Every road has its limit. Seattle’s roads are reaching theirs, at least according to the Director of Seattle’s Department of Transportation. Prepare to hear more about long commutes and billion dollar transportation projects.
Currently, about 30 percent of our traffic is “single-occupant vehicles”, the classic one-person in one-car scenario. SDOT wants to shift that more to about 25 percent by moving that 5 percent onto buses, primarily. We’re in the top five worst cities for traffic in the U.S. That’s not something where we want to be number one.
In a sprawl scenario, build more roads. Welcome to Bertha, where we having to dig a multi-billion dollar tunnel under the city just to get traffic from south of Downtown to north of Downtown. We’re running out of room.
Unfortunately, the one person driving alone may not be doing it from choice but from necessity.
Expect to see friction at the contact points between people who have long commutes and city officials that are trying to find ways to clear the traffic.
As reported by KIRO 7,
“In Seattle, voters passed the $930 million Move Seattle levy that will support road maintenance and repair, as well as pedestrian and bike safety projects, bridge repair, congestion relief, improve light rail connections, according to the city.
And the city is already pulling lanes away from single-occupancy drivers for the benefit of buses.“
Pedestrians, bikes, light rail, and buses are the emphasis - not cars.
Seattle’s affordability is moving workers into longer commutes. Seattle’s economy is bringing more jobs into the city. Improving the affordability would let people live closer to Seattle’s jobs, and shorten the commutes to distances more readily traveled by foot or bike. Shortening the commutes would drop the price of transportation infrastructure by dropping the number of miles they must cover.
That affordability probably isn’t changing soon, which is why the surrounding bedroom communities are going to spend even more billions on light rail and buses.
Our traffic is one symptom of our success.