Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Part 1: I-405 Express Toll Lanes 6 Week Review: Weekday commutes in the regular lanes

By Ethan Bergerson

Since opening the I-405 express toll lanes, transit, vanpools and carpools have seen an immediate benefit, and non-carpools now have the option to pay a toll for a more reliable trip. Drivers in the express toll lanes saved an average of 14 minutes southbound during the AM peak for an average toll of $3.05, and saved an average of 12 minutes northbound during the PM peak for an average toll of $2.35.

While express toll lanes are doing what they’re designed to do, we’ve receive a lot of questions about how traffic in the regular lanes on I-405 is being impacted. Today we’re going to be diving into weekday commute times in the regular lanes, with an in-depth breakdown of the different sections of the commute. This will all be based on weekday commutes in the regular lanes from Sept 28 through November 6, 2015, and the corresponding weeks last year.

Overall, we’ve seen travel times remain the same or improve in the regular lanes in both directions for drivers going the full 17 miles between Bellevue and Lynnwood compared to this time last year. However, increased traffic in some areas has led to more congestion in some spots, especially north of Bothell in the evenings.

Weekday mornings: Southbound regular lanes

Southbound in the mornings, we’ve seen time savings as high as 20 minutes in late October, with less dramatic improvements of 5-10 minutes in November.

Full 17-mile trip from Lynnwood to Bellevue
Every one of the first six weeks since the I-405 express toll lanes opened has seen peak travel times 5 to 20 minutes faster than last year in the regular lanes. Southbound in the mornings, we’ve seen drivers saving as much as 20 minutes in late October, compared to the same commute this time last year. The first two weeks of November, drivers are experiencing a time savings of 5-10 minutes in the regular lanes.


Now let’s break it down even further to look to at the shorter trips and what we’re seeing.

Lynnwood to Bothell

Drivers in the regular lanes are still experiencing 5-15 minute shorter travel times from Lynnwood to Bothell compared to this time last year.  Weeks 2-5 have all seen peak travel times between 20-25 minutes, although this has crept back up slightly to 30 minutes in week 6. To put this in context, the average travel time for this commute this time last year was 35 minutes, with some days reaching up 50 minutes.



Bothell to Bellevue
South of Bothell, we’ve observed that the peak time has moved about half an hour later to 8:30 a.m. The result is that drivers travelling before 8 a.m. are experiencing trips up to 10 minutes shorter, with several weeks below the average for 2014. Travel times for drivers hitting the road around 8:30 a.m. are mixed from week to week, ranging from 5 minutes faster to a couple of minutes longer, with last week on par with the 2014 average. Overall the best weeks of 2015 are beating the best weeks of the previous year, and the worst weeks are still outperforming the worst of last year.



Weekday Evenings: Northbound regular lanes

Heading north in the evenings, commutes have been improving south of Bothell, but slowing in the north.

Full 17-mile trip from Bellevue to Lynnwood
Drivers making the entire 17 mile trip from Bellevue to Lynnwood in the regular lanes have been seeing modest improvements over the last month. Three of the last four weeks have had peak travel times as low as 35 minutes – 10 minutes below the 2014 average. The first week of November was on par with 2014, but the following week was the best performance we’ve seen so far.



Next, let’s dive deeper again into the shorter trips.

Bellevue to Bothell
Northbound commutes between Bellevue and Bothell in the regular lanes have been significantly improved since the express toll lanes opened. Peak travel times have varied from 5-15 minutes shorter every week. This past week was the best performance so far, with average travel times 15 minutes or less, well below the best days in 2014. Traffic is now free flowing for much of this commute, with the congestion now concentrated within 2 miles of the SR 520 interchange.



Bothell to Lynnwood
As we reported two weeks ago, traffic north of SR 522 is now consistently more congested than it was before. This is because the increased capacity from a new fifth lane south of SR 522, combined with the improvements at the SR 522 and I-405 interchange, are putting more pressure on the bottleneck where five lanes of traffic goes down to three lanes, as would be expected. Travel times between Bothell to Lynnwood have been between 5 and 10 minutes longer than the 2014 average every week since the express toll lanes opened.

Improving this section is a very high priority for our traffic engineers. We are looking very closely at what we can do in this section. The solution may lie in changing the access points, but it is difficult to predict the exact effects of more access and we need to be sure that our actions would create benefits before we make a change. Luckily, we built in flexibility for ourselves by using temporary striping, and if we see an opportunity to create a sure benefit through access changes then we will make it.




