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Curley: Northwest drivers being squeezed out of their cars

Even though about 70 percent of commuters drive to work solo, the state is spending more money and time on carpool lanes. (AP photo)

Solo commuters heading to work are feeling left out.

KING 5 reports that out of all the state road projects over the last five years, there’s been an addition of almost four times the amount of HOV lanes than any other lane.

When you compare the amount of money and effort being given to carpool commuters versus solo drivers, it’s understandable as to why some are upset. The Puget Sound Regional Council estimates 22 percent of commuters in the Northwest carpool or use transit. The majority of commuters in King, Pierce, Kitsap and Snohomish counties &#8212 about 70 percent &#8212 are solo drivers.

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Maybe the state is doing this on purpose, KIRO Radio’s John Curley proposed. The state wants people to reach a breaking point.

“You get to the point where the commute is so long, you are forced to get someone to be in the car with you,” Curley told KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “Or, you are forced to move or take a job somewhere else.”

It’s all about control, Curley continued. Leaders want to force people out of cars and onto buses.

That might not be true, Tom responded.

“They’re trying to accommodate us,” he said. “The reason so many carpool lanes are being added is because there weren’t enough.”

No. “They” want someone else in your car, Curley injected.

But the state can’t build extra lanes because of the geographic nature of the Northwest, Tom said.

So the state can’t build more general purpose lanes for all the solo commuters, but it can build an 18-foot-wide bike lane on the 520 bridge? They could have shrank the bike lane and added another car lane, Curley said.

Well, at least with the bike lane, which includes a protective barrier, drivers and cyclists won’t be ramming into each other.

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