Cops set crackdown on Ga. 400 shoulder scofflaws
North Buckhead Driving and DUI School
Maybe they’re confused or just taking advantage, but some motorists recently given the privilege of driving on the shoulder of Ga. 400 during the morning rush now are doing so when they’re not supposed to – and inviting a police crackdown.
In an attempt to improve traffic for commuters, the Georgia Department of Transportation last week opened to traffic the southbound shoulder of Ga. 400 from Holcomb Bridge Road to the Northridge Road exit, and from Northridge to the North Springs MARTA exit.
Shoulder-riding is permitted only during the hours of 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
After a fitful start to the experiment, with many drivers confused about where legal shoulder-riding started and ended, travel times have been improving along that stretch of highway, GDOT data show. But there also has been an increase in illegal lane usage.
Sandy Springs police this week started handing out warnings to drivers they find using the shoulder outside the allowed hours. On June 15, police say, they’ll start writing real tickets.
“The signs are clearly marked. They’re only supposed to be in that lane from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.,” Sandy Springs police Officer Forrest Bohannon told Channel 2 Action News.
Riding the shoulder, Bohannon said, “is a safety hazard to other motorists on the road or somebody who might be using that shoulder lane after they have broken down.”
According to a GDOT website on Ga. 400 shoulder lane usage, motorists cannot ride the shoulder outside the morning rush, but transit buses can. Trucks with more than six wheels cannot use the lane at any time. A 45 mph maximum speed is recommended. Unauthorized shoulder riding can lead to a ticket and a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 12 months in jail.
Channel 2 also reported the latest travel times for that stretch of Ga. 400 from GDOT.
The average commute between Windward Parkway and Northridge Road took about 22 minutes before the shoulder-lane change. On the first day of the new policy, the drive took as long as 50 minutes. But by Thursday of last week, travel times had fallen to about 15 minutes.
One motorist, Christina Rodriguez, told Channel 2, “”I’m not really surprised” some drivers are taking advantage of shoulder-riding to do so when they’re not supposed to.
“I wouldn’t agree with it because it makes it harder on everyone else,” Rodriguez said of the practice. But, she added, “What can you say? They’re going to use it regardless.”
Blogger’s Note: So, no cheating on this shoulder timing thing and, according to this article, ignorance is no excuse. I expect all of this to get sorted out with time. What was more interesting to me was that the last few paragraphs give data that appears to indicate this driving on the shoulder idea is cutting commute times down. What are you experiences? We’d like to hear.
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