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EV access to HOV lanes in Washington State?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by ACDriveMotor, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    I wonder if anyone can answer why a motorcycle is allowed to use the WA state HOV lanes but a TMS is not. Seems very wrong. A motorcycle is not a high occupancy vehicle.
     
  2. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I agree motorcycles are not high occupancy vehicles; but the point of most WA HOV lanes is congestion (HOV lanes in other areas sometimes serve other purposes). Motorcycles generally take less space and reduce congestion - that's why they are in; it has nothing to do with emissions or petroleum reduction. WA DOT so far has not allowed uses of the lanes other than to reduce congestion - they certainly get a lot of requests!

    I think the biggest lesson is that "high occupancy vehicle" may not be the best name for the lanes.

    Incidentally, there IS some talk of changing this and making the lanes serve other purposes, likely tied in with making more of them fee-based. But just talk so far. At least they are talking...DOT would not talk before BEVs paid a $100 road tax fee. The DOT has its own fund stream and has not been interested in working with other departments to work on other goals; that's why we see a sales tax waiver for BEVs partially countered by a BEV road fee. Note that I am talking about the top level of DOT...a couple of WA DOT people have been great about working with Commerce on the Green Highway; but they've generally had no funding. Inslee keeps saying they will do more, but no funding source in sight yet.
     
  3. Puyallup Bill

    Puyallup Bill Member

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    Yes, the motorcycle exemption seems a bit odd. Concerning EVs, as ChadS clearly points out, WA DOT has been quite clear - the goal is reducing congestion.

    Since CA (and others) allow EVs in the HOV lanes, I understand many CA EV sales or leases are closed mainly to get the coveted HOV sticker.
     
  4. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    I've actually been in conversation with our state legislation about this very topic over the last two months. Ever since we put our deposit down! What I have gleaned is that the reason that motorcycles are allowed in the HOV lanes is because they meet their occupancy requirement of their vehicle. Meaning they seat one person so they cannot obviously put two people on them or three.

    One of our legislators has a roadster and is on board with HB2106 that is the house bill that needs to be introduced in April and approved for us plug in cars to utilize the HOV lanes. Chad the legislator I've been talking to is thinking maybe we go about it From the standpoint that California used in that while we don't utilize the capacity of our cars with only one person we are doing what the state set out to do in there first place with the use of the HOV lane which was cut down on the emissions to the environment. He's thinking maybe at tag time we plug in cars could OPT to pay an additional $25 a year if we wanted the feature and we'd get a new plate or something along those lines.

    Anyhow ow just wanted to add my two cents for what it's worth. You guys might want to email our state legislators and no let them know you're interested and if you do make sure you mention HB2106
     
  5. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    I spoke with senator Mullen this evening. He said that legislation in eastern washington is very against EV vehicles and they seem to like to pay for gas. He said that the fight for Tesla last week was extremely difficult and the very fact that the amendment was made is huge. He said he is in support of the HOV bill however he's not inclined to think that with legislation as it stands it would ever pass. He said that currently he's fighting a $100 fee for electric motorcycles (same as we would pay for our Teslas) which wa placed there because we don't buy gas and don't pay the gas tax. He said he doesn't think wee even really come close to $100 in a normal vehicle and for a motorcycle should only be around $25 but the legislation on hath eastern side disagrees and feels these fees should be raised. On top of that they are trying to do away with the tax free new EV purchase at the end of this year. So let's hope that we get some new people in office at the end of this year and the HOV lane issue can be brought back on the table.
     
  6. Homebrook

    Homebrook New Member

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    Aren't motorcycles allowed in the HOV lanes because they get very high mileage (60-140 mpg)? In my opinion HOV lanes are a very bad idea. Everybody gets bad mileage so a few can go faster? I have a hard time believing they relieve congestion. It seems to me HOV lanes aggravate congestion.
     
  7. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Thanks for the update, Alysashley79.
     
  8. gglockner

    gglockner Member

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    Are there any HOV lanes in Eastern Washington? If not, why do politicians there care so much about the traffic impact in the Puget Sound region?
     
  9. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    @homebrook motorcycles can ride in HOV lanes because they satisfy the current HOV law (in wa) that in most cases all the seats are filled so they're allowed to use the lanes and while yes some of them are two seaters etc the senator said some people buy them that way because they are overweight and they had to for the extra springs etc.

    @gglockner as far as I can remember (my mom has a summer place in eastern washington) there aren't any HOV lanes in eastern WA. It's not so much about this particular bill. It's just that they are very anti EV on that side of the state. So we need to pick our battles. Right now while some of us already may have our model S and may feel like THIS is important to me now. There are several of us that are also on the reservation list for the model X or are planning to buy a gen 3. And it would suck to have to pay sales tax on that $100k purchase because we pushed on something else and won. That was the point that senator Mullen was trying to make when I spoke to him. He said that many people in eastern wa seem to still have range anxiety even with a tesla and I can see why not many places to plug in over there. Not as readily accessible as over here. When I visited a friend in Yakima I know everyone was like what is THAT you're driving. Like it had come out of know here. Whereas. Here I still get heads to turn and thumbs up but over there it's like a whole other world.

