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Questions and Answers About Your Commute : Steamed Up Over Big Rigs in the Fast Lanes

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Traffic Talk:

Why doesn’t the California Highway Patrol enforce the “multi-axle vehicles stay in the two right lanes” laws on the Sepulveda Pass grades north and south?

Without a doubt these chugging behemoths, which regularly are as far left as the No. 2 lane, are a major source of congestion.

The CHP’s rather weak response to a phone call was that northbound, at least, they give the trucks a break because of the 101 split. But that’s seven miles away, six of which they are traveling up the hill.

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Barry Cook

Newhall

Dear Barry:

According to Rob Lund, a CHP public information officer, although officers give truck drivers some leeway on the northbound lanes to allow them to set up their exchanges as the Ventura Freeway nears, the agency otherwise enforces the law aggressively on the rest of the grade.

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Its enforcement occasionally includes a handful of officers who specifically monitor commercial traffic, he said.

However, the CHP is often overwhelmed because of the great number of trucks on the highways and the few officers on duty at a certain time and charged with enforcing laws pertaining to commercial and normal traffic, he said.

Dear Traffic Talk:

Why are carpool lanes at freeway onramps in some places on the left and some places on the right?

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There seldom are signs in advance advising drivers which lane is carpool and which is not. You find out as you turn on the ramp.

If a one-person car happens to turn onto a carpool lane and there is a long line in the other lane, it often is difficult to get into the proper lane.

Wouldn’t it make sene to standardize it for all ramps?

Ron Rieder

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Sherman Oaks

Dear Ron:

Caltrans engineers have placed carpool lanes on onramps differently for several reasons, according to Pat Reid, a spokesman for the agency.

Engineers have studied driving habits at each freeway on- and offramp that is marked for carpool bypass lanes. The lanes are installed generally on the side that high-occupancy vehicles naturally drive onto.

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Other factors are roadway geometrics, grade, sight distance and landscaping.

Dear Traffic Talk:

On a recent trip from San Diego to San Francisco, my husband and I frequently used the diamond lane.

We noticed there were many different lane markings and became confused at some points.

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Sometimes there were no broken white lines designating exits from the diamond lane approaching major interchanges or major of ramps.

At times there were two yellow solid lines, sometimes a white line with two yellow lines, sometimes two pair of yellow lines.

Could you explain when it is legal to cross in and out of the marked diamond lanes?

Joy Slothower

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Winnetka

Dear Joy:

According to the California Motor Vehicle Code, drivers may enter and exit carpool lanes only where there is a dashed white line.

It is against the law to cross any solid yellow line marking a carpool lane, said Pat Reid, a Caltrans spokeswoman.

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Traffic Talk appears Fridays in The Times Valley Edition. Readers may submit questions to Traffic Talk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Include your full name, address and daytime phone number. To record your questions, call (818) 772-3303. Fax letters to (818) 772-3385. E-mail questions to valley@latimes.com


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