Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.30.00 AMAfter a soft open on Sunday, yesterday marked the first full weekday of the I-405 Express Toll Lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood. During off-peak hours, SOV drivers will pay between $0.75-$10.00 for the privilege of using the lanes, while HOV 2+ will use them for free. During peak hours – 5-9am and 3-7pm – only transit and HOV3+ will get free use of the lanes.

A quick scan of Twitter (using #405ETL) revealed an expected mix of praise of frustration from commuters. For a large portion of yesterday’s travel, the Express Toll Lanes saved drivers nearly an hour,with $0.75 buying a 20-minute trip from Lynnwood to Bellevue, compared to 70 minutes in the general purpose lanes. People who remained in the GP lanes for the 20-mile trip– rather than paying $0.75 to save 50 minutes – were effectively valuing their time at $0.90/hour.

In general, most urbanists support dynamic pricing to manage demand, and as a usage fee, tolls are a method of taxation that has some level of bipartisan support. Even as overall vehicle miles traveled are flat, peak congestion on our regional highways and HOV lanes has worsened significantly the past couple years, leading Sound Transit to quietly cut service back in June and requiring an additional $2m annual outlay from Community Transit to keep the same buses running on time. We wish the I-405 Express Toll Lanes all the best at keeping transit and carpools moving effectively. If you’re a rider on routes 237, 252, 257, 311, 342, 424, 532, 535, or 952, you can now look forward to a much faster and more reliable trip.

On this side of the lake we’re still waiting for any type of HOV priority between Northgate and Downtown Seattle, especially reverse peak, but it is encouraging to see the Eastside open these new lanes and inch us toward the systemwide tolling and transit priority we need.

Are you an I-405 commuter? How was your experience yesterday?

105 Replies to “I-405 Express Toll Lanes Open”

  1. I’m hoping that it won’t just be those routes that are on those lanes.

    Do the BelAir Airporter buses count as transit?

    A couple of years ago I attempted to take one of their buses from Anacortes to Seattle, and the arrival at SeaTac was nearly two hours late. Their dispatcher assigned the bus to go via I-405 as they said traffic on I-5 was far worse.

    1. Which is fine. For people on business trips, time is money, and it’s well worth it to them to pay the toll.

  2. Just toll all the lanes. It is a lot more effective as a congestion management tool, and it raises more revenue.

    I’d start with tolling the I-90 floating bridge. Doing that one thing would improve the commute on I-90 and on both I-405 and I-5 through Bellevue and Seattle respectively.

    1. Yes. Everyone who takes I-90 when 520 would be a more direct route is causing unnecessary congestion on I-405 and/or I-5. Toll both bridges.

    2. For the forty nine thousandth time, you may not toll every lane on I-405 or I-90 because they are Interstate Facilities and do not have a Congestion Tolling Project waiver. There are supposedly twenty such waivers granted by Congress in the 1990’s all of which are currently allocated, though all of which are not actively in use.

      IF I-90 had been tolled from the date of reconstruction of the Lacy V Murrow, it might not yet be paid for and could be tolled. But instead Federal matching funds and State DOT funds were used to build the bridge, so that is off the table.

      Until a Republican Congress allows states the right to toll Interstate facilities without a reconstruction project or a waiver, it is forbidden.

      1. The Feds are incrementally moving towards allowing it throughout the interstate system. And tolling I-90 would certainly be possible considering it would be categorized as part of the SR520 project.

        Congestion tolling really is the solution to congestion on the cross lake corridor, and would also do wonders for “between the bridges” congestion on I-405 and I-5 in Bellevue and Seattle respectively.

        Given our severe congestion locally, it would be absolutely insane to arbitrarily restrict the use of solutions that actually work, and congestion tolling works. In fact, it works wonders.

      2. “The Feds are incrementally moving towards allowing it throughout the interstate system.”

        Citation. Genuine citation, not some blog post opinion or wish by a FHWA techie. I’m sure there are plenty of people there who see the value in congestion tolling. They’re professionals.

        But the law’s the law, and if you think that Congress will even take up such a bill for consideration before January of 2023 — and even then Democratic control of the House is unlikely given the exploding population in the Sunbelt — you’re smoking some of Washington’s newly legal finest. Seriously. They DON’T LIKE TOLLS!!!!!!

        Yes, they’re stupid, but it’s only one tiny thing about which they’re stupid. The other things completely overwhelm this one particular example.

      3. Washington is one of the states enrolled in the FHWA Value Pricing program, which can allow tolling of existing interstate facilities.

      4. Quasimodal,

        Well, if Washington is enrolled, then yes, it can toll I-90 and/or I-405. From the projects chart it looks as WSDOT has even gotten money for planning.

  3. I take the 535 most days from Brickyard to Bellevue. The ride on the express lanes was great yesterday (although I didn’t go at the very peak of peak) – I’m hoping it stays that way. Not many cars there yesterday and I didn’t see any 3+ carpools (not that I looked very long). Buses were completely packed – even the ones I was on were one or two people short of full capacity (no standing room left). Hopefully that continues.

