HOV Designation Will Remain for On-Ramp

The in basket: Phil Hunter responded to a Road Warrior column
about the HOV-only limitation on the westbound Jackson Avenue on-ramp to
Highway 16 just before one crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
I had mentioned in passing that that restriction will remain in place
even after the second bridge is open and both bridges are in full
operation.
“Are they saying that they are anticipating that the new bridge will do
little to cure the congestion problem, thus the need to leave the HOV
restriction?” Phil asked.


From: tbaker@kitsapsun.com
Subject: ROAD WARRIOR/Jackson Avenue ramp limit
Date: January 19, 2006 11:41:42 AM PST
To: SPreston@kitsapsun.com, astrosnider@kitsapsun.com

The in basket: I came across an e-mail this week that I had misplaced
almost a year ago when Phil Hunter responded to a Road Warrior column
about the HOV-only limitation on the westbound Jackson Avenue on-ramp to
Highway 16 just before one crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
I had mentioned in passing that that restriction will remain in place
even after the second bridge is open and both bridges are in full
operation.
“Are they saying that they are anticipating that the new bridge will do
little to cure the congestion problem, thus the need to leave the HOV
restriction?” Phil asked.
“Also,” he said, “if they are going to leave the restriction, and have
enforcement the way they have it now, maybe they could kick this money
in the kitty to help pay off the bridge quicker.”
The out basket: Claudia Cornish, spokeswoman for the bridge project,
says, “We will indeed keep the afternoon HOV restriction on the Jackson
Avenue on-ramp after we open the new bridge.
“To understand why, it’s helpful to understand how that restriction
came into being. In 1996, (the state) received a resolution passed by
the Tacoma City Council that asked it to close the westbound Jackson
on-ramp altogether.
“The resolution was in response to resident complaints about how people
were traveling through the Jackson neighborhood to the Narrows Bridge.
(They) talked about not being able to leave or enter their driveways
during peak hours, of vehicles driving on their lawns, and of seeing
emergency vehicles having trouble getting through the backups. (We)
confirmed those claims using aerial photography of the area, which
showed up to 900 cars waiting to use the Jackson westbound on-ramp.
“(The state) was not comfortable closing the westbound ramp entirely, so
we and the neighborhood agreed on a compromise – a three-month test to
restrict the on-ramp traffic to HOV’s only during afternoon peak hours
in the last quarter of 1997. At a second public meeting shortly
thereafter, the Jackson residents were overwhelmingly in favor of
keeping the afternoon HOV restriction in place, and (we) made the
restriction permanent.
“Since then, the city has made numerous improvements at the adjacent
Sixth and Pearl interchange to help mitigate the shift in afternoon
traffic patterns to that on-ramp.
“As regards the idea of HOV citations going to pay off the bridge –
interesting thought, but not in the works as far as I know,” Claudia
said.
Anyone who likes the idea might find 26th District legislators Bob Oke,
Derek Kilmer and Pat Lantz receptive to the idea. The Legislature is in
session now, and those lawmakers are trying to find ways to moderate the
tolls that will go into effect April 2007.

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