What does all of this tell us?
Traffic is shifting day to day and week to week, and we anticipate it will continue to do so. This reinforces that it will take traffic six months to a year to fully adjust and settle into a new normal. It’s still too soon to draw long-term conclusions. We’ll be monitoring closely to see how the express toll lanes operate and how drivers are adjusting.

52 comments:

Helena said...

These toll lanes have been the biggest mistake in transportation history. These toll lanes have made most of our cummute times much much worse. WSDOT needs to admit that these toll lanes are a complete failure and listen to the people of this state. Everyone would be better off if the toll lane was turned back into a general purpose lane. The new and improved configuration would be 4 general purpose lanes and 1 HOV lane. WSDOT should be ashamed for cheating the public with the false propaganda and bogus graphs. The people of this state are not stupid and are not fooled anymore by WSDOT and there lies. Give us our lane back!

Quitcomplainingabouteverything said...

Get a Good to Go Pass....your "cummute" or commute time will drastically improve. If you choose not to give up a whole $0.75 to run the length then thats on you. Graphs and proaganda aside, for those who use the toll lane, save massive amounts of time on the road. Otherwise, thank you for staying in the general lanes and keeping the ETL free-flowing.

WoodinvilleCommuter said...

The toll lanes have had a positive impact on the 405 commute. It's observable in the commute and the data backs it up. No gp lanes were taken away - 3 before and 3 after. No point in having a single HOV lane, that's what was there before and it was always backed up. Why go back to that? Buses in particular should have access to free-flowing lanes.

WoodinvilleCommuter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helena said...

These are obviously more planted statements by WSDOT. Everyone is tired by there propaganda and lies. Everyone knows these tolls are a joke. They will be removed soon.

Michael said...

How can you make these comparisons and ignore traffic incoming from 520. This is the most significant impact to users going from Redmond/Bellevue to Bothell/ Woodinville in the PM. Go ahead and tell me again you didn't remove any GP lanes... I dare you. The real answer: Legally you removed no GP lanes, because you re-purposed the auxiliary lane into a GP lane. Fantastic you get to keep your federal funding because you meet their ETL requirements. HOWEVER, you neglected to ever notice/ admit that by re-purposing 1+ miles of Auxiliary lane at the 520/405NB interchange you now forced those incoming cars to merge sooner and more rapidly causing a huge bottle neck where there was never one before. This starts at 2:30PM! The result is free flowing afternoon GP lanes north of 70th at the expense of any drivers coming from 520 or 405 in Bellevue. I now take side roads around the 520/405 interchange and get on at 70th to avoid the mess.

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Thanks @QuitComplaining and @Woodinville, appreciate the feedback and glad to hear you're enjoying the lanes!

@Helena, I promise these aren't planted comments. We're glad to hear folks are experiencing an improved commute on I-405.

Cu Bong said...

This morning toll from Lynwood to Kirkland is $7.00 , it is SEVEN dollars.
WSDOT, would you please advise that why it is so expensive this morning. My daughter called me in the morning and cried because she can't afford to pay that much money for just travel 4 miles to UW Campus. Then she decided to not using ETLs and get to the campus 20' late.
She told me I bought a meal from McDonald less than $7.00 and gave it to a homeless man stand in the intersection, she said "instead of most of that money will go to Texas company, I would rather share it to you"
SEVEN DOLLARS for a trip of 5 miles...this morning
we are not an ATM , WSDOT ? what are you thinking to get a toll that high , are you thinking of the people like us , living pay check to pay check, thinking of those students like my daughter, need to get to work parttime for school and get pay only $9.50 per hour?

AsepD said...

I have seen the southbound rate from Woodinville to 520 go anywhere between 2 dollars and 6 dollars during the workday rush. I am not sure where WSDOT is getting these skewed statistics, or where the commentators above are seeing mere '.75' cent tolls for the stretch, but I would assume they are from the same place: Lies, propaganda and willful delusion. There has been nothing resulting from this experiment but increases in congestion, dangerous situations, and delayed travel times most acutely felt by those who can't afford to drive in 'special' lanes. I will admit to a bit of glee as I watch the ETL's themselves get clogged and congested on a regular basis, a-times slower than the general purpose lanes. I hope someone other than the propaganda machine at WSDOT is paying attention to what regular people are experiencing and suffering.

WoodinvilleCommuter said...

