The "Driving Me Crazy" commuting series takes us this week to a brand new Sellwood Bridge that's been backed up since it fully opened.
The daily gridlock on Southeast Tacoma Street and the amount of cut-through traffic on side streets is suffocating.
On some mornings that backup gets past 17th Avenue. Commuters says it’s regularly a thirty minute ordeal to get out of Sellwood to the west side.
There is no real fix for that, as Tacoma is a small, two-lane neighborhood street by design. That decision was made a decade ago and dictated the size and traffic capacity of the new Sellwood Bridge.
However officials are working on some measures that would reduce cut-through traffic on side streets. They’ve also identified at least one fix that should help flow.
The 'No Right Turn' on the red light on the west end of the bridge has received numerous complaints. Drivers say that light -- designed to help pedestrians and cyclists cross safely -- remains on long after users have crossed. That delay, complaints cite, may be a minute or more.
It’s a small fix, but as the city of Portland tinkers with the timing, it’s possible several more cars per minute could make that right turn onto northbound Macadam, increasing overall flow across the bridge.
I’ve started the Driving Me Crazy series on KGW News at Sunrise. It’s a weekly look at trouble spots, recurring maintenance issues, or traffic designs that just don’t make sense.