Thursday, February 07, 2008

Traffic


I am fortunate in that I get to work at home. I don't have to get up and fight rush hour traffic, going or coming, and I am thrilled at that.

My silat class is in Vancouver, and I do have to drive there once a week, and that's more than enough for me.

There are only two bridges to get from Portland to Vancouver, and both are miserable experiences between three and six p.m. weekdays.

On I-405 , the -- pardon the expression -- better of the two routes for me, there is a four-mile section of interstate between the Freemont and Columbia River Bridges known -- not affectionately -- as the "super slab." On a good day, with everything going well, no wrecks and a lucky break, you can average seventeen miles an hour along this strip.

On a bad day, it will take more than thirty minutes to travel the four miles -- that's slower than a so-so jogger can cover the same distance on foot. Eight miles an hour. Guy on a bicycle would blow past you like you were standing still. Which you will be for much of the time.

This is partially due to one of the three lanes being an HOV (diamond) lane, and restricted between three and six p.m. to "two-person carpools." If you are on a motorcyle, you can single it.

So there you are, bumper-to-bumper and in first gear in the middle lane, while the HOV lane is zipping along at fifty mph. I understand the theory, but the practice is that it doesn't help.
Probably half of the drivers have passengers; the other half are playing expensive-ticket roulette and hoping the police have business elsewhere.

I expect that a guy standing at the on-ramp downtown holding a bloody machete and a cardboard sign that says, "Will Kill for Fun." will get a ride so somebody can use the diamond lane. Hell, I'd probably pick him up ...

Which is to say that while the traffic in Portland isn't as bad as L.A., or Seattle, it's bad, and getting worse. They are talking about building a bigger bridge, but that bottleneck is only part of the problem. Maybe when gasoline gets to six bucks a gallon that'll help ...

Meanwhile, I leave two hours early, so I can be sure to get to class on time. Sad.

5 comments:

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

It would help if MAX went all the way to Vancouver instead of stopping at Jantzen Beach. I think that'll happen eventually, but it ain't happened yet.

Dan Moran said...

Oh, c'mon. You pick up the guy who says "will kill for food," kill him, you're a deadly old guy, and then use his body to get into the carpool lane.

Jeez, you amateurs.

... I'm still waiting for the first guy who gets one of those realistic sex dolls -- not for use, but for car company in the carpool lane. Lean her up against the door, close her eyes, and roll .... it's a girl having a nap!

Steve Perry said...

The sex doll -- been done. Or at least, an old store mannikin and the cheap blow-up kind have been.
Cops here are pretty sharp-eyes.

There are those silcone dolls -- check out the next posting in ye olde blogge ...

steve-vh said...

Bobbe certainly enjoyed the three days we brought him to work and he could drive the carpool lane!

Steve Perry said...

You can get Bobbe one of those dolls for his birthday ...