What time of day have you seen such high prices? I've driven 522 south to Bellevue in the toll lanes every weekday since they opened (6 weeks). Twice was $4.50, 2-3 times $1.50. Every other time it was .75. So almost always .75. It's hard to figure out why people are complaining about that. I've travelled between 7:30 and 8:30 am.

Cu Bong said...

@WoodinvillCommunter.
Hey, Don't laugh and selfish at those drivers who are suffering the ETLs, ok ? how dare you ? you are lucky when just travel in the stretch of 5 lanes, if you know how people are suffering, then try travel through Lynwood -- Bellevue at both direction during peak hours, jus try it and you will see the "true benefit" of ETLs
I am not opposing ETLs but not really satisfied they ways WSDOT studied and executed this project. WSDOT now admitted that the messy from SR-522 to Lynwood in both direction is now a nightmare ! they could have been predicted , because of their lack of experiences and bureaucracy . now they told us wait 6months to year to adjust, well....how many years this project has dragged down to today. they used 155M for this project but NONE to used widen this stretch to make ETLs work properly. $7.00 toll was yesterday. it is way to unacceptable, if they wanted more drivers get in toll lanes, they must have a reasonable price

WSDOT said...

WoodinvilleCommuter, thanks for sharing your experience. We have seen higher toll rates north of SR 522.

WSDOT said...

Cu Bong, part of how ETLs work is that the price increases when there are more vehicles in the lanes to discourage even more people from entering the lanes and slowing traffic even more. The goal is to get the right amount of vehicles in the lanes, not the most possible.

Jeff Gray said...

First off, driving people from the ETLs into the GPs does nothing for the 99%
Unbelievably, you still don't think this is class warfare,
Can you explain how it isn't?
Knowledge is power, and people are getting educated real quick.

You say , wait six to twelve months?
Our eyes see that this is broken out of the gate.
Unmitigated disaster is how this has been described, and I agree.

WSDOT said...

Jeff – Thanks for your feedback. We say 6-12 months because it is a huge adjustment for drivers. We understand that there is a learning curve associated with the new system, but we are confident that express toll lanes are a traffic management tool that will be successful in the long-term.

Express toll lanes are a dynamic tolling system, meaning that tolls adjust based on real-time traffic demand and congestion. The result is improved speeds for all lanes – even GP lanes. The purpose is not to maximize revenue, but to give drivers improved travel times at price points that maximize the efficiency of the lanes.

Helena said...

The dirty little secret Is that the goal of WSDOT is to get the general purpose lanes so congested that people will be forced into the extortion toll lanes.

Nancy said...

I want to also reiterate what @Asepd said. These figures do not take into account the long wait on 520 to get onto 405. I have done that twice at 2 pm, and both times it took me 20 minutes from the time I was stopped to a crawl on 520 until I was able to merge into a lane on 405... From there, I had to nose my way over to the express lanes where the cost was .75. I have driven this route twice a week at this time for over a year, and I have to allow an extra 15 minutes, even using the toll lanes now.

I also have a question. Since I am going from 520 to 128th street exit in north Kirkland, I pass two signs and entrances to/from the toll lanes. Do I pay a new toll amount for each segment?

WSDOT said...

@Michael, I’m sorry to hear about your frustrations with the commute from SR 520 to northbound I-405. You are correct that there is no longer a merge and weave lane on northbound I-405 from SR 520, and because of that, we’re seeing a new choke point emerge. To give you some background about why those changes were made, the I-405 Express Toll Lane design was developed to create the most efficient use of the available pavement area. In order to do that, the lane added by the I-405 Express Toll Lanes project was created by spot widening specific areas or re-striping the existing pavement. But as you’ve observed, a new choke point has arisen and we’re taking steps to address this problem with short-term and long-term strategies. As of now, we’re monitoring that area. As our recent blog post explains, we need to make changes incrementally to ensure we understand the effect of individual changes. If we make too many changes at once and one change didn’t work, it would be hard to determine which change created the challenge and therefore how to fix it. In terms of long-term solutions, the I-405 Master Plan envisions adding three HOV direct connector ramps at the SR 520/I-405 interchange, as well as adding an additional auxiliary lane to reduce congestion at the area you are concerned about. Unfortunately, these projects are currently unfunded. In the meantime, I apologize for the inconvenience this new configuration has caused you.

WSDOT said...

Nancy – thanks for sharing your feedback with us. Our project team is looking at specific access points around 520 and 522 to identify where improvements could be made. In response to your question, you’ll only pay one toll per trip in the express toll lanes. Even if you pass multiple signs with different rates, the rate you see when you enter the lanes is the rate you will pay.

