New Highway 305 HOV lanes not much used

The in basket: Nita Moore writes, “Everyone around here is very happy that the Highway 305 upgrade (in Poulsbo) is close to finished and usable. 
“The HOV lanes are only in effect at certain times of the day,” she said, “in the morning and 3 to 6 in the afternoon, which is the heavy traffic time and seems logical.  BUT….
“I had the misfortune the other day of  traveling ALONE west on 305 at around 4 p.m. The HOV lane was almost empty and buzzing right along, but the lone ranger lane was almost as backed up as it was before the widening.  (It was nice to know that most everyone was obeying the restriction.)  
“My grandson drives himself and his brother to North Kitsap High School and travels this every afternoon and says it is like this every day.  The solution, of course, is that everyone travels through downtown to avoid it, which, of course, is one to the things it was meant to alleviate. How now?”
The out basket: The OTHER solution, and the one HOV lanes everywhere are intended to promote, is to have a lot of those lone ranger drivers pair up or trio up and so forth, moving cars legally from the all-purpose lane to the HOV lane.
Nita’s grandson does it, though I imagine that has more to do with available cars or occupants’ ages than what lane they can use. But every time people who might have driven alone pair up, that’s one fewer car on the highway and two fewer in the all-purpose lane. If enough people do it, the lanes will achieve a closer balance and waits will be shorter in the all-purpose lane.
These are the first HOV lanes in Kitsap County and they may or may not achieve their purpose. They are considered a four-year test project, but that deadline has more to do with the unusual placement of the HOV lanes on the outside of the highway than it does with the general concept of HOV lanes and their benefits.
They are on the outside, as I’ve said before, to better serve bus riders. Lisa Murdock of the state highway’s Olympic Region calls them “urban arterial HOV lanes similar to those found on (Highway) 99 and at SeaTac.
“The HOV lanes are on the outside to accommodate transit/pedestrians.” she said. “If the lanes were on the left, bus stops would have to be in the median and you can only imagine the potential danger with pedestrians with that scenario.”

3 thoughts on “New Highway 305 HOV lanes not much used

  1. Those HOV lanes are a huge nuisance to me.
    If I leave the Kitsap Bank or Albertsons on Liberty, and I want to go south on 305, during the HOV hours, I still have to turn into the HOV lane. It is illegal to turn directly into the inside lane.
    Once headed south, there is no break in the solid line in order to get out of the HOV lane until you get to Lincoln. That break is too late to get into the left lane in order to enter the left turn pocket for Lincoln.
    The same thing is true for getting into the correct lane to turn left on Hostmark.
    Entering 305 by turning right into the HOV lane puts the single occupant driver in a Hobson’s Choice situation. Leave and potentially get a ticket or stay and potentially get a ticket.

  2. Cean shares a misconception with many drivers that it is always illegal to cross a solid white line. If crossing such a line takes a person off the legal roadway, such as onto the shoulder or into the “gore” between a freeway lane and an on-ramp, it is illegal. But when crossing the white line merely moves a driver from one legal travel lane to another, such as on Highway 305, it’s perfectly legal as long as one signals and yields to traffic in the lane being entered.
    Officer Darrell Moore of Poulsbo police says, incidentally, that his department is not yet writing tickets for HOV lane violations on 305, but are issuing warnings.

  3. Yep, you said it Travis. The HOV lanes are there to try and make people get out of their cars and use mass transit or get into someone’s carpool. They are not there to expedite traffic which is really a red herring.

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