Commentary: New Carpool Lane Not A Good Idea

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 9, 2005

At the south edge of midtown, where highways 99, 50 and 80 all come together, Caltrans wants to add another lane, a car pool lane, to a maze that is already difficult to maneuver. I say no. Both for safety and, I confess, NIMBY reasons -- not in my back yard. 

I remember the neighborhood before the freeway. Lovely old homes with big porches and huge shade trees had to be uprooted to build the elevated highway that slices through this once beautiful swath of Sacramento.

Southside Park, where my family watched fourth of July fireworks, was cut in two by the freeway. Now, to shave a few minutes off a new generation’s commute, the highway lobby proposes to do it again. No.

If they want to expand capacity on the freeway, I say convert an existing lane to a car pool lane. I don’t want this wounded neighborhood forced to absorb a single additional decibel or to sacrifice one more breath of fresh air to the false promise of a faster commute.

Also, I think adding another lane is dangerous. If you’re on highway 50 now, you have to cross five lanes of traffic to merge onto I-5 to go north to Arco Arena or the airport. Caltrans would add a sixth lane.  I’m no traffic engineer, but I drive -- and that sounds scary to me.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.