SoCal carpool lanes could open up

HOV stickerIf you have traveled in Northern California or the East Coast of the USA lately, you know they do carpool lanes differently. After rush hour, the lanes are opened to anybody, helping traffic flow more easily — and thus actually reducing fuel use and pollution.

By contrast, in Southern California, the lanes are kept only for carpools 24 hours a day. It could be 3 am and nobody is on the expressway, but you still can’t use them with just one person in the car without risking getting a ticket.

Now that might change. According to the U-T San Diego:

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, introduced AB 210 last week that would require Caltrans to open diamond lanes along portions of state Routes 210 and 134 in Los Angeles County to all drivers during non-commute hours. It would be a pilot program, though Gatto has said he would like to see the change made statewide.

The bill mirrors Gatto’s legislation, AB 405, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature in 2013 but vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“The people have spoken. The Legislature has spoken. We don’t understand why it was vetoed,” Gatto said in an interview on Friday. “The best thing you can do is keep trying.”

Brown’s 2013 veto message read:

I am returning Assembly Bill 405 without my signature. … Carpool lanes are especially important in Los Angeles County to reduce pollution and maximize use of freeways. We should retain the current 24/7 carpool lane control.

Which is odd, because Brown has lived in Northern California for decades now, and must know its car pool lanes expire after rush hour.

It also seems odd that California’s government workers in Sacramento get to enjoy their carpools opening up after rush hour, but most of the rest of the state does not.

Gatto has become a champion of California drivers. He also has tried to overturn the new cap-and-trade tax on gasoline that especially slams long-distance commuters in the middle class and among the poor.

Tags assigned to this article:
Jerry BrownJohn SeilerMike Gattocarpool lanes

John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

Related Articles

CA massage law: A case study in regulatory failure

  Residents of Los Angeles know that “medical” marijuana shops are not the only gray-market business that’s experienced a recent

‘Moderates’ brawl with ‘progressives’ in San Francisco mayoral special election

The Dec. 12 death of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee from a heart attack has set the city up for

Once scandal-plagued, L.A. County now unusually quiet

A CalWatchdog survey last August of all the different corruption scandals in recent years at local agencies in south and