I-985: Ridiculous

I-985, title  “Reducing Traffic Congestion,” follows in the law-making tradition of naming bills after generally good principles, even when the bill directly contradicts said principles.

I-985 would turn HOV lanes into regular traffic lanes at 6 pm. Not only would that negate the effect of Mercer Island’s shiny new HOV lane for buses, which have helped speed up traffic around the 80th Ave exit,

but it would have this obvious chain of effects:

  1. Buses and carpools become no faster than driving alone
  2. More people drive to work
  3. More cars are on the road
  4. Everyone slows down

Then we all get stuck in traffic and cause more pollution. The No on I-985 Group lists all the anti-endorsements of this bill. The Seattle Times lists 10 reasons not to vote for it. But the HOV-lane change is all it takes to make the “Reducing Traffic Congestion”initiative ridiculous.

Future Worthwhile Projects, Also To Be Screwed Up

The new HOV lanes from Bellevue are only Phase 1 in WSDOT’s I-90 HOV project. Also to be screwed up by I-985 are :
Phase 2: New HOV lane from Mercer Island to Bellevue, to finish in 2020
Phase 3: HOV lanes to and from Seattle, to finish in 2023

Video of the New HOV Lane

Adding nothing to the conversation on I-985, but fun to watch, is this video of the new HOV-only exit on Mercer Island:

Clearly designed for buses going to the Park-and-Ride, the exit forces you to turn right at 80th Ave. But it keeps buses from cutting across all lanes to exit.

Bonus Link

Curious how your environmental impact changes when you take the bus? Check out Salamander Points, a new site that lets you add up your energy usage and see how sustainable it is. Nice!


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