If you're driven on I-405 in the last few months you're well aware of this already but just in case you haven't (and good for you if that's the case), the new toll lanes haven't exactly worked the way they were supposed to. Not only have ongoing toll glitches been causing major headaches for drivers but WSDOT was recently forced to admit that the toll lanes are actually slowing traffic down even more than before in the northbound lane, especially near Bothell. It's gotten so bad that a petition to take away the toll lanes has 29,000 signatures.
So what are officials willing to do about it?
First comes news that state lawmakers have conceded that they need to open express toll lanes to general traffic during off-peak time periods (from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily as well as weekends & holidays) for free. While that won't do anything to help commuter gridlock, it's better than nothing.
Second is the scenario everyone has been waiting for, the creation of a second toll lane. It's a big project that would require sound proofing and stream work, not to mention the creation of a new Bothell off-ramp. State agencies have begun working on a cost estimate.
It's not all bad news for the I-405 tolls. Community Transit is reporting that they're saving six minutes during peak times and ridership is up four percent. King County Metro Transit reports an eight-minute time saving and riderships gains of six percent. If you think of the tolls as a roundtable way to get more people to use public transit, it's working.
· Outraged drivers may get some relief from I-405 tolls [ST]
· State admits I-405 toll lanes have worsened north end traffic [MyN]
· Stop 405 Tolls [S405]
· Toll glitch means annoying fines for unlucky I-405 drivers [MyN]