Hundreds of Drivers Used LBJ's TEXpress, and They All Made it out Alive

Categories: Transportation

LBJExpressRender.jpg
LBJ's TEXpress Lanes opened overnight Friday, and fears that their fluxuating toll rates would create some type of rift in the space-time continuum proved to be wildly overblown.

The first vehicle -- the guinea pig, if you will -- entered the newly completed corridor, which stretches from Preston Road to Greenville Avenue, at 12:05 a.m. Saturday. Three minutes later, it emerged on the other side, thus avoiding the accidental voyage to a distant galaxy and/or century that some had predicted.

Over the next hour, 332 additional drivers followed suit, each apparently aware they were being charged $.45 for the trip.

"They all came out I think just fine," said LBJ project spokesman Robert Hinkle.

See also: LBJ Express Opens First Segment Overnight Friday, and the TEXpress Lanes Look Like a Doozy

So did the rest of the vehicles that used the TEXpress lanes over the weekend and during rush hour on Monday. Updated numbers weren't available as of noon, though traffic "hasn't been overwhelming."

Hinkle chalks that up to a lack of public awareness and the fact that, with only a quarter of the 13-mile LBJ Express project complete, the benefit for many commuters is small.

"What's going on right now, and what has been going on since the initial opening ... is that our traffic engineers ... are all watching the behavior on the lanes, especially this morning during the peak period." Drivers, he said are "pretty much taking it in stride."

Already, planners have used their observations and early customer feedback to suggest minor tweaks to things like sign placement. They will continue to make changes as monitoring continues.

Not everyone is so sanguine about the TEXpress Lanes' debut. One woman who accidentally drove into the managed lanes emailed the LBJ Express project worrying that she would be publicly shamed as a toll scofflaw since she didn't have a TollTag. (She won't. Her bill will arrive at the address listed on her vehicle's registration.) And some have pointed to the surprisingly high first-hour traffic volume and speculated that maybe a rift has been created, and that some of the Saturday night traffic originated from another dimension.

That could prove harmless. Or it could open the door for a full-scale Dalek invasion. Like Hinkle said, traffic engineers are monitoring the situation closely.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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25 comments
Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Daleks don't drive, they fly.

Idiot.

ooozooo
ooozooo

So will HOV lanes exist on 635? 

Dallasphotog
Dallasphotog

Does anyone else here think that the "pooch was screwed" with these "Lexus Lanes?"  This would have been a TREMENDOUS opportunity to add northern east/west DART light rail line so you could cut across the northern side of the city instead of having to take the "time suck" of going downtown, switching trains and heading north.  Seems to me that the 635 corridor would support the workers/shoppers that may use the rail.  

Personally, I live in Farmers Branch, 1/2 mile from the DART station.  My job in Garland is a couple of blocks away from the station, but who has the hour and 30 minutes it takes to get from FB to Garland when I can sometimes get there in 30-40 minutes?

Once again, it seems that providing convenience for those who can afford to pay these variable tolls win out over providing another transportation solution that seems to make sense...at least to me anyway.


Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If I'm passing 635, im on my way to the casino.

WylieH
WylieH

[Not everyone is so sanguine about the TEXpress Lanes' debut. One woman who accidentally drove into the managed lanes emailed the LBJ Express project worrying that she would be publicly shamed as a toll scofflaw since she didn't have a TollTag. (She won't. Her bill will arrive at the address listed on her vehicle's registration).]

It looked like most of the drivers entering the eastbound managed lanes just east of Preston Road were entering by accident, assuming they were just getting on the regular highway.   Literally, every single vehicle on the service road was using the managed lane entrance ramp and the traffic was actually quite heavy.

In contrast, the westbound managed lanes were virtually empty (because it was much more obvious that you would be entering the managed lanes).

