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You Might Not Need A Fake Baby To Use Some Carpool Lanes Soon

Headlights on the 210 (Photo by Mark Dodge Medlin via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Have you ever sat in traffic at 2 p.m. and felt tempted to just drive into the free-flowing carpoool lane? Soon you might be able to.On Thursday, state lawmakers passed a bill that would allow lone drivers to take the carpool lanes when it isn't rush hour on the 134 freeway, between the 170 and the 210 freeway, and on the 210 freeway, between the 134 freeway and the 57 freeway, according to the Glendale News-Press. In Northern California, lone drivers are already allowed to take carpool lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends. "I hope this [bill] will bring to Southern California the same sensible freeway management that Northern Californians enjoy," said assemblyman Mike Gatto of Glendale, who introduced AB 210.

The bill, which now awaits Governor Jerry Brown's signature or veto, would lift these restrictions beginning July 1, 2016. Brown vetoed a similar bill back in 2013, citing that the need for more traffic control in Los Angeles County. After the governor's veto, Gatto argued that the policy "works" in Northern California and said, "I don't see how keeping Southern Californians with atypical commutes in traffic is good for the environment or fair."

Gatto says that while encouraging carpooling and ride-sharing is important to reduce traffic in the area, it's especially difficult for Southern Californians since so many work odd hours—especially those in the entertainment business. L.A. has a slightly higher percentage of commuters who carpool compared to the national average, but it's still only at 10.7%.

This time around, the bill is armed with a 2014 Caltrans report that found that carpool lane usage on the 134 and 210 freeways were below "optimum" volume after 6 p.m. However, if Department of Transportation finds that opening the carpool lanes has a negative effect, the 24-hour restrictions could be reinstated by May 1, 2017.

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In the meantime, you're still not allowed in the carpool lane if you're driving by yourself. Even if you have a fake baby on board.