Local News

HOV Lane Bill Designed To Keep Traffic Moving In N.C.

Posted May 12, 2004

— A state legislator has introduced a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane bill in the state Legislature. Some believe that concept could hit home in the Triangle.

Capital Boulevard in Raleigh is so bad that many drivers stay away from it -- even state legislators. Rep. Keith Williams may represent Jacksonville, but he drives around Raleigh during legislative sessions.

"It is a terrible place to try to drive up to north Raleigh in the afternoon. I know, I've gotten caught up there a couple of times," Williams said. "I try to avoid Capital Boulevard as much as I can to tell you the truth."

The traffic trouble Williams saw convinced him to introduce a high occupancy vehicle lane bill at the state Legislature.

"I think that maybe a HOV lane would be something that would work on Capital [Boulevard] simply because there's so many people going back and forth," he said.

The HOV law would dedicate lanes for cars with two or more passengers. The bill would allow not only the state to create HOV lanes, but also cities and towns. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said there could be some use for the lanes in the city.

"So far, HOV [lanes] has primarily been used on major interstate roads commuting into cities, but there could be some uses for local governments as well if this bill passes," he said. "We'll definitely be taking a look at it."

Williams' bill also clears the way for emergency vehicles to use HOV lanes. If it passes, Charlotte plans to open HOV lanes as soon as possible.

The first exclusive freeway HOV lanes in the United States opened in 1969 in Virginia. They are now in 125 locations and cover more than 2,500 miles -- more than enough to stretch between Raleigh and Charlotte 14 times.


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