Cu Bong said...

In order to report those crossed in-out double white-lines and cheating on flex pass. Do you have a website or phone number so we can report it
thanks

WSDOT said...

Washington State Patrol is in charge of monitoring the double white lines. Thanks for sharing your concern.

Frequent driver said...

All aside, every time I go that direction I sit in traffic no matter what time of day, and the new carpool lanes are wide open and have very little use.

Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle said...

Everytime I call the customer service center I am on hold for over an hour and they tell me to fax in my docs since they can't take the time over the phone to go over dozens of tolling errors. The account still has not been corrected and I have used the "click to call" button on the contact page twice in the last three days and have yet to get a call back. I need to speak to someone who can fix the accounting issues with the flex passes that don't record. These passes seem to have about a 20% failure rate in recording.

Finn Hill Commuter said...

The tolls lanes have had a postiive impact on my commute, but I'm a bit frustrated that there is a difference in toll rates between NB exiting on NE 124th ST vs NE 128th ST. I have not noticed any difference in volume of traffic in the toll lanes between the exits, but sometimes it's many dollars more to go 300 yards to exit at 128th. Exiting at 124th requires merging across all lanes of traffic and it seems unnecessary when considering the proximity of the 2 exits, the general flow in the toll lanes through that space, and the fact that NE 128th ST exit is on the toll side. This is a safety concern (forced merging), puts unnecessary burden on the folks that are not in the tolls lanes and it gouges the ones that do take the toll lanes. It makes no sense and you should condider fixing it.

Tin said...

How about doing some analysis on how traffic on I-520 going West Bound has gotten much, much worse as a result of the changes to I-405. In the afternoons, the ramp to I-405 is a parking lot, slowing down all of 520. That's a majority of your Microsoft going home traffic folks. It's brutal!

Light Feather said...

Hi WSDOT,
By claiming commute time is improved with ETL by comparing the same time period traffic with 2014, have you realized the congestion time is actually expanded and shifted with ETL. I usually take off around 7pm from Redmond to Bothell. I used to get a clear drive on 405 at that time. With new ETL, I always get stuck on 405, even at a later time close to 8pm. Especially around 520 to 405 SB intersection, congestion is much much worse than before. Also 405 north side used to be clear over weekend all time, now I experience consistent congestion around Bellevue even at weekend. Without considering this pattern changes, this study is pointless, but a tool to fool people.

The double solid lines from downtown Bellevue to 405 Exit 16 is the most idiotic design. People can't get into ETL even they want. Thank you make the worst congestion point even worse.

WSDOT said...

Light Feather – We are looking into how accessibility of the lanes plays a role in these shifts in congestion. One major area we are looking into is around SR 527. If you can provide us with specific travel information, we are happy to look into where the issue might be.

John Reynolds said...

As a Kirkland resident I am very pleased with the addition of the express toll lanes. The existing HOV lane were falling short on capacity and the additional lane has made a huge difference on travel times for carpools and on the bus. I also like having the ability to use the lanes when I am not carpooling.

One of the big improvements over the previous HOV configuration is the division of the lanes from the mainline with the double white lines. The engineered merge areas do a lot to maintain speeds and allow for safe merging.

I know WSP is trying their best to enforce the double white lines, but they cannot be everywhere at once. **WSDOT really needs to install plastic traffic delineator posts along the entire ETL segment to add a physical barrier to prevent the dangerous lane changes across the double white lines. If nothing is done to physically separate the Express Lanes it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed by an idiot cutting the double white lines.

WSDOT said...

Tin – Sorry about that. We have noticed some shifts in congestion points and are looking into where adjustments can and should be made. Thank you for your feedback!

WSDOT said...

John Reynolds, we appreciate your positive comments. We will look into reinforcing the double white lines and see what we can do to improve safety along the corridor.

SC said...

Couldnt agree more. Or at least wsdot should admit that this initiative started for revenue generating putpose, not to improve traffic condition

FlawedPhotos said...

WSDOT, where can we get the raw data used in the graphs you posted?

Eric S Johnson said...

