Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
All smiles, officials cut the ribbon to open the first carpool lane on I-5 in Los Angeles County.  Left to right: Caltrans District 7 Director Douglas Failing, President of the Golden State Gateway Coalition Victor Lindenheim, Metro Board Member Ara Najarian, Senator Alex Padilla, Caltrans Director Will Kempton, Metro Board Chair Pam O Connor, Assembly Member Cameron Smyth, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and CHP Lieutenant Ralph Elvira.

by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 05/2008

The first carpool lane on I-5 in Los Angeles County from State Route 118 to State Route 14 opens to motorists -- to improve mobility, relieve congestion and improve the quality of life for California's commuters.

Caltrans, along with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and many elected officials and guests celebrated completion of the first High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), or carpool lanes, on the Golden State Freeway (I-5) in Los Angeles County at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, April 4 in Sylmar.  This project added 6.2 miles of HOV lanes to northbound and southbound I-5 from the Simi Valley Freeway (SR-118) to the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14). 

The event was held at the Los Angeles County Assessors office parking lot overlooking the new carpool lanes.  High atop the freeway in Sylmar, and witnessing the first motorists in the new carpool lane, Will Kempton, Director, California Department of Transportation, was joined by Pam OConnor, Metro Board Chair; Senator Alex Padilla, 20th District; Assembly Member Cameron Smyth, 38th District; Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, 5th District; Mayor Ara Najarian, City of Glendale and Metro Board Member; Lieutenant Ralph Elvira, California Highway Patrol; Mayor Bob Kellar, City of Santa Clarita; Victor Lindenheim, Executive Director, Golden State Gateway Coalition; and interested citizens.  District 7 Director Douglas R. Failing was Master of Ceremonies.

'These highway improvement projects are providing congestion relief for Californias motorists,' said Kempton.  'We all want a California where people spend less time sitting on freeways and more time with our families.'

Nearly 357,000 commuters use the I-5/SR-14 interchange every day. This summer, Caltrans will begin construction of a new direct HOV connector at the I-5/SR-14 Interchange.

'Improving I-5 with carpool lanes, is another step toward providing a seamless transportation network and improving the quality of life for commuters in California,' added Kempton. 

Metro, Los Angeles County's transportation planner, plans to invest $4.6 billion by 2030 to close gaps in the carpool system, improve congested freeway interchanges, build carpool lane connectors and manage freeway incidents. 

'Metro is committed to expanding the Los Angeles County carpool lane network because it encourages ridesharing, reduces congestion and greenhouse gas emissions,' said OConnor.  'It  is one of the Agencys most effective tools for improving freeway system mobility. We must all imagine a traffic-free future that includes more ridesharing options because our future mobility depends on it.'
Those who carpool and use the new lanes will save about one minute per mile or up to one hour a week for daily commuters.  District 7 has 482 carpool lane miles, the most in the entire state.  California has about 40% of the nations total HOV lane miles and some 750,000 people use carpool lanes every day in Los Angeles County. 

The new HOV lanes will also improve the movement of goods and services throughout this major I-5 corridor, help to relieve congestion, improve mobility and enhance safety.


Caltrans Director Will Kempton addresses the audience, explaining the importance of carpool lanes. Douglas R. Failing, District 7 Director, served as Master of Ceremonies. Senator Alex Padilla expressed his appreciation to all transportation partners for their hard work on the I-5 carpool lane. Metro Board Chair Pam O Connor explained the ongoing commitment by Metro to continue expanding the carpool lane network.