More toll lanes planned for I-680, this time north of Pleasanton

Dublin-Walnut Creek carpool lanes would open to solo drivers for a fee

State freeway planners want to convert the carpool lanes on I-680 between Dublin and Walnut Creek to toll lanes in an effort to keep traffic moving.

Representatives of Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission went public with their plan last night at a meeting in the San Ramon Community Center.

They said the carpool lanes, similar to thos on I-680 south of Hwy. 84, would continue to be free to vehicles with two or more drivers, but also wold be available to solo drivers willing to pay a toll. The toll would vary depending on freeway volume and presumably, as on the toll lane on I-680 to the south, would be open free of charge to all motorists during light traffic periods.

The express/toll lanes would replace carpool lanes on southbound I-680 from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in Dublin and on northbound I-680 from Alcosta Boulevard to the Livorna Road exit in Alamo.

MTC officials said the express lanes would be free for the same motorists currently allowed in carpool lanes, including vanpools and buses.

The proposed changes are intended to ease congestion on the freeway, particularly in the morning commute hours when traffic is projected to slow by about 5 mph and to about 10 mph during the evening commute by 2015, according to Lisa Klein, manager of the MTC's Express Lanes program.

More information on the Caltrans/MTC plan is available at

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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Posted by Whata Crock
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:20 am

What a folly. When they put the toll lane in on southbound I680 it increased traffic congestion. Also, the current carpool lane on I680 from Alcosta to Rudgear also increases traffic congestion. When heading north, as soon as the carpool lane ends at Rudgear, the congestion eases noticeably and traffic speeds up. When going south, congestion eases as soon one gets past the carpool lane at Alcosta. They could save a huge amount of money and better get traffic moving by simply taking out the carpool lane restriction.

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Posted by Whata Crock I I
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:27 am

TOLL?? As a Kaiser senior who three times a year might have to go to Kaiser for an early AM procedure, and otherwise has no reason ever to go North on 680, must I 'buy' something ?? No, I won't. I think lane changing and the start and stop points do more harm than good.

Like this comment
Posted by No carpool
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:31 am

I also believe they should just get rid of the carpool restriction. They say it would only clog the highway....have they actually performed a test. Let carpool lanes be unrestricted for a week or a month for the proposed toll areas (680N of Alcosta), highly publicize it and compare before and after commute speeds. But this wouldn't increase revenue to the state coffers or allow most working single drivers to get home in a decent time.

How about improving actual infrastructure? What about Bart along the 680 corridor? I commute from San Ramon to Hercules M-F, there is no public transit option unless I want to spend 3hr. changing buses to get there.

Like this comment
Posted by No carpool
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:47 am

I guess the transit board and CalTrans aren't open to new ideas: Web Link

Wake up!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

What! Another way for the State to make money. I currently commute to Milpitas on 680. I've seen the price at the highest at $8.00. I refuse to pay! Also it takes time and money for the CA Highway Patrol to monitor the 2 passenger or more, taking them away of doing more important things.

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Posted by Ben Johansen
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 31, 2014 at 8:06 pm

No carpool- Thank you for the link. Great report.
Most people may not remember the old 580 grade carpool lanes that caused more traffic backups then they were supposed to prevent. They tore those out after awhile. But now for some reason they still want to socially engineer the way we get around.
I drive the north 680 corridor every morning, leaving Pleasanton around 5:30am. It is ridiculous that the lane is closed to single drivers. Most mornings not a single car is properly using the lane. Usually only someone trying to get around a boulder driving in the #2 lane the same speed as someone in the #3 lane.

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Posted by Truth
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Really...the goal is to ease congestion?.....this is (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)! They are raising money to justify their own existence. MTC does not do anything other than "regulate" caltrans and impose tolls...bureaucracy at its finest....shame..shame...shame on you !

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Posted by Daniel
a resident of Valencia
on Feb 4, 2014 at 10:01 am

After they added the 680S FasTrak lane, traffic has gotten much worse. They essentially narrowed the corridor by a whole single lane. And no normally-paid person will pay six dollars to get work more quickly, every day.

We live in a democracy yet these sort of things we have no vote for.

Like this comment
Posted by 680rider
a resident of Danville
on Feb 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Why are important meetings of this ilk always announced after the fact? Who the heck are the MTC and who granted them powers of god hood and control of our roadways? I am regularly astounded when such poppycock ideas arise, such as "let's remove a lane of travel from the majority of drivers at peak hours".
Only now they say "let's sell it back and claim this is for the benefit of all."
Get rid of the elite, discriminatory lanes (that the CHP does NOT monitor anyway) and get traffic moving again.
Get the CHP working on busting the jerk motorcyclists unsafely darting between lanes of traffic at ALL speeds. ("Lane sharing" is a fallacy that is proven by the laws of Physics. Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.)

Like this comment
Posted by Steverino
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Quagmire accomplished. Caltrans uses misery to bring in cash. They have discovered that when there is an accident on Sunol Grade, the revenue rises dramatically. Expect more accidents on the grade.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:45 pm

The i680 express lane actually loses money. Read the budget report. The report states that the toll lane made money, but if you substrate out the state grant, which props up the revenue, this fools folly of an idea is actually costing the state money. One aspect of this toll lane was that the system was to be smart, metering traffic according to a computer controlled algorithm that was based on the freeway volume in real time. But the metering light at Bernal controls cars entering the freeway at the same frequency regardless if the freeway is at the speed limit or bumper to bumper traffic. How much extra did the taxpayers pay to have a smart system that really isn't smart? Did anyone notice that Caltrans turned off the "travel time to" signs. Caltrans finally admitted that the computer registering freeway traffic speed could not sync with the computer that calculates the time to destinations on the "travel time to" signs. How much did we pay for this?

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