By your graphs most stretches of the road have seen excess travel times reduced substantially, sometimes in half, by constructing the extra traffic lane and striping two lanes of the resulting lanes as carpool/toll lanes. This is wonderfull! But the carpool/toll lanes are usually only half-full, wasting much of their capacity. Think how much further we could reduce congestion by just making all the lanes general purpose lanes. We might make it all the way to free-flowing traffic most of the day! This means even the carpoolers wouldn't be inconvenienced! The only downside is WSDOT wouldn't get to keep collecting all those tolls. Oh well...

michigan driver said...

Just drove Southbound on I-5 then I-405 to 160th street exit in the rain and dark. I was trying to determine where I would have to exit the Toll Lanes to get to my exit and noticed that in the dark and rain, the double white lines are nearly invisible, and the reflectors are difficult to tell the difference between the double white and the normal lane markers! More reflectors need to be added or something!
Also, the exit spot from the toll lanes is way too far north of the 160th street exit to be of any value at all.
An aside, timeliness of public transport is a much smaller factor in my not using it than is the huge lack of parking in the park and ride lots and the total lack of a bus route on 100 Ave NE, north of 132nd Street up to 522.

michigan driver said...

Just drove Southbound on I-5 then I-405 to 160th street exit in the rain and dark. I was trying to determine where I would have to exit the Toll Lanes to get to my exit and noticed that in the dark and rain, the double white lines are nearly invisible, and the reflectors are difficult to tell the difference between the double white and the normal lane markers! More reflectors need to be added or something!
Also, the exit spot from the toll lanes is way too far north of the 160th street exit to be of any value at all.
An aside, timeliness of public transport is a much smaller factor in my not using it than is the huge lack of parking in the park and ride lots and the total lack of a bus route on 100 Ave NE, north of 132nd Street up to 522.

WSDOT said...

Eric – While it may seem as if adding general purpose lanes would reduce congestion, it is simply not an effective solution. WSDOT is tasked with meeting high demand of the roadways in Washington state, which is only growing with the population of the Puget Sound. Express toll lanes are a more sustainable, long term solution to these congestion issues our region faces.

Tracy Davis said...

Last year I drove in the HOV lane with 2 people in my car. This year 2 people is not a carpool so I drive in a GP lane. My commute in the morning is about 15 to 20 minutes longer from 527 to 520. The toll/hov lanes are wide open, even with a lot of single occupant vehicles that were unable to use those lanes in the past. So by having the toll lanes, 2+ carpools have been traded out for single occupant vehicles. Getting a 3 person carpool together is extremely difficult. So all those people who are able to get 2 person carpools together are penalized by either spending more time on the road or paying a toll plus the cost of the carpool tag. Shouldn't we be encouraging less cars on the road?

When I drive from 520 WB to 405 NB starting at 4pm my commute is about an hour and a half. Most of this is spent getting from 520 onto 405. I now take side streets in the afternoon to make my drive about 50 - 60 minutes. Last year I could pretty much guarantee a 45 minute drive north. The toll lane doesn't help with driving time because I can't reasonably get from 520 onto 405 and then weave across to the toll lane. And on the north side I would have to get out of the toll lane way to early before the Beardslee Blvd exit to make it useful. Can you at least put a toll lane exit between the 522 exit and the Beardslee exit on NB 405?

Tracy Davis said...

Do you have statistics for the travel times in last year's HOV lane vs. this year's GP lanes?

WSDOT said...

Michigan driver, we appreciate the feedback. We will look into reinforcement of the double white lines and reflectors. Since November, we've already made some vital improvements to ETL striping to assist in improved access and reduction of driver confusion.

WSDOT said...

SC, the revenue generated from the ETLs is going back into the corridor for future improvements, all a part of our Master Plan. You can read more about it here: www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/I405.

WSDOT said...

FlawedPhotos – The data is up on our website. Check it out here: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/trafficdata.

Tracy Davis said...

The data I can find on the website is an average for all lanes. Do you have data specifically for pre-toll HOV lanes only separate from the GP lane data?

Murthy said...

As a driver who uses 405 during weekends starting at 520 and travelling north and south, the traffic has now become horrendous during all the times.

If DOT is trying to prove that this path is legit with data, then the data becomes suspect and becomes questionable as people like me see a CLEAR difference in our weekly lives before and after this introduction. If you want to continue down this path and want tax-payer support, you have to get independent data from Google (or Waze) or other source that is generally trusted.

And I'm not interested in that, truly.

I would rather that you solve the congestion problem NOW, innovate as necessary or invite smarter people (than me) to come up with creative and innovative solutions.
This cannot continue - if you see people inconveniencing themselves and driving longer distances to get around the congestion, I don't know how it is helping.

