Thursday, April 21, 2016

#405 ETL By the Numbers: Six months of operations

By Kate Elliott

It's been more than six months since we opened the I-405 express toll lanes, and we have some new information to share. While we've always said it will take up to a year for traffic to adjust, here's what we've seen after six months and how express toll lanes are measuring up so far:

Providing a reliable trip: Speeds at 45 mph or faster 90 percent of the time during peak periods
  • 92 percent of the peak period traffic (3-7 p.m.) that sees speeds in the northbound express toll lanes at 45 mph or faster. This is compared to 44 percent for 2015 before express toll lanes opened.
  • 90 percent: of the peak period traffic (5-9 a.m.) that sees speeds in the southbound express toll lanes at 45 mph or faster. This is compared to 78 percent for 2015 before the express toll lanes opened.


Daily trips
  • 34,000: Average weekday number of tolled trips in the express toll lanes.
  • 14,000: Average weekday HOV trips, representing 29 percent of all trips in the express toll lanes.


Transit benefits
  • 10 percent: Increase in King County Metro ridership on I-405 routes.

Moving more vehicles
  • Express toll lanes are now moving more vehicles throughout the entire corridor than the previous HOV lanes were last year.
  • 40 percent: More vehicles in the northbound express toll lanes near SR 522 are moving during the peak hour than the same time last year.

What drivers are paying
  • 84 percent of drivers continue to pay $4 or less per toll.
  • 78 percent of weekday express toll lane users have a Good To Go! pass.

Local streets
  • 30: Locations on arterial routes parallel to I-405 that WSDOT has been monitoring for increased volumes and travel times. Interim data collected in February 2016 showed very similar trends compared to before tolling. Most agencies have reported no noticeable local changes.

While the numbers are encouraging, we know that some drivers have been impacted negatively. There are drivers whose trips, especially between SR 522 and SR 527, have seen slower speeds since express toll lanes opened. We are working to expedite several adjustments, especially those to the northern section of the corridor, so that travelers will see improvement as soon as possible. This includes adding capacity through hard shoulder running.

Since opening the express toll lanes, we've made some system adjustments to improve trips on I-405 in the express toll lanes and the general purpose lanes (full list).

Recent improvements include:
  • Changing the express toll lanes hours of operation from 24/7 to Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Since changing the hours of operation we've seen less congestion on the weekends.
  • At the SR 520 interchange, lengthened access point and changed from weave lane to skip stripe to provide more open access to the express toll lanes. This lessened general purpose lane congestion in the SR 520 interchange area during afternoon commutes and weekends.
  • Last weekend, crews completed work at NE 160th Street, which included:
    • NB I-405 added additional signage to clarify the access point to provide drivers more time to exit to SR 522.
    • SB I-405 lengthened the access point to allow drivers to enter the express toll lane sooner.

What's next?
Our next quarterly financial report is due out next month. We'll also be out on the road making additional adjustments northbound at NE 85th Street. We will continue reporting out on express toll lanes performance, and we always welcome your feedback.

40 comments:

ARMF said...

My wife's afternoon commute home with (2) kids in the car is now 10 minutes longer. Why? Southbound I-405 at Bellevue from HWY-520 you are stuck in "General Purpose" bumper-to-bumper traffic because you're not supposed to enter the carpool/ETL until past NE6th (double white lines) even if its safe to enter those lanes. It's the last leg of the current ETL and seems to be neglected until the extension of the ETL is built. A skip strip would be more appropriate for this leg of the ETL.

Also, where are you getting your measurements from (i.e. commuter polls, computer, timers, traffic counters,....)? I might have missed the part of the blog post that mentioned it.

Helena said...

These toll lanes are the biggest mistake in transportation history!! We will all be better off if the extortion lanes were suspended ASAP! The new and improved configuration would be 4 general purpose lanes and 1 HOV lane. We the people are still working to this day on getting rid of them and preventing WSDOT from adding extortion lanes on the southern part of I405. We will never stop fighting and we will win. We will also be getting rid of all politicians who support them starting with Judy Clibborn who cares more about the kick backs to the Texas company rather than her constituents who are against the extortion lanes and suffer everyday. We will prevail!! Real lanes for real people, the momentum continues!

WSDOT said...

