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STREET SMART

Only 3% of Peak-Hour Vehicles Contain Infants, Caltrans Says

August 30, 1993|CAROLINE LEMKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

I am writing in regard to the diamond lane, where you have to have two or more people in a car to use the lane. I believe the intent of the lane was to remove cars from the mainstream traffic lanes by ride-sharing, therefore making traffic lighter.

There is nothing so irksome as to sit in stop-and-go, inch-by-inch traffic and watch the second passenger in a car in the car-pool lane in an infant seat.

I believe the language for car-pool lanes should read: "Two or more adults 18 years or older." This way we can assume the second person's car is off the road as intended.

Joseph A. Brogna, Orange

Caltrans agrees that the purpose of ride-sharing is to get vehicles off the road and appreciates the frustration commuters experience about vehicles with an infant passenger. However, limiting the high occupancy vehicle lane to adults or people of driving age would complicate its enforcement, said Joe El Harake, car-pool lane coordinator for Caltrans.

Realizing the importance of this issue, Caltrans did a traffic count of the number of vehicles during peak hours with an infant passenger, to see its effects on the operation of the freeway, El Harake said.

The 3% counted "was not significant enough to justify changing the law and the signing," he said.

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Dear Street Smart:

I'm sure that I read in your column that it is legal to cross solid white lines (such as those near intersections) under safe circumstances. However, I have heard recently that the Irvine Police Department has been ticketing motorists for crossing solid white lines.

Please clarify this issue for me.

Steve Schmidt, Costa Mesa

You didn't read it here before, but now you can. Here's the skinny on solid white lines:

It is illegal to cross a "limit line," without stopping first, according to the California Vehicle Code. A "limit line" is a solid white line between 12 and 24 inches wide that extends across a roadway to indicate the point where cars must stop. For example, you would stop behind a limit line if you were waiting for a traffic signal to turn green.

Solid white lines also create pedestrian crosswalks (except at school crossings, where they might be yellow). Here, too, they always mean stop.

A driver who stops within the crosswalk endangers the pedestrian, who might have to walk around the car and into a traffic lane.

So there you have it.

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On Labor Day, Orange County Transportation Authority buses, including OCTA ACCESS service for people with disabilities and senior citizens, will operate under Sunday service hours. Bus routes that normally do not run on Sundays will not be in service on Labor Day, which includes OCTA's Express Bus and Commuter Bus services serving commuters during rush hours from Monday through Friday.

OCTA's Commuter Rail service from San Juan Capistrano to downtown Los Angeles will not run on Labor Day, although regular Amtrak service will still be available.

For more Labor Day service hours information, call OCTA at (714) 636-RIDE.

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People who live, work or shop in downtown Santa Ana have a new opportunity to make short trips around town without contributing to the area's air quality problems. The Orange County Transportation Authority's electric bus is now serving the downtown area on a route that includes the Civic Center complex, the Santa Ana Train Station, OCTA's downtown Transit Terminal and The City Shopping Center in Orange.

The electric bus is part of a six-month test by OCTA and Southern California Edison. During this time, the bus will operate on a portion of Route 56 between The City Shopping Center and the Santa Ana Train Station.

Regular bus service on Route 56 will continue as scheduled and will not be affected by the addition of the electric bus. The fare for riding the electric bus will be the same as those charged on other OCTA buses.

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