22 Replies to “$3.80 toll for 520?”

  1. I wish they would just make the right lane HOV only for the entire bridge RIGHT NOW. It’s the only way for mass transit to have any decent headways, would increase capacity, and require no tolling.

    Chances of our legislators having the balls to do it? Zero…

    1. The agencies don’t have the money to throw at increasing bus service to use that increased capacity right now anyway.

      I know you’re saying “more people would use it!”, but that’s NOT a problem on 520 routes right now. Last night, coming back across the bridge, the bus didn’t even stop for us at the 40th St. freeway stop because it was packed to the gills. The next one had 15 standing as well. It’s already overloaded.

      1. I guess I could instead say people would be moved faster…

        I commuted for 4 months across 520 on the bus and got to crawl along just like the SOV peeps…

      2. I’ve been commuting across 520 for seven years. I know the crawl very well. :) I’m just saying that even *with* that crawl, the service is absolutely full. Removing the crawl would result in hundreds of people waiting every day as full buses simply passed them up.

      3. I’m not sure I agree. What’s important to remember is that doubling a route’s speed also effectively doubles it’s capacity without adding a penny to the cost of busses or drivers.

        I blogged about this a while ago for Seattle, but the point remains the same: we’re paying a whole lot of bus drivers a whole lot of money to sit in traffic with a lot of unnecessary busses. This is a large reason why rail makes so much sense – if a train with double the capacity of a bus can make the same loop in half the time, then you’ve doubled the frequency, halved the time, and quadrupled the capacity – all with the same single driver!

      4. You do have a good point. If the times were shorter due to the lack of congestion, service would even out without any hour additions.

        I hadn’t thought about that, and you’re likely right.

      5. wow, excellent point matt. never thought about it that way. how difficult would it be to calculate that out into actual capacity added to the route? anyone have an idea about the time savings per loop during congestion if this were implemented tomorrow?

      6. It should be easy – just calculate the time between stops using close to highway speeds and compare that to the schedule. If the difference is enough to let the bus cycle one more time during commute hours, that’s an extra bus of capacity.

  2. make the whole bridge HOV/BUS only and stick state troopers at both end to patrol…just to see what happens :)

  3. So…we don’t have the money for a six lane solution yet. Tolls will only close 1/2 the gap, leaving about $1 billion unfunded. Tolls will reduce demand to the point where only four lanes are required. But we still can’t pay for four lanes. Building a two-lane bridge MIGHT be affordable but won’t be cst effective.

    I throw this out for the sake of argument: how about a no-replacement option? Improve 522 and I-90, including rail on both routes. Build a rail spur to Kirkland to bring trains across the lake via I-90. If east link is funded, extentions to Kirkland nd Redmond could be built for about 1/3 the cost of 520. The other $1B could be used for a 522 rail line and increased bus service. There. We can fund $2B.

    When people understand how much this project costs in taxes n tolls, they may warm to alternatives. A commute that is 1 minutes longer by train might be easier to swallow than $1700 a year in tolls.

    1. Tolls on only 520 won’t close the gap, but tolls on 520 and 90 will. I suspect that will be the solution.

      If commuters don’t want to pay the toll, they’ll (eventually) use East Link, or a bus. The taxes are already being collected, and that won’t change even in a no-build alternative. You have a choice as to whether you want to pay the toll.

      1. And this would run foul of the state constitution as well generate a Tim Enyman initiative to reaffirm tolling of new structures only

    2. I suspect the shortfall would be made up by tolls on I-90 and federal money.

      As someone who lives close to 522, I kind of like your no-replacement plan if it means I get light rail service. But the populist revolt from drivers currently going either direction over 520 to get to work would be Biblical in scope. It’s a lot longer of a trip to or from the denser neighborhoods on either side of the ship canal to Redmond via 522 or 90 compared to 520.

      From a capacity point of view, a second cross-lake rail line on 520 would be great, but this blog has done a good job of showing why that’s technically difficult. I still think it will have to happen at some point, but I’m not sure how.

      1. It’ll happen as an extension of a Ballard-UW route.

        Next time, North King will probably be West Seattle-Downtown. After that will be Ballard-UW and/or Downtown-Ballard (in the near term, Ballard will already get a streetcar, most likely).

    3. Wow! Talk about sticky keys! That is 10 minutes longer, not “1 minutes”. I imagine the six-lane alternative will get built, will be way over budget, and will be the last major road project the Puget Sound region builds. This could very well represent the end of rubber stamp road planning.

  4. I’d vote for doubling the tolls.

    If there is a reasonable alternative to driving, people should be paying through the nose for choosing to drive.

    Unincorporated KC drivers would be free, under my plan. :)

    If I were running things, MS Connector would be paying $1000 per bus, tho.

    1. Why would connector pay so much? They’re replacing cars.
      What if they were driven by unincorporated king county drivers? ;)

  5. Well, this could help ST2 pass. “Hey 520 commuters! You can pay 1.7 thousand dollars a year to cross 520, or you can take Link across I-90 and skip the traffic entirely!

  6. That’s damn cheap! The Bay Bridge between Oakland and San Fran is $5, and the Golden Gate toll is increasing to $7 this year. And yes, that’s PER-DIRECTION!

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