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

But did they all pre register their trips


P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Huh. I'm surprised anyone is driving on LBJ at all with it being a construction traffic clusterfuck.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ooozooo Yes and no.  THey are not strictly HOV lanes anymore, anyone can drive them legally.  But if you have 2 or more people and register your commute with Texpress, you get an HOV discount from the posted rate, I believe its half off

casiepierce
casiepierce

@DallasphotogTwo types of transit: Hub and Spokes (DART, American Airlines) and point-to-point (other transit, Southwest airlines).

BushwoodSmithie
BushwoodSmithie

@Dallasphotog  


The folks in the toll lanes will be fully paying for the construction of those lanes, plus subsidizing the reconstruction of the free lanes. They are more than paying for what they're getting.


DART users' fares, on the other hand, don't pay a single penny towards the cost of rail lines or buses. Not a cent. In fact, if you raised DART fares six-fold they still wouldn't cover the even operating cost of the system, and there still wouldn't be a penny going to construct rail lines or purchase buses. 


(By the way, the DART rail system wouldn't have been possible without the billions of dollars from gas taxes paid by drivers. The Federal Highway Trust Fund contributed $700 million towards the green line alone).


So tell me again which "solution" makes sense?


kduble
kduble

@Dallasphotog   Agreed. Crosstown access is a missing component of our rail service. Why should riders traveling between Garland and Farmers Branch be required to go downtown? Other cities have loops. Paris Metro, for instance, has loop service both directions between Etoile and Nation. The London underground has a complete loop circling the city in both directions. It's the Yellow, or Circle line.

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

Not sure if this is good or bad.......

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@WylieH yes, a coworker said they accidentally got on it bc they thought it was the entrance to the main lanes ramp by Preston when it was actually the Managed lane entrance.  They just chalked it up to a learning experience.  The toll still has not shown up on their Toll Tag account though

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Um no.... They paid .45 for Preston Road to Greenville Avenue- 1/4 of the total 13 miles of construction.

kduble
kduble

@ScottsMerkin@ooozooo It's a smart plan. HOVs have always been politically controversial due to their being perceived as underutilized. This scheme allows HOVs to continue to exist and yet be fully utilized.

My only suggestion would be to promote cleaner air by making them available to vehicles with EPA ratings of greater than 40 mpg. I understand the revenue appeal, but should public assets strictly go to the highest bidder?

kduble
kduble

@casiepierce@Dallasphotog Of course, airlines are hub-and-spoke as well.Continental's hub is Houston, Frontier's is Denver, United's is Chicago, Delta's is Atlanta, TWA's used to be St Louis, back when there was a TWA, and American is DFW.

Anon
Anon

@BushwoodSmithie @Dallasphotog  

COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT (CDA)

CONCESSION CDA TxDOT owns the project; LBJIG to build,

fi nance, operate and maintain project for a term of 52 years

TOTAL PROJECT CONSTRUCTION COST: $2.6 billion ($490 million

TxDOT/public funds; $664 million equity from LBJIG; private activity

bonds (PABs), $615 million; federal Transportation Infrastructure

Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, $850 million

kduble
kduble

@BushwoodSmithie@Dallasphotog Of course, when you take a step back even farther, the automobile is the most subsidized form of transportation of all. Do we tax imported oil to support the cost of maintaining a naval presence off the Horn of Africa? What about the effects of sprawl? Do taxes on gasoline combat pollution? What about childhood obesity?

Once we got car-dependent, we ceased to know our neighbors. Do we tax petroleum for juvenile justice, or to fight the crime that accompanies urban alienation?

This is why so many are in denial about global warming. Once you admit there's a problem, then it's time to talk about a remedy, and people aren't ready for that.  Blood for oil is tolerable, so long as it isn't your blood.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Just used your 50/50.

Do you want to ask the audience or phone a friend?

juanmayeaux
juanmayeaux

@ScottsMerkin@P1Gunter You must be one of those inner-city dude snobs?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@juanmayeaux ha no,  I have no reason to be on it and if there is a reason to be near 635 i'll take an alternate.  Far too many East west roads to go on 

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