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View From a Cop: Ga. 400 Flex Lane Violators Now Ticketed

Sandy Springs Police Capt. Steve Rose says motorists are using the lanes past the window of time allowed and warnings haven’t made a difference. Flex lanes are open from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Well, this will go under the heading: “You give an inch and they take a mile,” almost literally. 

. Immediate concerns focused on the ability to respond to accidents, injuries, and other emergencies that would occur within that stretch of highway between Holcomb Bridge Road and the North Springs Marta exit on Ga. 400 southbound.

Take the poll below on how the flex lanes are working for you.

Of course, you could bet on the fact that there would be those who stretched the lane’s usage well beyond the 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. time limit on the lane’s usage—and we weren’t disappointed. For almost a month, warnings were given so that people would become accustomed to the use of the lane. Some have become accustomed to using the lane past the designated hours.

First of all, it “ain’t” rocket science. Its three hours of use and then the lane defaults to emergency use only. That’s it.

It’s like your kid’s curfew. Midnight means midnight, not 12:30, and not 1 am. When your kids come in late past curfew, they get punished—at least I hope they do. At my house, when the child was 30 minutes late, my wife was beside herself and I’m trying to calm her down. 45 minutes late and we’re in the car looking for the child, hoping nothing bad has happened. When they show up and there isn’t a good excuse like a random kidnapping or alien abduction, that child is in deep trouble.

Well, a certain percentage of drivers have decided to ignore the “curfew” and are using the lane past the 9:30 a.m. hour. Apparently the warnings are going unheeded. This was highlighted when on June 1, emergency vehicles, responding to an overturned car accident after the designated flex-lane hours, had problems getting to the scene because of vehicle traffic in the emergency lane. This put the spotlight on our original concerns with the plan, that we run the risk of a timely response to emergencies in that area. Given that, here’s your “heads up.”

Beginning immediately, there will be tickets, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t bet on warnings if I were you, in what we are deeming as an aggressive enforcement of the flex-lane usage, especially violations before and after the designated hours.

Don’t let laziness get in the way of common sense. At 9:30, get off the emergency lane unless you have an emergency—and by the way, being late for work isn’t one.

Drive safe.

Take the poll on the flex lanes below and write a comment on how the flex lanes are working for you.

Brian Oravetz June 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Thanks for commenting .Lt. I find this lane strange, but only because I only end up in it while coming home from work. My office is on Old Milton, and by the time leave the office, that "flex" lane isn't flexing, it is maxed out; usually about a mile out of the actual Northridge exit. To add to the frustration, there are those who feel that they can rocket to the front of the line and blast in at the last second after everyone has been sitting in line for quite some time. It was a good idea in theory, but you nailed it; there are those few who if given an inch will taken a mile.
Adrianne Murchison (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I can kind of relate Brian. I could've kicked myself yesterday afternoon for not taking an alternate route. I found myself sitting in that shoulder lane going nowhere. I sat in that lane for 20 minutes.
Eileen Fishman June 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
How about some vigilance by the SSPD while they're out there with all the people who TAIL so terribly and/or who come up from immediately behind when merging onto the highway to cut the person/car in front off? I have never seen so many "rear enders" and multi-car accidents than I see in Atlanta.
Antonio June 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM
For anyone that lives off the Northridge exit, it has been a constant 1 mile exit line since this flex lane started. I think the SSPD should be more concerned with the people slamming their brakes at the last moment to cut in line than writing tickets for "off hours" usage. Maybe changing the traffic light timing at Northridge could help.
Adrianne Murchison (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Antonio, I have to agree. I was guilty of cutting into the lane in the past. That's not an option now, it can clearly cause an accident.

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