Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2019

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Las Vegas council lobbies against 24/7 HOV lanes

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Steve Marcus

Cars use the High Occupancy Vehicle lane on northbound Interstate 15 near Sunset Road Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Las Vegas wants the Nevada Department of Transportation to reconsider its around-the-clock enforcement of HOV-lane restrictions on Interstate 15 and U.S. 95.

The city council approved a resolution today expressing opposition to recently enacted 24/7 enforcement of HOV lanes and requesting that the NDOT Board of Directors only enforce the rules on Las Vegas highways during peak hours.

High-occupancy vehicle lanes offer vehicles with two or more passengers the opportunity to ride in a dedicated lane separate from other traffic. The goal of the lanes is to reduce congestion and air pollution and encourage carpooling.

The council resolution was proposed by Ward 4 Councilman Stavros Anthony, who has previously expressed opposition to constant enforcement of HOV lanes. He questioned whether the lanes effectively promote behavior change such as carpooling.

“People like to drive in their own cars, by themselves, to get where they are,” Anthony said.

Anthony said he has received complaints from constituents about low use of HOV lanes and the space they take up on highways, especially since 24/7 enforcement went into effect beginning May 27. Prior to that, HOV restrictions were only enforced on weekday peak hours between 6 and 10 a.m. and 2 and 7 p.m., according to the city’s resolution.

“If you look at them during the day during rush hour traffic, they’re pretty much empty,” Anthony said.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Victoria Seaman said her constituents frequently raised concerns about the new 24/7 rules for HOV lanes during her city council campaign this spring.

“Enforcement 24/7 of HOV lanes will not really help the environment, but rather create unnecessary enforcement and citations,” Seaman said.

Steve Grammas, president of Las Vegas Police Protective Association, said he supports a return to HOV lane enforcement only during peak hours, describing the tightened restrictions as ineffective.

“It’s just going to make good people possibly get a citation,” Grammas said.

The resolution passed unanimously.