@ARMF – Thanks for sharing your observations. We will certainly take your comments into consideration as we continue to make adjustments to the corridor. I-405 Volume and Travel Time data are calculated based on loop sensors in the roadway that are in every travel lane throughout the corridor.

Jeff Gray said...

I sometimes really wonder how you can do this with a straight face. The 520 interchange is still a complete disaster....each and every day, the 520 ramp to 405 N is backed up, on average, at least a mile. What used to take 30 seconds, merging onto to 405 N, now takes around 15 minutes. Also, the 160th area is actually worse now that your "improvements" have been put in place....as is basically everything north of 522. Still curious as to what the increased accident rate is since the Extortion lanes went live...my personal observation is that the entire stretch resembles a demolition derby. Also, when can we expect your explanation of yet another billing disaster as reported in the Seattle Times today?

This entire thing has been such an unmitigated disaster that words absolutely fail me. The negative impact on my quality of life I lay directly at the feet of W$DOT. Trust me, the wrath of the public is going to come out at election time and we are going to send Inslee, Clibborn, Liias and the rest of these shakedown artists packing.

In closing, I will never, EVER, vote for anything that gives the W$DOT one DIME while the Extortion Toll Lanes are in place.

Steve said...

@Helena -- that sounds like a lot of organizing. Have you thought of starting a carpool?

MP said...

My wife and I now have to pay for what we used to get for free unless we want to park in the GP lanes. Not sure where you guys get your numbers but GP is way more than 3 minutes slower from Bothell to I-5 now. Open the lane back up to 2 person carpools to help clear up GP and give us two person car poolers back our free option.

The Geezer said...

Take Helena's comments into consideration, too. Whatever that means, which I am not counting on much.

The Geezer has spaketh.

E said...

almost everyday this week, tolls have been $10. I suspect mostly to do with double white line jumpers. Why no hard barriers to stop this? Also, tolls to travel like distances are nearly 10x's in snohomish as they are in King county, when will that get resolved?

Vince R said...

@WSDOT - I again ask for clarity on how you are producing these numbers. My clock doesn't lie and it says your numbers are wrong. I wish it were only 2 minutes longer in one direction and that it was truly faster in the other directions as you say, but time and time again, I find myself in parking lots that take much longer than they did, before GTG was launched.

I am almost hoping that people band together and start a class-action lawsuit to:
1) Request accurate reporting on the impact of this project
2) Recoup the costs of this project on the people and businesses impacted
3) Get real change

The other side of me says, if such a lawsuit occurred, it would only hurt us even further by increasing our budget and you would do something even less popular like a 'per-mile-tax' for all vehicles in the state..... oh-wait you're already planning to do that.

Please please please figure out why your numbers do not seem to match the experience that people are regularly telling you is happening.... that their commute did not get better as you are reporting.... but rather they got worse.

I know you will only be successful if you show that the numbers got better so by-golly that is what your going to do, even if it isn't so, but understand that people will not forget that this project, and several others that you plan on doing, will not be truly successful until you really deliver what you promised.

Vince R said...

@helena you do realize that there are two states getting money from our ETLs.... Texas is only one of them.

Vince R said...

@WSDOT

I have no doubt that the pain created by GTG has moved more people to alternative travel methods.... like King County Metro... and side streets which again your statement claims isn't so....

"30: Locations on arterial routes parallel to I-405 that WSDOT has been monitoring for increased volumes and travel times. Interim data collected in February 2016 showed very similar trends compared to before tolling. Most agencies have reported no noticeable local changes."

As someone above stated, how can you actually print this and keep a straight face?

This is like the announcing the 520 grand opening when it is only 3/4ths done. Yes, we have completed the pontoons but the 'scheduled' work for the remainder of the bridge will continue through 2017. There is soooooo much political spin going on to try and claim success with GTG that you are ignoring the fact that our clocks tell us daily this is not a success.

You make claims like "equivalent to 1 in 10 vehicles in Washington State" and that 48,000 daily trips are faster.... (out of 500,000 daily trips btw)... and we cannot trust the numbers that you post...

Personally, I have a trust issue with almost every number you have posted on this update. Why? Because it isn't even close to what I have experienced. From what others are saying, it isn't what they are experiencing either.

