Friday, November 17, 2006

Puget sound traffic study: an incredible grasp of the obvious.

The question, however, is will this diminish the crackpot ideas which have suggested routing Seattle traffic through I405 to 'relieve' congestion? A new study "discovered" that the commute to Bellevue along I405 is "worse" than the I5 commute in Seattle. I'm so tickled by this discovery, I can't stand it, I have to quote myself from a September post:

[in response to a plan which wants to route Seattle drivers through I405]
Have these people ever been on 405? Why the hell should I have to drive all the way around lake Washington on a clogged, two lane freeway that’s perpetually jammed?
Yeah well, when you're right, you're right. So how does the state sum up the Bellevue commute?

In fact, the state Department of Transportation's report says, the two worst afternoon freeway commutes in the region both originate in Bellevue: the voyage south down Interstate 405 to Tukwila, and the haul west across Highway 520 to Seattle.
I have a very good friend who has his own personal quote about driving on 520: "If you're on 520, you're just wrong."

For those of you who don't live here, what he means by that is that 520 is SO bad and SO clogged 24/7, that the very act of getting on 520 is a bad idea. It's more efficient to drive 10 or 15 miles out of your way and take another bridge-- or just drive the hell around Lake Washington, than to even bother with 520.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I pile on thee:
Evening congestion on southbound 405 lasted an average of 5 hours, 35 minutes in 2005, longer than anywhere else.
That's right, 'evening congestion' lasting five effing hours. I was once accused of exaggerating when I declared that the only time I had ever been in a traffic jam at 2am was on... wait for it...I405. And this incident occurred somewhere in the neighborhood of ten or twelve years ago. It's only gotten worse since then, I can tell you.

On an interesting side note, the state considers a freeway congested when speeds drop below 40mph. Hah! 40mph! I would think that Bellevue commuters would thank the almighty if their speedometers could get anywhere near 40mph. Oh, while things may be better on my favorite whipping boy, the HOV lane, they're not much better:
High-occupancy-vehicle lanes carried a third of all freeway commuters at monitored locations in 2005, the report says. But it also says that six of the region's HOV lanes were so congested during evening peak hours that average speeds dropped below 45 mph.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, there are days on 405 where you reach 45mph and think "Damn, we're really moving now".
I'd imagine the enviro-types are already dusting off their "The evil car drivers deserve their suffering, and if they'd only use mass transit..." cliches. Remember, government's proper role is not to solve problems, but to torture the taxpayers into changing their behavior.