The Seattle Times just seems continually behind the, er, times. First, they ran an editorial for Haugen’s 6772 super-agency bill the day after it failed to escape from committee (lost the link sorry). Now, after the Seattle PI reports they are finishing up on the bridge plans and only working on Montlake section, and the Times Editorial Board come out with this argument for an eight-lane 520 bridge:

But for the 21st century, six lanes is small. A six-lane bridge will be full at rush hour, right from the start. The new bridge will have to charge tolls, and not only for finance but to limit demand — that is, to price the bridge out of reach of people who can’t or won’t have $6, or whatever the toll is.

Uh, I am pretty sure that six-lanes will be huge for the 21st century. If they did build an eight-lane bridge, will it might not be full, the highways on either side would be, as would the on-ramps. That road’s capacity would no longer be determined by the bridge, but rather by the ability to get people on to it. And do we really want an eight-lane highway through Portage Bay?

The Seattle Times is stuck in 1965 thinking.

8 Replies to “Eight Lane 520?”

  1. Once again a major Seattle newspaper shows how UNPROGRESSIVE it is. For a city that prides itself on education and forward thinking its embarassing that our most popular news outlets have no vision for a more sustainble future.

  2. Thank you Seattle Times for being the little boy who is brave and honest enough that he tells the King he has no clothes. You are right. Six lanes is not enough. Today’s generation suffers from the problem of thinking of only today’s generation. What are people going to need 50 years from now? It’s time to stop being selfish. It’s time to stop wanting to punish people who live outside the city. It’s time to stop compromising with neighborhoods until the end result is ineffective. Listen to Montlake, listen to Medina, but don’t let them run the show. Give them a very short opportunity to let their views be known, then do what needs to be done for the region. Built it big, build it long, and put rails and bike paths on it.

  3. until we can squeeze more cars onto I5 from 520, 6 lanes is more than enough. i don’t hear any plans to expand I5 anytime soon.

    rectifying the chokepoint where the HOV lane merges with the general traffic lanes at evergreen point over in medina will do a lot to smooth things out. traffic won’t be perfect but it will be better, and most likely incredibly better for bus-riders, bikers, and carpoolers – all of whom have been more than selfless in living with a crappy, substandard design for decades.

    believe me, i hate 520 traffic more than anyone but simply widening the bridge is not going to fix everything. if we were truly evil, maybe a third bridge through juanita/kirkland that connects with the north-end ‘burbs could help despite being a complete non-starter.

  4. That’s not exactly what they said.
    2 of those eight lanes were for bus or rail exclusively leaving 6, or 3 in each direction, for trucks and cars.
    This seems to me to be a very reasonable approach.
    In this area, IMO, the progressive aspect would be in developing the bus/rail to take full use of the lanes provided.

  5. No no, the answer is not to just continue to increase the size of the bridge. This would be asinine. What, in 40 years we throw on another 2 lanes, and then another 2. Shit, why not just put a concrete lid on all of Lake Washington, then we sure wouldn’t have many traffic problems. I think the 8 lane solution does only think about this generation and doesn’t take into account the growing need for a new perspective on transportation. The answer is not more lanes. Period. Also, people are not being punished for living outside of the city. When you choose to live somewhere, for example, across a huge body of water, you should expect it to take some time to get back to the other side. What we really need to do, and as Bellevue has already taken the initiative with, is stop this centralized idea of downtown Seattle being everyone’s ultimate destination. If you live in Bellevue, work in Bellevue dammit! And vice versa with Seattlites.

  6. Josh, I know people in this region are fond of chanting the mantra “more roads are not the answer,” but sadly, sometimes it is the answer. And in this case, it is. It’s called reality, and we need to face it.

  7. 6 lanes would be more roads!! And in 50 years, I would hope we’d use cars WAY LESS so that a 6 lane 520 bridge would seem unneeded. People need mass transit 50 years from now!

  8. The idea was always to have 6 lanes + 2 for transit. It is only a recent cost-cutting measure to eliminate these extra two to be reserved for light rail or BRT.

    Their idea that future generates might demand these for cars, but the blog post correctly indicates that this simply wouldn’t be a possibility without more capacity on 405 and 5.

    However, their slant might not be progressive — they may be simply advocating for the future use of those lanes as cars and hiding behind transit for the moment. I’m not sure of the Times’ editorial slant with regards to transit, but in this specific case I believe they’re on the right side.

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