Pierce Transit this weekend will roll out the first eight of 20 state-funded vans to vanpool groups heading to Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM) for their commute. Pierce Transit obtained the vans through the Vanpool Investment Program Grant, a competitive grant from Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The grant is specifically aimed at easing congestion on the I-5 corridor near and around JBLM.
With increasing population at JBLM, as well as in Pierce and Thurston counties, the I-5 corridor between Tacoma and Olympia has become one of the most congested corridors in the state, according to Pierce Transit Government Relations Officer Justin D. Leighton. In 2010, I-5 commuters found themselves sitting in nine-mile backups that doubled or tripled their commute time. Recognizing the congestion, JBLM and WSDOT have funded congestion relief projects to help mitigate traffic impacts and improve travel time by adding traffic cameras, ramp meters and on-base traffic flow improvements. The 20 new vans are part of that continuing strategy to mitigate traffic congestion along the corridor. Once all 20 vans are active they will help remove over 200 single-occupant vehicles from the corridor daily.
“We are excited to get on the road,” said Rich Eveland, volunteer primary driver from Enumclaw to JBLM. “It will be great to have the vanpool.”
Pierce Transit’s vanpool program was established in 1986 with seven vans. Today the program has a fleet of 326 vehicles serving more than 2,500 customers. A roll-out celebration is scheduled Sat., July 28 at 10 a.m. at the Pierce Transit Training Center located at 3720 96th Street SW in Lakewood.