An Oregonian editorial indicated that the HOV lane from Portland to Vancouver is being abused by solo drivers and that most people are not carpooling anyway, especially in this economy when many people are without work. That leaves a lane that is not used in the way it was intended. It also leaves the remaining lanes virtual parking lots during afternoon rush hour. We can't help but think that all those idling cars and trucks are damaging the environment. Are we missing something here? Do statistics show these HOV lanes ARE working even if we can't see it?
According to Oregonian transportation reporter Joseph Rose (heard Monday's on KXL), the compliance rate fell from 92 percent in 2001 to 80 percent in 2007, the latest year made available by state officials.
So if that's the case, will it ever go back up again? If not, isn't it time to open the lane to all drivers until the CRC can come up with a new bridge?
Let us know what you think.
~Rebecca, Steve and the morning crew.
Shortly after this was posted, Dave Thompson with Oregon's Department of Transportation issued the following response to The Oregonian editorial article to KXL reporter Chris Brown:
HOV lanes are typically measured in four ways:
So in three of the four usual measures, this HOV lane fares very well.
But that doesn't satisfy the good people sitting in those two other lanes. I feel their frustration! When they look over to the right, they see (a) an empty lane; and/or (b) people using it who shouldn't be. That's VERY frustrating. And it's natural to think: Hmmm...if two lanes of traffic could use THREE lanes, everyone would move faster!
That's not true in this case, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. While you may get more CARS through, you'll get fewer PEOPLE through. The HOV lane moves many more people than each of the two general-purpose lanes; if you make the HOV lane a general purpose lane, you lose that. You're making it slightly better for the two lanes, but so much worse for the third lane, that the overall effect on the entire system--measured in terms of moving PEOPLE--is worse.
There are three popular reasons for opposing HOV lanes: