Gravel - Cycle Oregon

Council session reveals City’s commitment to I-5 congestion pricing

Posted by on October 25th, 2017 at 11:35 am

I-5 north of Weidler overpass.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I’m fully cognizant of the fact that [congestion pricing] may not happen before this project and I certainly don’t want to see this project fall by the wayside because of that.”
— Dan Saltzman, City Commissioner

As the Oregon Department of Transportation tries their best to move forward with a project to widen Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter, there remains broad support from experts, activists, insiders — and even politicians — that charging a toll to drive on the freeway is the most sensible way to respond to congestion concerns.

But until last week it had been all talk and posturing. That was before City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation) drafted an amendment to an action item on the project in the Central City 2035 Plan. At their October 18th work session on the plan, Portland City Council agreed with Saltzman on an idea we first reported on back in September: That ODOT must implement congestion pricing on I-5.

But the devil is in the details. When would the tolls start? Would they be legal? How committed is the City of Portland to congestion pricing on I-5? Are they willing to risk the entire project if it doesn’t happen?

Saltzman’s amendment (a stronger version of an existing action item for the project) was seconded during the work session but still isn’t an official part of the CC2035 plan. PBOT will now spend six weeks refining the idea before it comes back to council on November 30th.

Here’s the language of the amendment that was supported by council last week (notice the changes from the previous version):

Words matter here. Notice that Saltzman’s language calls for the implementation of congestion pricing “… prior to the opening of this project.” That’s different than the language his office gave us on September 1st when he wanted to, “Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground.”

There’s a big difference between doing something before a shovel hits the dirt and doing it before the ribbon is cut.

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“This [action item on congestion pricing] is what you want to see happen. It doesn’t mean that the project can’t happen if we don’t meet that action.”
— Art Pearce, PBOT

Mayor Ted Wheeler had some questions for PBOT staff at the work session last week. “I support congestion pricing and I support Commissioner Saltzman’s efforts. One possible hitch in all this: Who gets to decide that? Do we control that? Does the state control that? Or are we beholden to the federal government?”

“A little bit of all of those things,” replied PBOT Policy, Planning and Projects Group Manager Art Pearce. “The state needs to apply to the federal government for approval, and that’s what the legislature directed ODOT to do… to undertake a study in order to apply for approval to implement the program.”

Then Wheeler asked what would happen if the feds said “no” to congestion pricing. “I would hate to see all of the other aspects of this project go by the wayside and the funds returned to the state so they could use it to expand I-205 if the federal government doesn’t give us what we need right now,” he replied to Pearce. “I’m somewhat hesitant to throw down a gauntlet when I don’t know who’s picking it up on the other side.”

Then Pearce said something that should give pricing advocates pause. In describing Saltzman’s stronger language for the congestion pricing action item, he said, “It’s saying, this is what you want to see happen. It doesn’t mean that the project can’t happen if we don’t meet that action.”

With a worried look on his face, as if he realized how Pearce’s comments might be heard as being too weak on the city’s congestion pricing demands and wanted to make sure something stronger was on the record, Wheeler spoke directly to Pearce, “I want to clariy: Is that Commissioner Saltzman’s intent? Because I’m not sure you got that right.”

“Our intention is to see that [congestion pricing] happen,” Pearce replied.

Then Saltzman himself spoke up. “I want to see this happen. I think you have to push the bureaucracy in order to make something like this happen because it is a new concept, at least on the west coast. But I’m fully cognizant of the fact that it may not happen before this project and I certainly don’t want to see this project fall by the wayside because of that.”

And with that, Wheeler said, “Then you have me standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you on this. This is obviously an important project for the state. An important project for the City of Portland. I believe it has the opportunity to be transformational for this part of our city.”

Keep in mind that PBOT is a very strong partner with ODOT in support of the I-5 Rose Quarter Project — new freeways lanes and all. They’ll have to walk a fine line between demands for congestion pricing and a state agency that doesn’t seem to want it on the I-5 project.

At a major public hearing on the project back in September, an ODOT staffer threw cold water on congestion pricing by suggesting it would unfairly hurt low-income people. And in a story reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting on October 13th, ODOT Assistant Director Travis Brouwer “raised doubt about whether it makes sense to even try to impose tolls in the Rose Quarter.” Brouwer told OPB’s Jeff Mapes that, “It’s not clear that it is one [section of freeway] that would lend itself real well to congestion pricing.”

With council support for congestion pricing firmed up, PBOT’s Pearce told Mayor Wheeler and the commissioners that, “Our intention is to bring a much clearer point to the congestion pricing conversation about six weeks from now.”

Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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55 Comments
  • RH October 25, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I’m all for congestion pricing. But I just hope it’s done in a way so that cars don’t simply jump off the highway and cut through neighborhood streets in order to bypass the toll. I can’t assume it will be put at the Interstate Bridge.

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  • Steve October 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    As a North Portland resident I am a bit concerned that people may hop off to avoid tolls but a toll implemented immediately south of the Interstate bridge and south of the Glen Jackson Bridge south bound and south of the I5/I205 junction northbound seem like a great places to start.

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I’m not too concerned about people hopping off as the roads they’d be hopping onto don’t have the capacity. Also, have fun hopping back on.

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      • RH October 25, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        This is a very interesting comment. Perhaps you are right. I need to set up a Sim City simulation 🙂

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        • Kyle Banerjee October 25, 2017 at 2:29 pm

          I don’t know how sophisticated Sim City is, but one thing I’ve noticed is that as traffic gets more gummed up, people start doing more dumb and illegal things.

          For modeling purposes, this means that cars enter intersections that they can’t clear causing gridlock and exacerbating already bad problems.

          The funny thing is unless congestion pricing lowers the total amount of vehicles, the effect would logically be to slow traffic down even if some do take side streets as congestion would increase at on/off ramps and it’s not like inherent chokepoints would suddenly acquire additional capacity…

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          • chris m October 25, 2017 at 3:11 pm

            It could have the effect of moving flexible trips out of the congestion pricing time frame which would basically be a win/win.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy October 26, 2017 at 8:34 am

            I think most poor driving choices come from anger and impatience on behalf of the driver. Those things seem to escalate when people are not moving smoothly. Starts and stops seem to aggravate people to no end.

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      • Chris I October 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        Given our grid system, there is actually a ton of capacity, as we are finding out on many of our Greenways now that everyone has Waze. Of course, these roadways are not “fast” roads, but these people will make them into fast roads.

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        • J_R October 27, 2017 at 8:43 am

          This is exactly what will happen. I already see lots of diversion though my neighborhood on local streets by motorists seeking to avoid “slow” traffic and “congestion” on neighborhood collectors.

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  • rick October 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Get rid of the I-5 widening project.

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  • Travis October 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Tolls are typically axle based. I could very much see freight leading the desire for congestion pricing to begin and end after the Marine Drive / Rivergate exits, further encouraging cars and trucks thru North Portland. This would also allow WA to access Jantzen Beach without a fee.

    I’m all for drivers paying. But tolls won’t solve the growing issue Portland has with too many cars and trucks on neighborhood streets and minor collectors — the street we ride bikes on. Not unless trips run in the $10 per day range at least.

    For comparison: Cost to drive from Orland to Miami (quickest route) is roughly $20 for a car and $60 for 5 axle truck. $50 if you’re hauling a boat trailer with two axles. Downtown Orlando to UCF (a 10 min drive without traffic) is nearly $6 round trip for two axle car.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy October 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      The roads will still be pretty full – nobody is going to set a price high enough to stifle people commuting to jobs and a price high enough to do that would impact the less wealthy even more (not politically feasible). This will just be a new revenue source. What that gets spent on is the question. My guess is the admin fees will be higher than expected, as usual, and there will be less money for projects than initially estimated. It will also be a tough sell saying that fees generated will go to projects that do not benefit the people paying the fees.

      Also, I suspect we might see is a highway that is more consistent busy, as freight companies will try to transport items outside of the congestion times to avoid the fees. A highway that is used close to capacity over a longer period of time may result in a higher amount of vehicle miles traveled than one that is jammed for just a few hours a day.

      I think there also might be a land use limitation on this plan. If there are not enough tolls to accommodate the automobiles, the back ups at the stations might be so severe that only a few people will use the road, and revenue will be lower. This could be mitigated with electronic tolling, but that would require everyone driving I-5 to have a transponder. Good luck getting buy in on that.

      So why don’t we just make employers pay an annual congestion fee for their employees based across the river (in both directions)?

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      • Middle of the Road Guy October 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        Sorry, that was not meant as a reply to you, Travis.

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      • Travis October 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        Agreed. Folks will just adjust budgets. Especially without alternative options (mass transit).

        I have so many thoughts on freight in Portland…

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        • Bald One October 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

          Speaking of freight in Portland…Yesterday afternoon, I rode by an overturned semi-trailer, fully loaded container hauling truck, on N. Columbia at Burgard. This is the section of road where the bike lane is missing and the gap (to get to Marine Dr / Kelly Point bike paths) is about 1/4 mile, so I am always concerned with the speeds and behaviors of drivers here on N. Columbia. The truck had blown through the corner going too fast and rolled on his side, dumping motor oil and diesel all over the road, but it didn’t look like he had crushed anyone with his flipped 53′ truck. I spoke to a group of police who were standing around chatting next to their cars, since the road was closed, but they did not want to hear any complaints from me about lack of traffic calming on this dangerous section of road. I would bet dollars to donuts that the truck had a half dozen rolling infractions, and clearly the driver was out of control of his rig; but I’ll be surprised if the cops bothered to check his rig safety and load paperworks. Based on their comments, the police were clearly too concerned with their own workloads to listen to concerned citizens discuss an obvious traffic safety concern. Police clearly had no qualms stating there was no time for any traffic enforcements due to “all the rapes and murders”.

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          • Travis October 25, 2017 at 2:27 pm

            There’s some movement from Kotek’s office to lower speeds through this stretch of Columbia as part of a larger freight priority project — benefits for residential areas and pedestrians are a bonus.

            My experience: police in STJ have been pretty concerned with injury collisions and such. Best allies are probably fire department. Mike Myers seems pretty aware of PF&R role in advocating for safer streets.

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      • jonno October 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        Lots of WA plates in the customer parking lots of N/NE Portland businesses, especially on Hayden Island. These are the folks who can and will adjust their travel times based on tolling. What about them, if we’re just charging employers?

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        • todd boulanger October 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm

          If congestion pricing saves commute time then these bi-state commuters (WA & OR) will have an easier time supporting it…once they think about it.

          A key bi-state strategy will need to be handled more adroitly than the CRC effort: a new effort should strongly consider some sort of base “credit” for Washingtonians who pay OR employment taxes…and also should seek support for such a toll from small Clark County retailers who often loose WA business to sales tax free OR competitors (for the purposes of messaging)…as such a toll may keep some business from crossing the bridge (others will still continue shopping across state lines if they work in OR or if its a specialized product/ service, etc.).

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        • Bald One October 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm

          Collect sales tax for WA state at these N. Portland business – show your DL, pay sales tax if you’re from WA.

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          • m October 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

            Except for that pesky Commerce Clause.

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      • JeffS October 25, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        “This will just be a new revenue source. ”

        Nail on the head.

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        • Chris I October 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm

          Would you prefer that they raise property taxes to fund infrastructure spending, or tax the people that actually use said infrastructure?

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      • Chris I October 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm

        It will reduce peak demand, which will spread the traffic out. Isn’t this just better utilization of existing infrastructure? And there will be people that choose not to take trips or carpool, even if this effect may be minor. Why drive into Portland to save $20 on a lawnmower when you have to pay a $10 toll to get over the bridge + the added driving costs?

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        • dan October 26, 2017 at 5:40 am

          Yeah, exactly. Having employers pay a fee will not make a difference in people’s behavior in the same way as a congestion pricing fee paid by the individual.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy October 26, 2017 at 8:38 am

            It does beg the question of why employers are hiring so many people from over the river. Are there that many unfilled jobs in Portland that we don’t have the labor pool to fill them?

            If the “employee location fee” were great enough, it might encourage more local hiring. I’m not advocating that, but I am curious about it.

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            • Ryan October 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

              It’s not always businesses hiring people from over the river. Most of the people I work with that live in WA moved there after they already worked here, feeling that the the slightly worse commute was worth the much nicer home/neighborhood they could afford up north.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy October 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

                Well they should totally be penalized for wanting that 🙂

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              • Dan A October 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

                Being forced to pay for something you use is not the same thing as being penalized.

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  • maxD October 25, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    When this project was first pitched, it was a safety project. Then it was pointed out that it does not rank anywhere near the top for deaths/serious injury on ODT-0controlled streets in Portland. Then it was a congestion relief project, but it was soon conceded that that induced demand would negate any small gains. Then it was a restorative justice/re-connecting the grid. But this project removes the valuable connection along Flint, and creates new, less useful and less accessible routes. It also adds a few lids that the project needs for construction staging and it will re-purpose into “openspace”. The problem is that these will not support buildings, and they will not support vegetation. So imagine 3 blocks of Pioneer Courthouse Square except surrounded by 3-4 lane roads and perched over a highway with constant, loud noise and without any major commercial or civic amenity to activate it. In short, the project is trying to sell these leftover concrete lids as new urban space, but it is unusable and unneeded, low-quality space that will be more of a detriment than an amenity. So what is this project good for? It will reduce low-speed crashes and improve traffic flow. It is a definite improvement in convenience. However, I fail to see why Wheeler would say “This is obviously an important project for the state. An important project for the City of Portland. I believe it has the opportunity to be transformational for this part of our city.” How is it important? How will it be transformational? Can you justify spending over a half a billion dollars here?

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    • Allan Rudwick October 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      GREAT COMMENT!!

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    • Steve B. October 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Well said!!

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    • Paul Cone October 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Seattle put buildings and vegetation over freeways. Why can’t we do it here? I’m not meaning to imply support for this project — just wondering about the engineering of putting stuff on top of a freeway.

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      • John Lascurettes October 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

        Because these lids are simply engineered to support the project itself. That they’ll leave them up as a “benefit” is simply a byproduct of the project, not a planned feature. If it was properly planned an budgeted, it would be engineered and budgeted to be able to take soil and plants or buildings.

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      • maxD October 26, 2017 at 11:40 am

        To put buildings over the freeway, the concrete lid would need to engineered to support them and ODOT has already said that will never happen. To support plants, the engineering needs to be enough to support a saturated soil load, plus a commitment needs to be made for permanent irrigation. Seattle is much more humid than Portland and gets more summer rain, but even their plantings at Freeway Park, which are just large containers, have irrigation. Portland can go 3 months with no precipitation and temps in the 90’s-100’s. This will dry soil out completely and plants will not make it. There is no budget within PBOT or PP&R for maintaining this much landscape or paying for this irrigation, it just won’t happen. Maybe they will come up a tiny fringe of green here and there, but these are 3 blocks of exposed, hardscape with massive highway noise and air pollution. Have you been to Freeway Park in Seattle? It is a very creative treatment of an unpleasant condition, but it is still unpleasant to be there. These will never be high quality openspaces.

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  • jonno October 25, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    As I move around N/NE Portland at peak hours, it seems to me that I-5 is not the only congested road. What we need is a fee to enter the congested area at all, similar to what London does in their central city – if you are anywhere within the area, you pay the fee. I don’t know how they technically achieve that, but that’s my understanding of the approach. Adding a fee to use just I-5 will displace traffic to Interstate, Williams, MLK and all the narrow neighborhood streets that aren’t diverted, unless the toll covers the whole area.

    That, or just toll the interstate bridge southbound in the morning, and northbound in the evening. Clark County is what’s driving the peak hour congestion – right? Seems that’s the elephant in the room.

    This whole project feels like a bigger boondoggle every time I hear about it.

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    • Travis October 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Perspective: Routine is 30+ mins in a car from Pearl to St. Johns via HWY 30/STJ Bridge during rush hour. Germantown and 30 from Cornelius Pass are already slammed with normalized traffic on Germantown growing closer and closer toward Skyline. These are the drivers already avoiding I5.

      The elephant in the room is that we keep blaming Clark County without calling out Portland and Washington County habits.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Per metro data
      – About 87,500 Clark county workers commute to Multnomah, Washington or Clackamas counties. They would all necessarily cross either I5 or I205 bridges.
      – About 109,880 Clackamas county workers commute to Multnomah county or (fewer) Washington or (even fewer) Clark counties. Most of them are likely driving through Portland on I5 or surface streets, some will take MAX and others I205.
      – About 110,400 Washington county workers commute to Multnomah county or (fewer) Clackamas or (even fewer) Clark county. I imagine few of them are driving through Portland on I5 or I205, most probably take I26, surface streets, or MAX.

      So, yeah, to the extent commuters from out of town contribute to I5 congestion, it’ll be mostly 87,000 Clark county workers coming south from Vancouver WA and surrounding towns, and est 70,000 Washington county workers coming north from Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, etc.

      We could put congestion pricing toll points just south of the I5 bridge, and somewhere south of central Portland on I5. Tolls would use FastPass transponders, and license plate cameras to identify and bill those w/o transponders. That system is commonly used on the east coast.

      Would this reduce congestion? I’m sure it would, based on experience in other countries/states. People find a way to avoid congestion charges by commuting different hours, carpooling, transit, etc. If we added HOV lanes to speed buses and carpools, that would likely help too.

      For lower-income workers, sell discounted FastPasses if they are Oregon Trail recipients and the equivalent in Washington State.

      The city seems to want to do the right thing, and I applaud Comm Saltzman and Mayor Wheeler for that. Too bad we’re not seeing the other council members speak up.

      I’m not sure they are making the most of their bargaining position if they keep telegraphing that they will support going forward with the RQ I5 project even if congestion pricing doesn’t happen.

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      • SD October 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        I have little sympathy from commuter counties that have opposed light rail connections to central Portland.

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        • SD October 26, 2017 at 4:34 pm

          *for*

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    • Bald One October 25, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      We need congestion peak use tolling on all major area freeways: 26, 217, 205, 99E, I5 (south of downtown, and north), 405, 30. And, why not pay to cross bridges at peak also – Morrison, Hawthorne, Burnside, RI, Broadway, sellwood, steele?

      But, the issue will be one of collection and administration. I can’t imagine Portland can pull this off in feasible or functional manner.

      I would hope they would tax peak area congestion in a manner that also correlates with the vehicle tailpipe emission and carbon footprint including vehicle weight. But, I’m not optimistic about this, after the ODOT debacle of pilot plan for capturing gas tax from hybrid and electric vehicles – what a way to encourage people to drive heavy, low mileage vehicles.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu October 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm

        The problem with tolling most of those freeways is that traffic will just divert to surface streets.

        And I don’t see why you’d want to toll the bridges that connect eastside Portland to westside Portland. It is one city after all.

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        • eawriste October 26, 2017 at 9:39 am

          This is certainly a possibility depending on how agencies agree to implement congestion pricing. A tact that ensures an entire AREA of a city has lower SOV numbers was implemented quite successfully in London. The below link shows the area of London where drivers incur an 11.50 pound ($15) charge to enter. Such a policy could easily be implemented in Portland with similar outcomes.

          https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge/congestion-charge-zone?intcmp=2055

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  • B. Carfree October 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    The only non-negative thing about this entire project is the prospect of finally implementing a toll/congestion pricing in Oregon. I understand that the fee will be set too low to accomplish anything and that the next step will be to bring it up high enough to make the little darlings squeal a bit. Now hearing that the congestion pricing is still on the chopping block is depressing, but not unexpected.

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  • Bill Stites October 25, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Congestion pricing is necessary.

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  • soren October 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    The congestion pricing provision in HB2017 has nothing to do with this project so let’s not get distracted by Saltzman and Wheeler’s transparent attempts to link it to this boondoggle.

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  • Steve B. October 25, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Well said!!

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  • wsbob October 26, 2017 at 1:52 am

    How exactly do people, from the general public, ODOT, PBOT, etc that do, figure that congestion pricing is going to work to relieve congestion on the section of I-5 adjacent to the Rose Quarter?

    This in an interstate highway, originating outside of Portland, passing through and departing from Portland. Is some way being figured out to have congestion pricing reduce congestion just on the section of the highway to be reconfigured as part of the Rose Quarter Project, or is the target area of the highway to be longer in length?

    Congestion pricing focused on reducing congestion on this section of I-5, doesn’t sound like it has a strong chance of working, if there is no good alternative mode of travel to meet the peoples’ travel needs. So far, the idea for congestion pricing as a condition of moving forward with the I-5 RQ project, sounds like empty lip service.

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    • Dan A October 26, 2017 at 8:23 am

      “if there is no good alternative mode of travel to meet the peoples’ travel needs”

      You don’t need an alternative mode of travel, you just need to go through there during off-peak times.

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    • eawriste October 26, 2017 at 9:25 am

      “Congestion pricing focused on reducing congestion on this section of I-5, doesn’t sound like it has a strong chance of working…”

      Imagine x price, at which point you decide to take a mode of transportation other than a car. It works quite well on the East coast and around the world.

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      • J_R October 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

        Imagine price y where you would stick with your car and drive on neighborhood collectors and neighborhood residential streets to avoid paying the toll.

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        • eawriste October 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

          I understand your worry, and if implemented poorly, such behavior would certainly exist. Many cities have implemented congestion pricing including London where it is quite successful in limiting SOVs. Along the border of the pricing area things such as diverters, 1-2 hour parking and other stuff like this tend to mediate cut through traffic and abuse of the system.

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    • Gary B October 26, 2017 at 10:38 am

      I agree. To be effective it has to cover a larger area. If the toll were only a discrete point in the RQ, it probably wouldn’t cause the intended effect (change in mode or time-shift). It’d likely cause people that don’t want* to pay to just avoid that point (divert). A broader tolling strategy (e.g., each freeway entering Portland) would make it much harder to avoid the tolls using surface streets because it’d drastically affect the commuter’s route. So they’d be more likely to use an alternate mode or time if they don’t want to pay.

      *I’m saying “want to” pay. Of course I recognize there are also those can’t pay, and hope that any tolling plan will be implemented equitably.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      I5 congestion is Portland is due partly to interstate freight but mostly from commuters. And its not just in RQ.

      Imagine a toll point at the Columbia River and another south of the I5/!205 split. It would be impossible to bypass the former and inconvenient to bypass the latter, especially if toll points are added on on ramps to I5/I205 for some distance north of the split.

      Freight could move at off-peak hours. Commuters could carpool or use transit, and shift hours a little too. HOV lane and some express buses would help.

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      • wsbob October 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm

        “I5 congestion is Portland is due partly to interstate freight but mostly from commuters. And its not just in RQ. …” liu

        Of course, I-5 congestion arises from use of the road by commuters and freight. That a specific project confronting effects of congestion is planned and proposed for the section of I-5 as it passes the RQ area, suggests to me the existence of a particular congestion problem there, that’s unlike general congestion outside of RQ area.

        What specifically is that problem, and does congestion pricing hold a realistic potential for reducing the congestion on this section of I-5?

        I’ve been thinking the particular congestion problem with this section of I-5, largely originates from local traffic using I-5 to go back and forth between Downtown and the RQ. Some other people’s comments to bikeportland stories on this project, seemed to suggest to me that they also think this source of traffic is a significant congestion factor on this section of I-5.

        It’s natural to wonder whether, if congestion pricing…say for just the exits to and from the RQ… were high enough to persuade local traffic from using this section of the road for this local travel, would they use the Steel, Morrison, Hawthorne, Burnside bridges instead, and would those bridges be able to handle the traffic and provide for reasonable trip times. Or could the city’s mass transit somehow be tailored to provide for the offset in use of this section of I-5 that might be prompted by a RQ specific congestion pricing strategy?

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        • John Liu
          John Liu October 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm

          Would create much cut through traffic on surface streets before and after RQ. Drivers wanting to get off freeway to reach RQ, or in RQ wanting to reach freeway, would go through neighborhoods to use the first exit outside of the congestion pricing zone. You have to place the boundaries of the zone where it is very hard to bypass.

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