The New I-5 Bridge – What to do?
It’s obvious that something’s gotta give. Anyone who’s made the drive from Vancouver in the morning or to Vancouver in the evening knows that. On bad days, it can take more than an hour to cross the span. It’s a headache for both commuters and trucks making shipments. But is a new bridge the answer? The problem is more complex than it looks.
First, while I most definitely sympathize with truckers just trying to get across the river to make their shipments and do their jobs, our neighbors up in the ‘couve haven’t really done much to try to solve the problem of having too many cars on the road. For well over a decade now, our neighbors to the north have given the finger to mass transit. They voted down a MAX connection. They refused to pay three cents out of every $10 spent to prevent major service cuts for C-Tran. And now there are rumblings that they might try to kill the light rail portion of the new bridge, essentially dooming the project. I know that our suburban readers get pissed about perceived “bashing”. Unfortunately, Vancouver readers, the shoe fits here so you’re gonna have to wear it.
Compounding the problem is that the new bridge might not be effective after all. As reported here and here, the new bridge might not be all that effective in reducing congestion, anyway. According to the “O”, right now it takes a driver 16 minutes to get from SR-500 to Columbia Blvd. With the new bridge, that same trip would take 19 minutes. The reason is that the current bridge reduces the flow of traffic into existing bottlenecks in the I-5 system – bottlenecks that will still exist, even with a new bridge. By way of contrast, doing nothing would result in the trip taking 19 minutes – two minutes shorter than if the bridge was built. With information like that, I think that the city should at least look at some alternatives before building this thing. The Merc has some listed here.
So, what do you think?