Portland Traffic Sucks, or Why I Hate My Commute, or Why We Need an I-5 Bridge Alert System

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I love my job. I hate my commute. Especially with news headlines like this one: Oregon, Washington Gas Prices Continue To Rise, But Relief Expected Soon.

I’m not alone in my terrible commute. Just yesterday The Oregonian reported that the Portland region’s recession helped create more ‘extreme commuters‘ which is ironic for me considering I work for a very environmentally friendly workplace. But we can’t afford to live near my workplace, so I drive 23 miles each way four days a week to work.

My commute is made even more vexing because my normal way to and from work takes me over a bridge that lifts periodically. The 1-5 bridge over the Columbia River lifts magically during commuting hours. Last night it was at 6:33 p.m.

I can’t find a way to get alerts so I can avoid the bridge lifts and take another route. I’ve looked on the Oregon Department of Transportation websites, news and traffic websites, Washington Department of Transportation websites, etc. I’m a librarian. If this magic alert system existed, I know I would be able to find it. The best I can find is two Twitter feeds: https://twitter.com/KGWTraffic and https://twitter.com/TripCheckPDX but neither of these are alerts, per se, as these feeds tell you there is a bridge lift coming AS IT HAPPENS. I’m looking for an alert that tells me a bridge lift will be happening 20 to 30 minutes prior so I can avoid that route altogether.

This doesn’t seem too much to ask. For example, in the Seattle area, motorists can sign up for text messages to get alerts about the 520 drawspan openings.

Please tell this librarian that she is wrong and that an alert system like this exists. Otherwise, all you start up whiz kids out there: what are you waiting for? Get moving! This idea is priceless. I won’t even ask for a commission on my brilliant idea.

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