There’s an on-ramp to the Seattle I-5 express lanes two blocks from where I work. It would take me less than a minute to get my car from parking spot to highway if I were allowed to use it.
Unfortunately, the City of Seattle decided that the express lane on-ramp on 5th and Columbia is only for HOVs (high occupancy vehicles), or car pool cars.
On the surface, I understand the rationale. They want to incentivize people to ride together. They want to cut down on traffic in the downtown portion of Seattle and prevent long lines of cars from forming around the on-ramps.
However, while their intentions were good, I don’t think they considered the results. Instead of driving two blocks to get into the express lanes going North, where I would most likely drive a steady speed for nearly 10 miles – from Seattle to my home, I have to drive down 4th Avenue, through downtown, and then cut over to Howell for another 10 blocks until I can reach the express lane entrance there.
So, instead of protecting the environment by letting me get right on the highway and driving a consistent, miles per gallon speed (which is better for the environment), I now have to drive in heavy traffic in which I’m starting and stopping constantly – when I’m not sitting at a light idling.
And I’m not even talking about bike and pedestrian safety.
It seems to me they would have been better off allowing anyone to enter the express lanes in the heart of downtown. My guess is it might actually be better for the environment than what they’re doing now.
- My name is Jon Friesch, and I’m not sure they thought this one through.