Cody from Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Every day when I am leaving the DTC from work, I merge onto I-25 North from Orchard. I wait like everyone else for my turn at the drag race light to merge. Sometimes the weight is excruciatingly long. However, the lane to the right of us gets to bypass all of that traffic because it is a “carpool merge lane.” Every day I sit patiently waiting for my turn like everyone else, but always notice that almost NONE of the vehicles speeding past me in that special carpool merge lane have more than one person in them. So it begs the question, is there nothing in place outside of the honor system and just general moral integrity to deter single occupant vehicles from taking advantage of the carpool merge lanes? They just get to quickly pass in front of 50+ decent human beings who read the “2 or more people per vehicle” sign and realized that it didn’t apply to them? With my routine schedule I notice many of the same cars doing it every day, which makes me think there are no cameras and is therefore no enforcement.”
I empathize with you, Cody. It is so frustrating when anyone who is doing the right thing watches as others blow past you in line as they get away with doing something they know is wrong just to get ahead of everyone else. As you pointed out, that lane to the right is designed to allow vehicles with two or more persons in it to bypass the metered light at the end of that I-25 northbound on ramp. In the afternoon, that ramp gets backed up to Orchard and keeps traffic on Orchard slow around I-25. Using that HOV lane saves a bunch of time waiting at that metered light.
That ramp access is in the City of Greenwood Village and in the jurisdiction of the Greenwood Village Police Department. They tell me they are out there, having issued well over 100 HOV violation tickets at that ramp last year. “Our officers monitor this location at least weekly,” said Crystal Dean, police operations support manager for the Greenwood Village Police Department. “This is an area where we get very few (if any) complaints about, and rarely do we have traffic accidents in this location.”
Violators who receive a ticket for using the HOV lane as a single driver face a $30 fine and zero points on their license. The points are set by state statute and the fine is set by the City of Greenwood Village. They also suggest giving them a call on their non-emergency line (303-773-2525) if you see a large number of violators on any particular day.
Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.