    Maybe be time for some people that live in those districts (anyone out there?) to drop by and offer some rides to their legislators!!!
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I'd be fine with additional fee per year for EV access to HOV lanes. The HOV lanes should really be 3+ people if that truly is their goal. Two people hardly encourages car pooling.
     
  11. gglockner

    gglockner Member

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    Seems like there are two issues here:

    1. Tax breaks for EVs, like RCW 82.08.809 and 82.12.809 (sales tax exemption)
    2. HOV access for EVs, like in California
    It's easy to see why some people do not like RCW 82.08.809 and 82.12.809 for Tesla: it is a generous tax break for a luxury car. There is a large opportunity cost to taxpayers. On the other hand, HOV access costs almost nothing and promotes lower emissions. I can't understand why a politician far away from the Puget Sound region would have issues with HOV access.
     
  12. Seattle

    Seattle Member

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    It has been a constant issue that legislators outside of the Puget Sound area constantly want to restrict Seattle's ability to tax ourselves for transportation improvements here. Same deal with extending the trains from Portland to Vancouver WA (Portland wants to pay for a good part of it, but mass transit is for the devil).
     
  13. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    It feels to me like standard political negotiating tactic. Fight people for the things they care about (good idea or not) in order to win support for things you care about. This isn't rational so don't try too hard to rationalize it :)
     
  14. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Maybe paid access to HOV lanes for EVs would satisfy them. Also have them throw in only two people in the car for paid access to encourage EV only or three or more people in the car.
     
  15. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    I think the issue for Eastern WA people is that so much of the infrastructure budget goes to 3 counties.

    As to HOV lanes. They are a complete failure to mitigate congestion. The intent was to get people to share rides and lower congestion but it doesn't really do that. The HOV exits off the express lanes in downtown Seattle are proof - mostly empty. But I doubt we will see any changes for EVs. It's not politically expedient and the amount of revenue generated from a fee would be like a rounding error.
     
  16. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    My loose understanding is that, generally, HOV lanes are indeed intended to motivate people to share rides. In some (geographic) areas they succeed in this, while in other areas they don't as much.

    Regardless of the intent, they do so by "take away" routes from regular traffic.

    One solution to the empty problem is to step slightly away from the original intent (motivate ride sharing) by expanding HOV access to other "things you want to motivate" like EVs.

    Another option is to step back and realize that the "motivate" isn't working and just build simpler -- more lane -- roads instead of introducing complications like HOV entry / exit signage, necking of lanes, etc. For example, the 520 from Redmond to 520 the bridge HOV necking often feels unsafe to me -- for both the HOV folk and the non-HOV folk. Is threatening safety worth increasing throughput? Maybe?
     
  17. ReddyLeaf

    ReddyLeaf Member

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    Alysashley79, not everyone over here is anti-EV. Actually we have a handful of Teslas and probably over 200 PHEVs total. Unfortunately our "representatives" don't really represent many of us, but rather follow the party line. I'm not sure I want to meet my rep in person or have him in my car. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't help.

    That said, if you need to visit the Tri-Cities, feel free to contact me for assistance charging. I've helped several Teslas in the past, including shuttling to appointments so that their car could continue charging. With the Ellensburg SC, there really shouldn't be any problems with range, except maybe in winter, or the occasional 40 KWH version. In addition, there are some options not listed on Plugshare that might be accessible. Finally, I'm working on a getting a couple of businesses on the EV bandwagon. I'll publish more when it happens.

    As for HOV lanes over here, not in the Tri-Cities.
     
  18. BerTX

    BerTX Member

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    That is a popular misconception. Motorcycles fast enough for freeway speeds get 30-50 mpg usually.

    My current vehicle gets 65 mpg -- I frequently have people say "that's almost as good as a motorcycle". My answer: " when my car gets the fuel economy of a motorcycle, it's broken".
     
  19. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    thank you you reddy leaf!! I may contact you sometime!! My issue is that my moms place is 45 miles from the ellensburgbwa supercharger....60 miles one way from the tri cities....I'd have more than enough if it was just a quick weekend thing but I usually go over and stay a few days and we do a wine weekend and the trickle charger isn't going to build me back up fast enough to be ready to go again...would be nice to go into the mall in the tri cities for a couple hours and pick up 60 miles or so...I'm sure with time it to will come.

    I know you guys don't have HOV lanes. In fact many of your lanes are two lane highways. My P85 makes it so much easier and fun to pass now. Anyhow my point before was just that for some reason the guys in eastern washington don't want us to have HOV access over here which doesn't make sense why they care so much when they don't even live here.
     
  20. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    The really annoying thing is people cutting in and out of HOV lanes to weave through traffic because that is their right with 2 people in the car. Once you enter an HOV lane you shouldn't be allowed to exit until you reach Seattle or the end of the HOV lane or some pre-determined exit points.
     

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