The latter half of Lou Brancaccio’s March 23 “Press Talk” column: “A good soul and light rail” implies that light rail and a new Interstate 5 Bridge would have helped Vancouver’s March 18 “massive traffic problem” caused by the wrong-way accident on Interstate 205.
It’s my belief that light rail and additional lanes on the I-5 Bridge would not have offered much relief, if any. Remember, the source of the problem was at the opposite end of town. As I-205, state Route 14 and state Route 500 quickly choked, commuters tried to evade the mess by flocking to I-5, overloading Vancouver’s only remaining river crossing. Non-driving commuters make up mere single digits in the total picture.
Realistically, a third bridge across the Columbia River may have alleviated the gridlock but, frankly, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s and TriMet’s official priority is to expand light rail for Portland’s benefit, with little or no interest in solving Vancouver’s traffic problems.
Sorry, Mr. Brancaccio, common sense tells us that neither light rail nor a wider I-5 Bridge would have had much of an impact on the enormous nightmare Vancouver commuters experienced that day.
Bruce R. Randall