You have never answered the simple question I asked on the quarterly fiscal report on why there was a discrepancy and if the accounting was done prior or post expenses to the companies in the other states.

For example, from the data you have posted here, I expect the expenses to be no less than $3,825,000 for toll processing. I have not seen the numbers yet, but the last time I checked your stats against the fiscal reports, they didn't match.

I understand your role is to create a 'success story' no matter what, but at some point you need to have some ethics and WSDOT is, as part of GTG, legally required to produce accurate and auditable reports. I will definitely be pressing my representatives to review those reports with a fine toothed comb because if they are as misleading as these states, someone should loss their job.

Vince R said...

@Helena - You should go back and review the breakdown on expenses... We are not just sending money out of our state to Texas. We are also sending a good chunk of change to another state.

I don't agree with everything you say, but I do agree with you that creating contracts to manage our highways with companies that are outside of our state is a really bad idea... here is why:

1. Our state has rules that differ from other states in terms of privacy. I would expect our state agencies to respect those laws and not give, and in this case mandate, that our information be sent to someplace outside the realms of the laws our state citizens have supported.

2. I believe that allowing ANY state funds that people must pay to be sent to other states is one notch below criminal. In my eyes... that is a small notch. Whats to stop them from outsourcing it to another country? Hell, I am sure China would take the job for almost nothing just to get their hands on our infrastructure...

3. As WSDOT expands their tolling lust, you can bet that more and more of the cash that our people work hard to make, and then must pay just to get to work, will end up in the hands of people that have no stake in the game... it smacks of payola, bribes and corruption. This has already been proven to be true in other states that acted in a similar way.

We have a hard challenge ahead of us in maintaining the public infrastructures. We need to put every single dollar that people pay to good use. It irks me to no end that WSDOT is not using those dollars to develop their own system but instead has chosen to create cash cows for private companies that will profit greatly at our expense.

When you combine all of that with the type of questionable reporting, like that in this blog entry, it makes me highly suspicious of which public official is getting the bribes to make this happen, and how far up the chain it goes.

Vince R said...

@E - Are you saying that people cheating and crossing the double white lines is the reason that the fee is $10?

Even more... (I know... hard to believe right)... but the WSDOT stats on this page show that:

"84 percent of drivers continue to pay $4 or less per toll."

I am just envisioning a dark back room where some drug dealer says something like:
"Oh man you should try it... its just $4 bucks a trip (for now) and you will be speeding on your way"

Then a week later the story is:
"Well.. the supply and demand has changed man... you know how it is... you need $10 to take that trip now... but man its worth it... smoooooth... I heard Joe couldn't do it and he have a bad trip... you don't want to lose your job the same way he did... its rough out there... just $10 will make your problems go away."

Humourous... but not really... this is what is playing out in our new approach to traffic management.... GTG... the travelers drug of choice... speed


AsepD said...

There is no scenario I can envision in which these numbers are actual an accurate representation of the aftermath of the ETL debacle. And while I am admittedly predisposed to be skeptical of WSDOT's reporting, the facts and figures here are beyond deceitful, manipulative and corrupt. It seems obvious that WSDOT will slant facts and figures to suit their narrative of the ETL being a success, when all other reports, studies and personal accounts give the exact opposite description. This has made congestion and traffic issues for this corridor exponentially worse than it was initially, and to state otherwise is blatant lying. At this point I am ashamed to say I expect nothing better.

WSDOT said...

@MP Raising the occupancy requirements has been one of the biggest changes for drivers on I-405. Population growth in our region has caused the HOV lanes to no longer be fast or reliable. More specifically, they are not meeting the 45 mph 90% of the peak hour performance standard as required at both the federal and state levels. That’s why the Washington State Transportation Commission raised the carpool requirement in the I-405 ETLs to 3+ during peak periods. This allow us to bring back the speed and reliability that was intended for transit, vanpools and carpools at a 3+ designation, for the first time in 5 years. But at the same time, 2+ vehicles during weekday peak periods must now chose to use the GP lanes for free or the ETLs for a toll. We realize this hasn’t been an easy change - if you haven’t already, carpools can request a free Flex Pass through RideShareOnline.com.

WSDOT said...

@AsepD The travel time changes depicted in the blog post reflect GP lanes average weekday travel times during the peak periods of 5-9am Southbound and 3-7pm Northbound over the months of January – March 2016 compared to January – March 2015. The travel times are calculated using data from WSDOT roadway loops along the corridor, and a consistent methodology is used to compare before and after data. WSDOT typically compares traffic data over equivalent times of the year rather than between different times of the year (such as comparing summer and winter months) as background traffic patterns tend to shift seasonally making trend comparisons less reliable. A more detailed post about travel data by segment will be release in the coming weeks.

The Geezer said...

Yeah, how about releasing your methodology, so us non believers, who have two eyes to observe may validate your hyper-thyroid "it is better, dammit" spin.

The geezer has spaketh.

WSDOT said...

@E, Drivers may still be hopping the double white line, but not enough to cause the high levels of traffic we saw last week. The toll rates are based on speeds and traffic volumes in the express toll lanes, and take into account volumes in the general purpose lanes. Since it’s staying lighter out later, we’ve seen more vehicles out on the road for greater periods of time.

We haven’t laid permanent barriers because we’re still adjusting the temporary striping according to traffic patterns. The tolls in the Bothell to Lynwood section are typically higher because of the limited capacity through that section. We’re working on improvements in the northern section to improve traffic flow and ease pressure on that section of the corridor: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/improvements.htm

Vince R said...

@WSDOT - "Population growth in our region has caused the HOV lanes to no longer be fast or reliable. More specifically, they are not meeting the 45 mph 90% of the peak hour performance standard as required at both the federal and state levels. That’s why the Washington State Transportation Commission raised the carpool requirement in the I-405 ETLs to 3+ during peak periods"

Here are some thoughts:

1. Fixing the Renton S Curves and changing the exit to 167 create a great sample point for how improving flow through better design can work.... why was that not the approach used, but rather ETLs?

2. Why not just add HOV capacity? Moving from 1 lane to 2 lanes has helps the area on I-5 South of 405...

3. And where is that light rail we keep hearing about...

4. Promoting geographical diversity in our businesses, instead of higher density, would distribute the traffic... work with city and county planners to do something like maybe.... spread future sports arenas a little more apart than say... 1 mile... getting businesses to spread out a little bit... not build buildings right to the edges of arterial roads so there is a place for buses and trains in the future (thanks all those developers along Mercer Street for over constraining our traffic and causing daily commuting nightmares)...

5. Fix the known issues that cause daily traffic flow issues. You know where they are.


And there is something wrong with your methodology for reporting traffic flow. In all seriousness, there is no way this can represent reality. All it is doing is hurting your credibility with those people that ultimately effect your future plans. Simple logic says that if your hitting $10, your numbers cannot be right... because the only way you can legally raise it to $10 is if traffic is slow... so again, please don't P**** on me and tell me its raining.

Vince R said...

@WSDOT - let me see if I got this straight...

"14. NB I-405 between SR 520 and NE 70th Pl. - Add northbound auxiliary lane between SR 520 and NE 70th Pl.

Timeline: Environmental document needed, 1-3 years open to traffic after funding approved. This timeline depends upon environmental impacts.
Cost: $15 million depending on existing constraints."

Your telling me that you took away the auxiliary lane that was built with the Kirkland Nickle tax, that you knew was needed to address traffic flow at 520/405, and that took quite a long time to build, and now your selling us a project to build another lane for the exact same problem in the exact same place... holy freaken holy... someone has some huge brass ones...

So we are going to pay for that AGAIN AND have to wait.... all because GTG created a traffic flow issue....

Here is a better idea.... how about you roll back GTG until you properly address the 405/520 interchange and put it back to what we paid for already.

Vince R said...

@WSDOT - so I have read about the proposed changes on the link you gave:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/improvements.htm

Based on the type of work that will be needed on 405 north of 522, and comparing that to other projects of a similar size.... I expect you will be proposing something close to 1.6 billion dollars. This is to address issues with the 500 million dollar GTG project that has failed to deliver the relief needed in the areas identified in the future plans.

So If I read that right, after many more years of waiting, our final bill for GTG (north of I-90) will be something in the neighborhood of $2 billion dollars.

I hope that people realize this is not a success. Its a 400% increase in the costs over what was promised. Yet another BIG miss.

Helena said...

Let's hope Bill Bryant gets elected governor and I am sure Judy Clibborn is going to be voted out. People are so angry about the extortion lanes on I405 I think this will become a reality. Either way the extortion lanes will become a distant memory and we will start seeing real solutions to traffic congestion again.

Cu Bong said...

WSDOT
-Why is NO IMPROVEMENT seen at SB-405, SR520 exit/entry point? big waste space weave lane is still there? we need this area to redesign and fix ASAP , it make no sense when seeing the width of 2 ETLs + weave lane are wider 3 GPLs, This is creating a bottleneck , we need to get rid of weave lane and convert it to auxiliary lane to exit SR-520
-what will the data and number look like if we STOP all ETLs , and test with the idea of one HOV and 4 GPLs. Without "false designed" exit/entry points but adding one more lane like current now, I bet you...traffic must better and travel time would be shorter in both direction.
-May we know blog writer's official job title ?
-All of these very thoughtful comments will actually be heard by high ranking WSDOT's official

Vince R said...

Just a little math from the stats above:

Total reported HOV trips each day: 14,000
Percentage of ETL traffic HOV comprises: 29%

With these numbers, you can see the avg ETL traffic is: 14000/.29 = 48276

48276 (daily trips) - 14000 (commuters) - 34000 (paid trips) = 275 uses of the system for mass transit or .05 of a percentage

Percentage of vehicles using the ETL (mass transit/commuters) = 14000 / 500000 = 2.8%
Percentage of low occupancy vehicles using the ETL = 34000 / 500000 = 6.8%
Folks that are sacrificing their time, money, gas, vehicle wear and tear, safety and have to ride in the GPLs = 90.4%


A few more interesting observations:
(carpools) is 42,000 people a day,
(transit) is 7,800 people a day,
(vanpool) is 3,300 people a day
for a total of 53,100 people a day

Paying (low occupancy vehicles) = 34,000 a day or 40% of the people... but take 2.4 times more vehicles in the ETL. And we have created a system that promote this at the expense of free 2 car carpoolers, which is a lower number than 34,000 cars from the data posted by WSDOT before.

By these numbers, we could kick the paying people out of the ETLs and put them back to HOV lanes and we would be golden....

Just using those "By the numbers" stats to say "what if". So if we really wanted to get things back to normal, we would use those ETLs for HOVs, take out the weaving lanes, get rid of all of this silly infrastructure that sends our citizens hard earned cash out of state... and get back to normal.

Oh wait, that derails the tolling plans and getting RFIDs into cars so we can move towards a per-mile toll on-top of the other tolls we will collect...

I wonder who will be lining their pockets from that venture.

(sure sure... its not about the money... its about improving 'congestion' er.. traffic flow)


Vince R said...

@WSDOT - so I would really like to know the methodology by which you can say our commuters traffic is moving faster or slower.

Thought one:

You tracked vehicles moving through the highway before and after so you know the actual impact on specific vehicles moving through our systems... thus you have empirical by which you can gauge the true impact on vehicles moving on our roads. (scary but totally possible... those cameras aren't just looking for traffic issues you know... Seattle was actually tracking people via cell phones as they moved through the city to help 'manage traffic flow' and account for people on buses

Thought two:

You track traffic flow by sampling vehicle speeds at observation points and estimate the impact. This gives some idea on how traffic is moving in the system, but doesn't really account for actual impact. This approach is open to thinking you know the impact by estimating it from micro observations. It traffic at point 'A' is moving at speed 'X' and later we see it moving at speed 'X+1' the system must be better right? Not really.

Thought three:

Your just making it up. Someone has some guestimate that makes it look better so lets publish that.

So without knowing how the heck you are coming up with faster travel times, I have to think it is number three.

I can say, without any doubts, that travel times on the weekends have improved since GTG became free. It was like a switch was thrown and magically traffic was better. There is still this weaving issue, but it did improve.

And no noticeable impact on the side streets? There is no way that is true. Take a ride on Lake City way now and tell me it didn't get much worse. Look at Avondale ... 148th... oh thats right, not your problem...

Vince R said...

Here is a post... oh... from this blog... for a much smaller piece of road... the viaduct:

http://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/99closure-prep-analyzing-traffic.html

"Measuring traffic on the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct isn't as simple as you might think. Traffic volumes vary along the structure. For example, more vehicles drive the section south of downtown than the section near the Battery Street Tunnel."
...
"There's only so much you can do to predict how travelers will react when one of the two main north-south highways through the city shuts down."

