Tuesday, January 30, 2007

$10 To Cross 520?

I hardly ever drive over the SR-520 bridge as it is, but although I support the concept of tolls, I'm pretty sure I would just drive around the lake if this plan gets put in place:

Tolls to finance a new six-lane floating bridge across Lake Washington could be nearly $10 when the proposed replacement along State Route 520 is opened in 2015, a legislative committee has been told.

Financing and cost estimates for replacing the overcrowded and aging Evergreen Point floating bridge between Seattle and the suburbs east of the lake were presented Monday at a House Transportation Committee hearing.

In the most optimistic outlook with tolls to finance construction, the round-trip charge for motorists would range from $5.66 to $8.13 in today's dollars and $6.90 to $9.90 when traffic begins flowing over the new span in 2015, lawmakers were told.

The low end assumes that the same toll would be levied on Interstate 90 across the Mercer Island floating bridge and that money borrowed for a new span would be paid back over 40 years.
Yowza. $10 to cross the lake? No thank you. Of course, as someone that lives in Kenmore and works in Redmond, crossing the lake is rarely something I do.

I believe that high tolls would have the dual effect of paying for construction and reducing traffic as people make other commute decisions. Over time it would probably also cause people to re-think the wisdom of living and working on opposite sides of a major body of water. Of course, I've never understood why people would do that in the first place, tolls or not.

(Associated Press, NWCN, 01.30.2007)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Over time it would probably also cause people to re-think the wisdom of living and working on opposite sides of a major body of water. Of course, I've never understood why people would do that in the first place, tolls or not."

I don't understand your thinking on this comment. So if I move to Seattle I should only ever look for a job in Seattle? What if I get laid off and can only find work on the Eastside? Should I pack-up my life in Seattle just so there's no congestion on the roads that our local government takes too long in redesigning and expanding? I believe you need to re-examine your thinking on this last comment.

The Tim said...

anon,

It's not a matter of having some kind of altruistic feelings of helping out local government. It's all about personal convenience.

In my personal experience (not just in Seattle), living on the opposite side of a major body of water from where one works is a guaranteed* recipe for a long, traffic-filled commute.

It's certainly your prerogative to stick with a nasty commute and insist that the government fix it for you, but I'm more in favor of dealing with reality and getting the best commute I can at the present time.

*(unless you work off-hours, or can ride a bicycle, or some other random thing like that)

Will D said...

I don't understand your thinking on this comment. So if I move to Seattle I should only ever look for a job in Seattle? What if I get laid off and can only find work on the Eastside? Should I pack-up my life in Seattle just so there's no congestion on the roads that our local government takes too long in redesigning and expanding? I believe you need to re-examine your thinking on this last comment.

What is there not to understand? And how do you conclude that the author thinks you should a) only look for jobs in Seattle and b) pack up and move to the Eastside (if you find a hypothetical job there) "just so there's no congestion on the roads"?

All he's saying is that it's a matter of personal convenience (not to mention expense). You're living in a combined geographical/employment/infrastructural fantasy land if you think there aren't consequences (in terms of convenience, either with where you to choose to live or work) to living in Seattle today. You can be stuck in traffic getting to work or you can limit where you choose to work. You can't have it both ways.

And, incidentally, riding a bike doesn't have to be "random". When gas went up I sold my truck and bought bikes (and yes, I moved to Fremont and limited my employment search to downtown). A $10 toll would adjust my driving behavior just as quick. No "over time it would probably..." about it.

The Tim said...

For the record, I ride a bike to work nearly half the time. The Burke-Gilman / Sammammish River Trail gets me straight there. I really enjoy not having to deal with traffic.

Anonymous said...

It's not really 6 lanes, it's 4 lanes plus HOV lanes, which isn't going to help the traffic all that much. The biggest boost will be to remove the bottle neck at the head of the bridge heading into Seattle.

10 dollars for a round trip is a bit much. I usualy go into Seattle twice a month, and that would make it a pain.

Claystation said...

There's no way I'd move to the 'burbs just to be closer to work. I'd say the majority of traffic crossing the lake is from people who work in high tech companies. The reality of that market today is jobs come and go about every two or three years. Moving to be closer to work just doesn't make sense.

Not to mention that the 'bubs are generic and boring (on offense to those how live there).

The lack of high tech jobs in the city of Seattle itself is a problem. The fact is that many high tech workers want to live in the city, but most jobs are on the other side of the lake. This causes the traffic issues we have with the lake.

There needs to be a total package of things to help with the traffic problem of the lake.

Along with fixing/expanding the bridges, I think the city of Seattle should look at putting some kind of tax package together to lure high tech companies across the water.

Anonymous said...

Price a free flowing lane with a market mechanism and make the other lanes free. As a former Microsoftie I can say there are plenty of people who would pay $30 each way if it meant getting an extra hour of their life back.

Anonymous said...

I am too young to live in Redmond. ^_^
However I am the perfect age for my early career at Microsoft...
So I ride the bus and listen to podcasts. There is no other time during the day when it is impossible to brain-multitask and I rather enjoy it.

Maybe I'll go work for google or amazon downtown in another year, and move back to Msft and Redmond once my taste for walking everywhere and going out on Fridays goes away.

Anonymous said...

"Not to mention that the 'burbs are generic and boring (no offense to those that live there)."

I love it when people use the "no offense" line like that.

I also fixed your terrible spelling. So many people these days are uneducated and cannot spell (no offense to people that can't spell).