State troopers to step up enforcement of HOV rules
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 10:27 p.m.
Tom Guido and his wife count the number of cars violating the Parkway North HOV lane multi-person occupancy rule during their daily commute to and from Downtown.
“It's every day in and every day out. It's almost been comical — my wife and I, we look at every car, to see how many people are inside,” said Guido, 29, of Pine. “When you see a car with one person in it, it makes you wonder, ‘Who's patrolling it?' ”
Guido was happy to hear on Monday that state police will be ramping up enforcement of the HOV — or high-occupancy vehicle — lanes to crack down on violators.
“We'll have guys in patrol vehicles and motorcycles,” said Trooper Robin Mungo. “PennDOT has received calls, and it appears people are operating in that lane without additional passengers. We want to tell people, ‘You have to follow the rules.' ”
The HOV lanes are restricted to vehicles containing two or more people from 6 to 10 a.m. inbound and 3 to 7 p.m. outbound Monday through Friday. The goal is to promote carpooling and public transportation to reduce congestion on I-279, Mungo said.
Fines for violations vary depending on the citation, but tickets can exceed $100, Mungo said. She said the enforcement effort will involve troopers already on duty. It will not require overtime costs. Mungo wouldn't say when the increased enforcement will begin.
After large events, such as baseball and football games on the North Shore, the lanes are typically open to everyone, Mungo said.
In 2011, the most recent year for which PennDOT data are available, about 5,296 vehicles used the HOV lanes daily, and 113,689 used the regular Parkway North daily.
The HOV lanes opened in 1989 but were restricted to vehicles with three or more people until 1992, when the limit was lowered to two people. The lanes are about five miles long.
Guido said they save him and his wife, Dianna, 29, about 15 minutes each way on their commute.
“We definitely cruise past traffic (on the regular I-279),” he said. “We only take it about three miles, but if we pass 20 cars, probably about seven or eight have single riders.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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