What's Up With That? Fourth Plain, Mill Plain popular with trucks from port



A few months ago, two letters to the editor were published, one mine, having to do with trucks going to and from the port to I-5. A few days later, I noticed some folks sitting on street corners doing a truck survey. I was wondering what the results were.

— Ron Abbey, Orchards

Ron, we asked around and learned that the survey was conducted June 13-17 by the Port of Vancouver and the University of Washington’s civil engineering department. West-side neighborhood associations were invited to participate, too, but none did.

A total of 13 counters were stationed at six central locations from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Their purpose was to determine how much port-generated truck traffic uses either Mill Plain Boulevard, Fourth Plain Boulevard or West 39th Street and Fruit Valley Road to get to and from the port.

Here are the survey’s main findings.

• Port-generated trucks are between 20 and 50 percent of the general truck population. The average is 30 to 40 percent.

• Port-generated trucks prefer Mill Plain, Fourth Plain and 39th, in that order, in both eastbound and westbound directions.

• Port trucks favor Mill Plain as the day begins; in the 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. range, the vast majority use Mill Plain. Then, at midday, port traffic on Fourth Plain also climbs — although it still doesn’t usually approach, and only rarely exceeds, the volume on Mill Plain. Port truck traffic on Fourth Plain drops off again by midafternoon, as more trucks choose Mill Plain.

• The general truck population maintains a more constant route split throughout the day. That population uses 39th Street to a greater extent than port trucks do.

Both Mill Plain and Fourth Plain are significant truck routes and will remain so in the future, the port notes. As the Vancouver waterfront, the port and other west-side industrial and commercial areas continue to develop, roadways will grow more crowded and preferred routes and times may shift.

—Scott Hewitt

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