- a person who commutes by vanpool and/or bus EVERY weekday.

WSDOT said...

Murthy, I apologize your weekend commute has worsened. We have noticed that weekend travel times have increased also and encourage you to check out our blog post on the topic: wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/i-405-express-toll-lanes-6-week-review.

Our traffic engineers and project team are actively monitoring the system to understand how drivers are using the lanes and where improvements can be made. Thank you for your comments. We do appreciate your feedback. In the meantime, you can also check out our raw data that is available to view on WSDOT’s website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/trafficdata.

WSDOT said...

Tracy, here you can find information on our 2009 Eastside Corridor Tolling study, which should have the answers you are looking for. If not, feel free to email us with your specific request.

stop405tolls.org said...

The graphs do not represent actual measurements of drive times. WSDOT has not conducted drive tests in traffic to compute this data. The reality as described repeatedly by thousands of drivers who actually drive the highway, is that it is failing. Furthermore, any improvements in drive times for the general purpose lanes is only the result of people taking side roads and making them more congested.

Thinking that charging a toll will increase capacity or decrease demand is just smoke and mirrors. Let me pose this question to WSDOT:

What percentage of drivers in the ETL are 3+ carpools and have their FlexPass set to HOV?
What percentage of drivers in the ETL are paying the toll?

stop405tolls.org said...

It's been a week and no response. WSDOT, do you have any idea about the demographics of the usage of your toll lanes?

And exactly how does applying a fee change people's need to drive the road (reduce demand)? or how does it increase capacity? Please enlighten us on this magical wonder.

WSDOT said...

Understandable, @FinnHillCommuter. We realize that the difference between 124th and 128th Street exits seems quite small. However, typically traffic is heavier around the 128th Street exit than at the exit for 116th and 124th, which could account for some of the price difference. The tolls are set and designed to manage traffic in the lanes, which is why you’d see such a difference in price between those two points.

WSDOT said...

stop405tolls.org: For peak periods on weekdays for 11/30/15 – 12/4/15,

For southbound trips on I-405 during the 5–9 a.m. peak period, there were approximately 15 percent declared as HOV.
For northbound trips on I-405 during the 3–7 p.m. peak period, there were approximately 16 percent declared as HOV.

Over a full day in November (not just peak periods), about 75 percent of all users during weekdays and about half of all weekend trips are paying tolls.

We will conduct vehicle occupancy counts this spring to determine the actual number of occupants in vehicles, when there are more daylight hours.

According to the USDOT website, "Introducing congestion pricing on highway facilities discourages overuse during rush hours by motivating people to travel by other modes such as carpools or transit, or by traveling at other times of the day."

Thatcher Kelley said...

So these stats say that commute times are faster. Sure this makes sense because there is an added lane. However if there was an added GP lane instead of toll lane these commute times would be greatly improved. In fact I believe that all lanes should be GP lanes. Nation-wide as well as regional studies have shown that carpool lanes don't in fact reduce the amount of vehicles on the road. It does little to encourage legitimate carpools. There is already incentive enough for commuters to carpool (at least the ones that would actually carpool). I live in Seatac and travel north to Belevue regularly. Often times the carpool lane just sits almost empty except for the occasional single commuter and cop pulling them over. Meanwhile the other two lanes are backed up for miles. It's the same story with the toll lanes. The fewer cars in the toll lanes the slower the GP commute is. This is logic. So it comes down to a class thing. You have the discressionary funds to shorten your commute? Great, well slow everyone else down to give you a better commute.

WSDOT said...

Actually, Thacker, we didn’t take a lane away. We added one between Bellevue and Woodinville. We do appreciate your feedback, and general purpose lanes are a great short-term solution. Unfortunately, Washington state needs a long-term solution, especially along one of the most congested corridors in the state. General purpose lanes will only fill up over time, bringing us right back to where we started. Instead, ETLs are a traffic management tool that allows us to move higher volumes of vehicles at faster speeds than the previous HOV lanes were able to provide.

stop405tolls.org said...

Actually WSDOT, you did take a way the 4th GPL in several places where there was one. And before you say that was an auxiliary lane or a merge or weave lane, look at your own document, the 2005 EA, where you explicitly refer to them as a 4th GPL and the reason you didn't need to add another lane in those sections.

Yes, as we grow, we will need more and more resources. That is not an excuse to give up on expanding the resources and exactly why you should not be creating lanes that discourage carpooling.

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