Dear Mike O’Brien: I drive my car in bus lanes all the time
Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien has a never-ending quest to blame Seattle traffic on everyone but bicyclists, pedestrians, bus drivers, people with two passengers in their cars, city planners, bad engineering, and the war on cars. Now he has a new culprit: people who drive cars in the bus-only lanes, people like me.
I drive in bus-only lanes because it’s frequently demented to do otherwise. For instance, back in the day when we had two freeways into downtown Seattle, I would consistently drive in the bus-only lane on Northbound 99. I knew that a bus might, maybe, possibly, casually roll by once every 10 minutes or so while the two lanes for evil cars were packed solid. So I made the perfectly sane, rational, logical decision to get where I was going faster because the bus-only lane was sitting there — all paid for with my money — unused.
I will continue to do that.
This isn’t just a Seattle issue. Southbound from Everett there are bus-only lanes of beautiful, smooth, open blacktop almost entirely un-used except for brief appearances by a bus rolling casually by as the main lanes are full-up. It’s more risky to do in that area — and I rarely drive up there — but I will still use those lanes and feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever because it’s a sane, rational choice in the face of social engineering gone mad.
If Mike O’Brien has a care in the world about making traffic flow better downtown he would do a number of things. If O’Brien cared, he would advocate to have SDOT stop all cars at once, let all pedestrians walk and then let the cars roll again. That would make it better for everyone which, of course, is not the design.
Mike O’Brien’s design, like so many in Seattle, is to punish people who drive cars. I am not willing to pretend otherwise.