Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spokane’s first ramp meters to be activated April 9

By Ryan Overton

Ramp meters are coming to Spokane.

Long used to regulate traffic flow in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, the Spokane area’s first ramp meter will become operational on April 9th. The meter is designed to alleviate backups and collisions on US 195 at the onramp of eastbound I-90.

Currently, drivers traveling north on US 195 are able to merge onto I-90 eastbound which creates backups on both US 195 and eastbound I-90. The ramp meter will regulate the flow of traffic entering I-90 and decrease congestion in the right lane of eastbound I-90 as drivers try to merge from US 195.

Spokane’s first highway ramp meter will be activated on the morning of April 9th.
 How will it work?

So how will it work? Drivers will see the ramp meter go live at 6:30 a.m. on April 9th. Metering will continue through the morning peak traffic window, ending at about 9 a.m. During the afternoon commute, the ramp meter will be activated at 2:00 p.m. and continue through 6 p.m.

Drivers will see a sign flashing “Ramp Metered Ahead When Flashing.” When flashing, drivers will form two lanes leading up to the ramp meter. Drivers pull forward to the white line or stop bar to trigger the ramp meter. If the light is red for your lane, stop at the white line. When it turns green, accelerate and merge onto I-90. The ramp meter will only allow one vehicle per green light.
The new ramp meter in Spokane is designed to alleviate backups and collisions on US 195 at the onramp of eastbound I-90.

While the ramp meter should reduce congestion on eastbound I-90 and limit collisions at the merge point, ramp metering can produce delays. We tested several drive times from the intersection of 16th Avenue and Thorpe Road on US 195 to 3rd and Walnut and without the ramp meter during peak traffic, travel times were approximately the same using alternate routes like 16th Avenue to Sunset Boulevard and Inland Empire Way, or US 195. With the ramp meter, we estimate that using US 195 to I-90 will take an additional 2 minutes of travel time.
Crews installing Spokane’s first ramp meter, which will be activated on April 9th. 

Like anything new, we expect that the ramp meter will take some getting used to. But ramp meters are proven to reduce collisions and reduce backups on the mainline highway. So please familiarize yourself with how it operates, because after this one goes live, five more are set to be installed and operational in 2020.


LilLady said...

I think if people would actually learn to yield there would be less accidents. I've never seen anyone yield causing traffic on the highway to slam on their brakes.

LilLady said...

I think the real problem is that no one yields at this ramp. This causes flowing traffic to slam on their brakes. People should merge like a zipper. Pay attention and look. Hope this doesn't cause more confusion like the roundabout off Craig Rd and state sta 902.

redromo said...

Stay out of the far right lane unless youre exiting and learn to yeild if entering. These meters will accomplish absolutely nothing.

redromo said...

people do yeild entering the freeway and then the people on the freeway yeild too and it causes accidenta and congestion. I use this entrance every day. Ive seen plenty of "yield" accidents.

Unknown said...

A ridiculous solution to this problem. Why didn't you just merge the i-90 traffic into the two left hand lanes till mid span of the bridge and allow the merging traffic some ramp up time? That still gives the I-90 folks who want to exit at Maple street adequate time to get back in the right hand lane. The stop light will give the 195 traffic less time to ramp up to speed, thus creating a WORSE hazard! My tax dollars at work through the Government brain trust.

Unknown said...

Now traffic will back up on to 195 and the accidents will be there instead.. but hey, at least I90 will be moving.

kris99163 said...

DOT did not need to spend the money for this...they could have eliminated the use of the Lane prior to this entrance. Several years ago when there was construction on I90 that was done and it was GREAT. So sad the engineers have no concept, just raise the gas tax to do projects.

ATSF199 said...

I don't know about the ramp meters but I'd rather merge alone and try to, I don't need someone rear ending me cause I slowed to merge onto 90. And I leave plenty of room between the car ahead of me in case that vehicle comes to a stop.
Who should have time to yield though?
If I really truly did that it could be for 5 or more minutes primarily during busy commute times. No thanks.

B said...

The problem I see with this is that yielding needs to be mutual--I90 folks need to move over to allow the 195 folks to get on. I have had too many times where folks on i90 forced me to stop and wait for them to go by and block traffic behind me until the i90 traffic cleared. A stop light is going to do nothing if the folks on I90 are not going to do their part to let any of us on. Personally, my husband and I are going to start taking another route to get into Spokane from 195 because that other route will be faster and there will be fewer selfish people to deal with than what there are on the freeway.

Steve said...

Are there any warning signs? "prepare to stop" "new traffic pattern" ect. maybe slow traffic from 55 to 45 all I saw was a temporary reader board. I see rear end collisions of cars traveling 55mph. Maybe I missed the signs.

Unknown said...

The problem of merging onto I 90 east from Hwy 195 north that the metered entry was supposed to ease is causing more issues than solutions. This morning and other mornings, I waited in queue for 7 minutes and 32 seconds to merge onto I 90. Several cars left the LONG line and wedged their way further up into the waiting traffic. There are several skid marks in the lanes on Hwy 195 indicating that there have probably been some accidents as a result of the back up. Whatever research was done prior to making the decision to install a metered entry was not thorough enough to predict the inevitable problems this "solution" has created. The real problem is that the "thru traffic" traveling east on I 90 often refuses to leave the outside lane to allow vehicles to enter the freeway, and the metered entry has not remediated the real problem, but has created a new problem.

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