75's HOV Lane Still, Still Drives Me Crazy!

My corner of the blogosphere was in its infancy - 14 days old, in fact - when I first lampooned the ridiculous, dangerous, 14-mile stretch of Central Expressway from Dallas to Allen known as the HOV lane.

My road-ragey rant went something like this:

The HOV lane dividers are made of what, light bulbs? WTF?! I'm sure these plastic posts are cheaper (i.e. suckier), but when cars accidentally swerve into them they immediately shatter into flying shards of petrified plastic. My neighbor suffered collateral damage of dents in his car and a flat tire from a nearby accident's shrapnel. Drive the highway on a given day - actually, any day - and the posts look like rows of broken, jagged teeth. What was supposed to be a psychological barrier has deteriorated into a physical danger.

Don't look now, but my soap box is getting crowded.

Last night I'm watching Channel 8's news and there's a story on said HOV lane. Citing a "dramatic spike in accidents and fatalities on Central since the HOV lanes opened", reporter David Schecter interviews this genius named Bill Hale. He's the Texas Department of Transportation's top engineer in Dallas and, swear to God, he's worse at his job than Jerry Jones.

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Asked if the system is working, Hale responded "Yes."

Working?! Really?!!


Seems to me the damn thing has been fatally flawed from its December 2007 debut - from design to practical application.


As I noted in June, there's exactly one - ONE - access point along the HOV that runs from LBJ all the way up to Bethany Road in Allen, and it's at Parker Road in Plano. Sorry, entire City of Richardson, HOV is off-limits to you.


Working? How's this for planning: It's not possible to be in the HOV lane and exit on to Bush Freeway.


Furthermore, the HOV entrance southbound at Bethany has been closed since around Thanksgiving. I shit you not. And not just an "Oops, we're sorry"-here's-some-smiling-flagmen-temporarily-kinda closed, I mean c-l-o-s-e-d. Orange-and-white roadblocks. Weighted down by sandbags. Fuhgeddaboudit closed.


Those of us who head into Dallas from Collin County not only can't use the HOV lane, we're also subjected to an extended eyesore of highway littered with shards of pylons, crushed barrels, trash, hubcaps and general neglect and blight.


The HOV from Allen to Plano looks like Sanford & Son's back yard. Yeah, this is totally working.


Look, I'm no engineer. Just a dorky sportswriter trying to get safely and efficiently from Point A to Point B.

But I do have enough common sense to figure out that IT'S NOT WORKING! Everyone is inconvenienced. Most are pissed. Some are even dying.


Central's HOV is Dallas' worst idea since the CueCat.


If Hale can't reach that same conclusion, maybe he should apply for a consultant's gig with the Cowboys.


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