So how is it that a very small section of road is a challenge while a much bigger and dynamic section is not?

There are three kinds of lies... lies, dang lies, and WSDOT statistics....


WSDOT said...

Cu Bong, thank you for sharing your suggestions. We already know what the I-405 corridor looks like without express toll lanes - the lanes failed to meet state standards of speed and reliability 200 days out of the year and no one had a way out of traffic. The express toll lanes return reliability to the HOV lane and give other drivers a way out of traffic when they really need it. That said, we understand that improvements are still needed, and our project team is working diligently to make those necessary adjustments. Also, the blog post was written by a WSDOT communications consultant.

Jeff Gray said...

"We already know what the I-405 corridor looks like without express toll lanes"

Yeah, it didn't look like an ATM that you can use to extract cash from people based on a misery index.

Plainly stated, you poisoned you the well and we are supposed to be happy that you will sell us a $10 bottle of water.

Vince R said...

@jeff gray -

Its just the beginning.... have you read the master plan... 2017 is when the 'per-mile-toll' to drive begins to debut in the state. Thats right, you will get to pay no matter how sucky the drive is. And you will get to pay more if you want a less sucky drive.

The more I read, the less I trust. There are a lot of hard working folks that help keep our roads maintained and such, but the politics of this organization above the workers is horrific. In all seriousness, this is not the kind of stuff that normally happens without corruption somewhere in the mix.

I am hoping the people that we elect next will figure out where the train jumped the track and fix this mess.

Helena said...

WSDOT should be ashamed of it self for there lies and propaganda in regards to deseiving and lieing to the public. It seems that they will do anything or say anything to save there jobs rather than doing the right thing.

Helena said...

Everyone knows the general purpose lanes are much much worse than they were last year. WSDOT continues to lie and deceive the public in order to save there jobs and the extortion lanes.

J said...

Extortion Lane is an appropriate name. We are a Capitalist country and greatness found, achieved and continues to have great success in our Capitalist ways, unless you are a Bernie Sander socialist fan that doesn't know what Capitalism is and the history of Socialism. Traffic engineers have orchestrated a way around Capitalism and dictates a solution to our traffic ways through a greatly flawed socialistic approach.
1. Who pays for these roads? How safe are our roads? These should be our priorities.
2. Since win does commute time out weigh cost per person?
3. Why should privileged HOV commuters payless for our roads?
Do these HOV commuters have an abject advantage or disadvantage, should either even be considered?
4. A major problem that these very same engineers have caused is the constant traversing all commuters experience which cause danger to us all. The ingress and egress together with which side the HOV lanes are located, create the slow downs and collisions that are now famous with Traffic Engineers designs implemented.
5. When you have privilege lanes people will migrate to them and when one who is not qualified to be there, then road rage occurs.
6. When buses or anyone have to merge to there exits from these HOV lanes it causes considerable danger to trucks and other vehicles as well as significant slow downs. Bus drivers are driving as if they are entitled far too often and create road rage, slow downs and too many wrecks. Yes, I know Engineers are now building middle of the freeway ingress and egress for these HOV privilege vehicles but at what cost to us all?
7. Safety and cost should be priorities, not commute time or privilege.

Much more to be added but my ideas and venting will fall on deaf ears.

Good luck!
J


Vince R said...

@j - Unfortunately, too many people think that their thoughts are not important and fail to voice them.

The points you have raised, at least in my opinion, are the same concerns that many have also raised:
- ETL is a form of social injustice
- ETL is a safety concern
- ETL is funded by all but used by the privileged
- ETL reduces commute time for few, but increases it for most others
- ETL creates weaving traffic hot spots

As Jeff Grey stated above, "You have poisoned the well and then want to charge us $10 for water"... its pretty spot on from what I can see.

People need to continue to remember to let their representatives know what they think of this. The master plan calls for a lot more of this kind of change. If people become lemmings and do nothing, then they cannot complain when it happens.

