Metering the Altamont – Finally

Tonight I am going to share a post that I wrote more than three years ago. But first I will mention why I am sharing it.

On Tuesday I went to the office and on the way noticed that the metering lights at Grant Line Road were showing solid green. This is a big change as they have not been on at all.

This morning as I drove to work the metering lights were actually turned on and metering access to the highway. Of course, it was Friday light traffic so it did not make much difference as traffic was moving. However on a normal day this may make a big difference. You will see why in the post below.


This morning I saw something that made me very happy while I was on the way to work. After months of construction and road work they are getting close to implementing some new metering lights on the Altamont entrance ramps.

Metering lights, Altamont, I-580, Commute, Exit ramp surfing, cutting in lineWhile heading up the Altamont this morning I saw that the metering lights had been installed. I knew that they were working on this when I had passed last Thursday. I hope they get turned on soon.

I had my camera sitting in the passenger seat so picked it up, turned it on and snapped a quick picture. It focused on my dirty windshield, but you can see the metering lights above the entrance ramp to I-580 from West Grant Line Road.

Exit Lane Surfing, Cutting in Line, Metering LightsI-580 is packed in the morning through this area and a number of drivers will take the exit ramp (blue x) down to the stop sign at West Grant Line Road (black x). They will then head up the entrance ramp and get back on I-580. I even see big trucks do this.

They then end up merging back into traffic (red x) and slowing down the trucks heading up through the truck lanes. Sometime up to five or more cars will cut in front of a semi after the first one causes it to brake and come to a stop.

Exit Ramps, Traffic, Commute, Cutting in LineHere you can see an overhead view of the ramps. This must have been taken in the middle of the day or on a weekend as there is almost no traffic on the roads.

To me it is hard to believe that people will exit and return like this. To me this is simply cutting in line. Something that most people would not do unless they have a big metal cage around them. I call this exit ramp surfing.

I am hoping that the metering lights will help traffic move better through this stretch of my commute.

Altamont Commute, Exit ramp surfing, metering lightsOn the way home there is something very similar at the top of the Altamont. Here commuters who have used Carroll Road and Flynn Road to bypass the slow climb up the Altamont stream onto I-580 in front of trucks and cars and try to frog their way across to the left hand lanes. This further slows down the climb up the hill.

The little secret is that heading up Carroll Road does not save hardly any time unless there is an accident. It just seems that way as you move faster on the longer route.

I am OK with people taking the back roads, but they need to be more courteous when they merge back on to the interstate. The people that take the back roads are usually the more aggressive drivers.

Ramp surfing, Altamont, traffic, Commute, Cutting in LineThis picture was taken during afternoon rush hour and you can see the situation at the top of the Altamont. This illustrates a second group of commuters who are really cutting in line. I have circled two cars at the upper right who have exited the interstate and are cutting through the truck parking area to the entrance ramp. They are usually flying through the parking area and zooming right through a stop sign. They then head down the entrance ramp as far as they can before cutting in front of someone at the last moment. Or, they may drive even further down the shoulder before cutting in.

At the left you see two cars that probably came up Carroll Road. They are heading up to North Flynn Road where they will turn and head down the entrance ramp. At least they are not cutting through the parking area.

Metering Light, Altamont, Flynn RoadSoon they will be slowed down by a metering light. It was installed sometime since I went by on Thursday afternoon. I hope that they put an eight second delay between cars on this light. That is the delay I have when getting on I-580 after work each day.

Will the metering lights speed up traffic?

We will know soon. (edit: three years later and they are finally turned on)


This entry was posted in California, Culture, transportation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Metering the Altamont – Finally

  1. Metering the Altamont – Finally. We have a small town called Altamont within 30 minutes of here.Has a school and minimal population.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.