has become more radioactive than that power plant at Chernobyl.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      You hit the nail right-on-the-head as the HOT lane debacle on I-85 through the Northeast Metro Corridor has hurt those voters’ perception of the upcoming TSPLOST referendum.

      The HOT lane debacle has motivated those voters to oppose voting to increase their taxes if that kind of increased gridlock is what they are going to get in return for paying more to the government.

      • Rambler1414 says:

        Along with the 400/SRTA debacle still influencing the minds of North Fulton voters.

        “Let’s continue the toll even though we told them it would stop.”
        “Let’s stop the toll for 1 weekend to technically meet our promise, then start it up again.”
        “Let’s hold public meetings to ask people’s opinions after we’ve already gone to the market for the bonds and it’s too late to change course.”

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Yep, all the repeated missteps add up in the mind of voters who think that government views them as nothing more than ATMs.

  6. Cassandra says:

    Numbers have almost become meaningless, since WE are so used to hearing about large ones that are hard to grasp. For instance, $60Million, cost of not-so-HOT Lanes, $6.1Billion, cost of T-SPLATT, or $1.4Trillion, cost of our freedom.

    Georgia has roughly 9.9Million citizens, divided into $60Million yields $6.060606 AS Reich Mistress Bachmann mentioned, the Devil is in the details.


  7. Steve says:

    I commute from Duluth to Midtown every day. The problem I see is access in and out of the HOT lane.

    Even if you WANTED to pay the toll, it might take you a couple of miles to fight your way across 5 lines of congested traffic to enter the thing.

    Then as you approach your exit, you would somehow have to change from a 50 mph lane to a 10 mph one. You would then have to fight your way back across 5 lanes of congested traffic. You would have to do all this within about a thousand yards (!!!) of distance, because the exit points for the HOT lane are ridiculously close to their associated exit points for I-85 itself.

    The system is broken **by design**, and most of the delays I’ve seen are ultimately caused by people attempting frantic lane changes back and forth across all lanes.

    Cut the toll in half, allow 2-passenger cars back in for free… all those ideas are great. But so long as you can only enter or exit the HOT lane at specific points, and as long as those points are located the way they are, then this thing will always be a mess.

    • But essentially this would be the same problem with how the HOV lanes *would* have worked had people actually followed the rules on entrance and exit?

      I haven’t driven out their yet (need to get my peach pass first) but I can’t imagine that the total time and traffic will be that much different once things even out. It’s just one lane, I’d imagine that the number of 2 car HOV people now in traffic will eventually roughly equal the number of people in the HOT lane.

      To the upset commuter: I paid more for my house in DeKalb to be closer to downtown so I can be home sooner. You paid less in Gwinnett. You’d have to ride in that HOT line thousands of times to see the difference. You want me to pay more for my house to have a shorter commute AND you want me to subsidize your shorter commute to your cheaper house? No thanks.

      • Harry says:

        And you want me to subsidize MARTA? No thanks.

        Atlanta residents feeling smug about discomforting the Gwinnett commuters should beware unintended consequences. Some of those commuters are bosses and owners, and may well consider relocating their businesses out of Atlanta so they don’t have to face the grind.

      • Steve says:

        Subsidize what? The HOT lanes are revenue-negative. Even under the projections of their proponents, the best-case toll revenue would not cover the expense of setting up and operating the toll equipment.

        The most optimistic projections were that this project would increase congestion in the regular lanes, and would require subsidy to run. The whole thing was always from a need to be seen as “doing something”, with too small a pot of money to do anything really positive.

        I’ve gathered from some comments that DeKalb people are *really* resentful of Gwinnett folks… for having lower taxes, not supporting MARTA, or whatever. However, since the HOT lanes are revenue-negative, you’re basically paying a subsidy *now* to make our commutes longer. If the spite feels good, then so be it… but that’s stupid.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “I’ve gathered from some comments that DeKalb people are *really* resentful of Gwinnett folks… for having lower taxes, not supporting MARTA, or whatever.”

          Some of the resentment might even run a little deeper than that as the people around these parts with really long memories are angry that Gwinnett stole DeKalb’s “thunder” as the Atlanta’s main mega-suburb.

          40 years ago it was DeKalb that had the low taxes, the suburban political power base, the mega suburban shopping malls, the big suburban high schools with the high-ranked powerhouse football teams and overall suburban dominance that Gwinnett has today as Atlanta’s most populous suburban county.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “The system is broken **by design**, and most of the delays I’ve seen are ultimately caused by people attempting frantic lane changes back and forth across all lanes.”

      Yeah, the system is broken by the design of the idiots in charge of “transportation planning” (an oxymoron with that bunch, I know) in the State of Georgia.

      These are the same idiots who once lost $430 million in a filing cabinet, why would we expect them to be able to engage in logical and well thought-out road design?

      BTW, I wonder if they’ve turned the phones back on at the SRTA offices yet?

  8. Awal says:

    I have an issue with some of the comments regarding whether people should spend $800+ per year to spend more time with their family. In recent years gas prices have shot up along with food prices and utilities. Many individuals have been laid off, then have had to accept jobs making less in order to have a place to stay and feed their families. An additional $800 per year could be a strain because they have already had to absorb the increased cost of everything else while earning less. Should I dear mention health insurance costs which seem to increase about 10-30% per year? Though some of you may have extra income to contribute to the hot lanes everyone doesn’t.

    • saltycracker says:

      Isn’t the idea for those with discretionary money to enjoy and those without to eat cake sitting there ?

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