To the editor:
There will be no real progress on the Interstate 494/Highway 5 corridor running through the cities of Bloomington and Richfield.
Yes, the cloverleaf design will be restructured to help ease merging traffic, and elimination of a couple exit ramps will help ensure faster-flowing traffic between Nicollet and 12th avenues.
But there will be a buses-only lane going under I-494 that will confuse drivers and slow down traffic.
And, most significant, there will now be an E-ZPass lane “to accommodate transit and motorists who want to pay to jump out of the slower-moving traffic,” according to Met Council Chairman Charlie Zelle. (“Making Progress on I-494,” Bloomington-Richfield Sun Current, Aug. 5.) This means the majority of traffic, consisting of single drivers, will still be stuck in heavy traffic. Only carpoolers, motorcyclists and those wishing to pay an extra, exorbitant fee will be able to use all lanes.
This problem already exists on Interstate 35W, between Burnsville and Minneapolis, where single drivers who cannot afford to pay the extra toll for use of the express lane are limited to just two lanes at certain points along the busy freeway from 6-10 a.m. and from 3-7 p.m., depending on direction of travel. As all drivers can attest, the freeway lanes back up for several miles, adding considerably more driving time to one’s already busy schedule.
This practice of building freeway lanes that only carpoolers or the rich can fully utilize is unfair and must be stopped.
Also, I hope the Minnesota Department of Transportation will be raising the speed limit on I-494. Currently set at a ridiculously low 60 mph, (minimum 40 mph,) the freeway is difficult to travel at such a slow speed and is downright dangerous as the majority of cars whip by at speeds well over the posted limit.
A reasonable speed limit would be 70 mph, since the freeway will be built with more modern, up-to-date asphalt, lanes will be wider and automobiles are safer than ever before to drive at high speeds.