United States

SF Transportation Officials Study Carpool, Toll Lanes on Highway 101, Interstate 280

San Francisco officials are looking at adding carpool lanes to the two main freeways through the city, U.S. 101 and Interstate 280, and possibly making them toll lanes to ease congestion.

The traffic study underway by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority is taking into account several factors, but agency leaders believe carpool lanes could help.

"We’re just at the feasibility stage; we really need to find out a lot more about exactly what they might look like," SFCTA spokesman Eric Young said. "Should there be three people in a car or is two enough? Or should there be a toll option where you can pay extra to drive in the fast lane?"

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who heads the transportation board of commissioners, was concerned about the toll lane option.

"There are definitely legitimate concerns that I share about equity and not having just the wealthy being able to use carpool lanes," Peskin said.

I-280 cuts right through Supervisor Asha Safai’s district, and he thinks carpool lanes of any variety may be the wrong approach.

"We’re talking about keeping people in cars instead of getting people out of cars," he said.

Drivers generally approved the idea of carpool lanes.

"I would like that, yes, because the traffic out here is ridiculous," San Francisco resident Lorraina Bradford said. "It’s crazy all these accidents keep happening."

Resident Tiffany Smith added: "I think it would help with the traffic most definitely."

Toll lanes, however, seemed to be taboo.

SFCTA says it would take a couple of years of talking before anything would actually be put in place, a lot more time for the transportation authority to hear what might work and what people want.

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