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Orange County Digest

Central County : Group Planning Protest Against Car-Pool Lanes

January 22, 1986|Kim Murphy \f7

A committee of motorists opposed to car-pool lanes on the Costa Mesa Freeway is asking commuters who agree to turn on their headlights and display a red banner on their antennas, beginning Thursday morning.

"This is to let officials know that the lanes are not working out," said Joe Catron, chairman of Drivers for Highway Safety. The group, he said, is attempting to persuade state and county transportation officials to make the lanes, now limited to cars with two or more occupants, available to all drivers.

About 75 committee members who attended an organizational meeting last week decided on the new strategy, Catron said.

The campaign, he said, is designed in part to counter the state Department of Transportation's new billboard campaign to encourage car pools that will ask drivers to "Honk if you hate commuting . . . then call us." About 200 billboards went up in urban areas throughout the state this week.

Committee members will be at many off-ramps along the Costa Mesa Freeway next week to distribute the red banners, Catron said.

Volunteers will also be conducting counts of cars using the commuter lanes. Catron said he believes official counts of the number of cars using the lanes--taken with automatic counters--are unrealistically high because they count single-occupant cars using the lanes illegally.

A citizens' advisory committee is expected to make a recommendation to Caltrans in early March on whether to continue restricting the Costa Mesa Freeway lanes to car poolers, although committee chairman James Beam has said he may seek to extend the trial period through next fall.

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