Freeway car-pool lanes--godsend or curse, depending on your viewpoint--will be added to the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) beginning in March and eventually will extend from Seal Beach to Irvine, transportation officials announced.
The first 10-mile segment from the San Gabriel River Freeway in Seal Beach through Costa Mesa will be completed by the end of 1988, officials said. The remaining 14 miles, reaching to the Santa Ana Freeway in Irvine, will be completed by mid-1989, they said.
The announcement brought immediate condemnation from Drivers for Highway Safety, a group that consistently has opposed the experimental car-pool lanes on the Costa Mesa Freeway.
“They’re going to have the same, unsafe condition there that they have on the (Costa Mesa) freeway,” said Joe Catron, the group’s chairman.
He reiterated his contention that the numbers of accidents on Costa Mesa Freeway has increased since the car-pool lanes were installed. The reason, he insists, is that car-pool lanes, with relatively fast traffic, run adjacent to the slow traffic in normal lanes without a safety barrier between them.
But the California Department of Transportation says increases in accidents since car-pool lane traffic began are no larger than normal year-to-year variations.
Caltrans officials added that they have learned from the Costa Mesa Freeway experiment and will make improvements in the San Diego Freeway car-pool lanes, such as installing better signs, wider lanes and more buffer space.