Lots has been said about the HOV lanes on Highway 97.
Kelowna’s mayor wants the Ministry of Transportation to take another look at them and possibly only use the high-occupancy rules during certain times of the day. One councillor figures the limited-traffic lanes should be dumped altogether .
One thing is clear, as they are currently set up, they don’t seem to be working.
Despite the support they still have from local ministry officials, the lanes—reserved for multi-occupant vehicles, buses, motorcycles and emergency vehicles—are fast becoming irrelevant for local motorists. And for those who do obey the rules, the existence of the lanes only makes an already busy road seem busier during peak traffic.
Like talking on a cell phone when driving, motorists here seem to pay little attention to signs indicating the HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant inside.
There hasn’t been a police crack down on single drivers using the lanes. We’re not sure if that would be the best use of police resources. But the abuse over the last year has done little to make traffic flow any smoother during rush hour.
What has worked has been the addition to the new William Bennett Bridge and its three lanes out of town in the afternoons. Before the HOV lanes were created, there were three lanes for traffic in either direction on Harvey Avenue.
But confining the majority of vehicles to two lanes (legally) simply angers law-abiding motorists who watch lawbreakers zip by them in the deserted HOV lane.
The experiment with HOV lanes through Kelowna has not worked and its time to either go back to the drawing board or reopen the lanes to all traffic.
With politicians weighing in on the issue, you can be sure that if not addressed now, the issue will come up in the municipal election campaign in November.
Editorial opinion of the Kelowna Capital News.