Caltrans may install more metering lights

October 8, 2008 7:18:59 AM PDT
Commuters may soon begin seeing more metering lights at Bay Area freeway on-ramps. The reason is that Caltrans says it has new evidence those unpopular lights recently installed on westbound Interstate 580 through the Tri-Valley area - are working, regardless of how frustrating they can be to morning commuters.

ABC7 first reported on Caltrans' controversial metering light project last month, when the transit agency flipped them on for the first time on 580-westbound in Alameda County. They're on weekday mornings from 5:00 am to 10:00 a.m..

The metering lights now control traffic on 19 east and westbound onramps on a stretch of 580 through Livermore, Dublin and Pleasanton.

Caltrans say it monitored traffic patterns for at least a week and found that the meters have improved traffic flow, saving commuters travel time and gas money. The lights have also reduced congestion on surface streets, which motorists previously used to bypass highway traffic.

Drivers did complain about some glitches in the beginning about delays due to long red lights and traffic backups, but Caltrans has since worked out the mechanical problems.

The transit agency says despite the unpopularity of the metering, it plans to install and flip on the lights at all on-ramps throughout the Bay Area in the next couple of years - it's just one part of a $600-million project to improve Bay Area traffic. For example, 40 on-ramps on highways in Santa Clara County will have metering lights turned on by the end of the year.


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