We need to fix our roads... really fix them. Not fake fix them like the GTG project has done. WSDOT makes all kinds of interesting claims... like "The viaduct is very hard to measure the impact of when its closed for 2 weeks" (roughly 1.5 ish miles) and then claims to have great success of reducing our commute time on 405 (over 12+ ish miles)... a much bigger and more dynamic piece of road than the viaduct... WSDOT claims the commute times are now faster when I consistently find my travel times worse... with few exceptions. WSDOT claims that there is no measurable impact on surface roads in the area... again, not what I can see driving them.

Unfortunately, WSDOT keeps repeating these things as if that will make them true. It doesn't. I am hoping that my representatives will review the data and rip them a new one.... and show a few to the door with their belongings.

Michael said...

ETL lanes, GP Lanes, monetary issues, etc have all been brought up and I'm glad for all of the contributors who have stood their ground with their stories of GP lane issues which WSDOT continues to ignore but NO ONE that I could find has ever mentioned the absurdity of the poor paving job on the NB405 to EB522 On Ramp. It's so bouncy I have to stay in the LH lane until the last minute or I'm thrown all over the place. I noticed that some attempts where made to smooth it out by grinding away some of the taller lumps but it's still comparable to Mr Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. My Toddler Giggles from her car seat every time we go through that section. Please tell me someone at WSDOT also finds the workmanship unacceptable and is bringing the contractor back to fix the problem.

WSDOT said...

Michael, thanks for bringing that to our attention. We will notify the project team and see what we can do to fix the paving at that part of the corridor.

Vince R said...

While we are on that topic, we we crawled over the new floating part of the 520 bridge I have plenty of chance to glance at the paving. Is it normal for the cement to have that many cracks?

The entire east half of the bridge had tons of cracks and some kind of sealant applied to them. Since this is a new bridge that is supposed to last 50+ years, I was kind of hoping that the cement wouldn't already be showing signs of cracking. I mean we are still working on the west side of the bridge and the east side is already cracking.

Can someone explain this?

Helena said...

There was a meeting in Renton city hall last Monday. One of the topics discussed was the Problem of Freeway traffic on city streets avoiding I405. Many angry people showed up. We discussed the only way to fix the traffic problem was to fix I405 and the best and only way to do that would be to add the general purpose lanes we were originally promised in the master plan. We talked about the failure of the extortion toll lanes on the northern part of I405 which have been the biggest mistake in transportation history. I told the Renton council that if WSDOT added an extortion lane before the much needed general purpose lanes it would be a traffic catastrophe sending thousands of cars into our Kennydale neighborhood and Lake Washington Blvd. The neighborhood association has made stopping the extortion lanes from being added to the southern part of I405 as its top priority as it is the biggest threat to our neighborhood in resent memory. The extortion lanes need to be disbanded ASAP! In 2019 the new lane that we all paid for with our gas tax will be a general purpose lane not an extortion lane! Real Lanes For Real People! The momentum continues!!

J said...

Hi all,

It's chaos from the Federal level on down, Regional, City and local. There is turnover at all levels from the top down, the leadership has failed and will continue to fail until Congress and the President commit themselves to make this a high priority and mandate a solution and provide the money. There is little discipline and incentive in most government jobs, the employee knows it and there managers know it. The government is bankrupt financially, intellectually and politically. All our concerns and yapping are falling on deaf ears, this problem being voiced on the back pages will not reach the key people that need to get up off there butts and work. Work intelligently and work hard! Where is there incentive, where is there intellect, what is there responsibility and accountability, what is there motivation $15 an hour (the concept)how do you keep one accountable when you virtually cannot fire them, the concept does not motivate and it extends throughout each level in such organization/divisions that buy into the concept. There are books written on this, most people don't read them, many don't have time or take time to learn, is what it is. We are getting consumed by all this, we are eating our own. I could go on but I've got work to do. Good Luck!
J

Vince R said...

@wsdot - No comment on the cracked/cracking cement on the floating section of the 520 bridge? Nothing? I was kind of hoping for some kind of explanation like:

"its normal for pre-stressed concrete to crack while it cures"

or

"we noticed the cracks and had our engineers examine the cement to assure there was nothing wrong.. after which we sealed the cracks to prevent further damage from freezing and water"

or

"we are investigating the issue and will have an answer by __some date__"

but nothing .....

Vince R said...

two weeks... no comment on the cracks in the new floating bridge deck. Nice to know WSDOT follows through... not.