Local newspapers are promoting the Columbia River Crossing plan in the editorial pages while northbound I-5 gridlock has started each day since 1998 when a left lane was changed Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. into a style of HOV lane shown to be ineffective in many national traffic studies. Vancouver’s HOV lane was determined ineffective and removed in 2005. Also, police patrols stopping HOV traffic violators contribute to daily fuel waste and pollution from longer idling vehicles.
The I-5 northbound on-ramp at Hayden Island should be closed, and that traffic routed farther back from the bridge or combined with the on-ramp at Delta Park. Post signs to direct state Highway 14 users to merge right before reaching the I-5 Bridge. Truckers’ shipments should be better directed or placed on the backs of rail cars. Keep tow trucks on call for bridge accidents or stalls. Plan all bridge lifts in evenings or early, early mornings.
Opening the Oregon HOV lane would be a great start. Let’s change mind-sets like those at ODOT, who insist that the HOV lane “isn’t going anywhere” as stated by Kate Freitag, an ODOT traffic engineer in an Oregonian online story in August 2012.