    The problem is getting to the express lanes. Whereas before the bus could cross into the lanes as soon as it got to the leftmost general purpose lane, it now has to wait for the next entrance, which means it’s stuck in slow traffic for a mile or so from Brickyard. And delays southbound in the morning don’t seem to be any better. Same thing going back north in the evening. I think nothing short of HOV ramps on every exit is going to fix that.

    On a related note, anyone know whom to contact about pedestrian facilities that are being rebuilt on the 160th street exit as part of the express lane construction? Yesterday they ripped out half the walk signals so right now there’s no way to get from the NB stop to the park and ride without crossing the freeway ramps “illegally”. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt to repair this quickly, but last time I did that it took them 3 months to get one of the cross walk signals working again. I’m guessing this is WSDOT who’s responsible – any contact info for them?

      1. Thanks for the suggestion. Not a twitter person myself, but something I might end up joining as it’s completely unsafe right now. I chatted with the construction people on my walk down to the station this morning, and they at least confirmed it was a WSDOT project and that they didn’t know when they’d fix things.

        On a related note, the 535 I took this morning simply crossed into the express lanes as soon as it got to the left GP lane – crossing through the double white lines. I’m wondering if they’re being allowed to do that now. Still almost 15 min late getting into Bellevue though.

      2. The part of Brickyard P&R that really takes the cake is the signal at the P&R entrance just west of 405. They went through the time and trouble to build the signal to allow cars to turn in and out of the P&R, but they didn’t bother to put in a crosswalk to connect the P&R to the apartments on the other side of the street. I guess the people who live there are expected to literally get into their cars and drive across the street to catch the bus. This is nothing short of pathetic.

      3. @asdf2: I agree it’s an annoyance (I walk through that apartment complex on the way to the bus stop since I live just past it) but I don’t consider it a big deal. Most of the buses people take are from the freeway stop anyway, so crossing there is fine (except when they remove the crosswalk signals, as they did on Monday). Honestly, I’d much rather see several other pedestrian projects in that area be prioritized over that one – like adding 1/3 mile of sidewalks on Juanita-Woodinville that are simply missing. That’s actually dangerous.

    1. Exact same situation as you. The bus commute was a breeze today and yesterday. It was fun to speed past all the grumpy people too proud to pay 75 cents.

      +1 with regards to the brickyard freeway station. It was always comfortable to walk from there to the park and ride on a good day, but with the sidewalk closed and the cross signal removed it becomes downright dangerous. I don’t know what could be done to fix the pedestrian route (short of building another HOV ramp or some sort of pedestrian bridge), but I fear that people aren’t going to want to use Brickyard P&R because of this.

      1. My wife and I have done some digging and supposedly the crosswalk signals will be turned back on tomorrow sometime (according to the person from City of Bothell who talked to the contractors). We’ll see if it actually happens. Not sure when the sidewalk on the north side of 160th St will be opened (all they need to do is activate the crosswalk signals).

        We’ll see what stupid thing they do next – the whole project to rebuild sidewalks there seems to be more of an afterthought than a priority with the assumption that no one cares anyway, so why hurry.They basically made access to triggering the crosswalk from the northwest side of 160th St impossible for half the summer. I expect the same will happen now that they’ve started rebuilding the sidewalks on the southwest and southeast corners. Bothell has limited power there – my wife did stop by the the 405 project office in Bellevue this morning and they promised to get back to her today (and were apparently surprised anyone was even complaining).

  4. More people will switch to the toll lanes. I think a lot of people don’t have Good2Go set up yet because they procrastinate.

    Drivers in the general lanes were probably spending a lot of that $0.75 on the extra gas they burned in slower traffic. Cars burn ~1/3 of a gallon per hour just at idle, so simply running your car for an extra hour would cost more than the $0.75 toll yesterday. Moreover, the actual quantity of wasted gas would be higher in the typical 405 stop and go traffic.

    1. I agree. When the 520 bridge first became tolled, it was wide open all the way to and across the bridge in the middle of rush hour. In time, drivers adjusted, so I’m guessing the same will happen here too. Eventually, either the toll will have to go drastically up from 75 cents or the HOT lane is going to start moving a lot slower.

      1. I agree, but 520 still isn’t as busy as it was before (to my eyes). I could be wrong, of course (just anecdotal evidence combined with a memory that is getting more and more faulty every day). The nice thing about the I-405 pricing is that it goes up with congestion. Most people would pay 75¢ to get there a bit faster, but $2, $5? Not as many. I’ve very skeptical about this working, but I think there is a good chance this will work (I assume it has worked in other places) so I’ll reserve judgement.

  5. “People who remained in the GP lanes for the 20-mile trip– rather than paying $0.75 to save 50 minutes – were effectively valuing their time at $0.90/hour”

    Or they just don’t have it in their budget to shell out an extra tax every day.

      1. When WSDOT was studying the options back 2000 (I-405 Corridor Program), the BENEFIT in the Cost/Benefit analysis was the dollar value assigned to ‘Travel Times Savings’ – Get there faster, and you can be more productive at your destination.

        Value of time has everything to do with why I-405 is a mega-highway project.

        The only satisfying thing about the inability of the legislature to pass a transportation budget (until this year) is that the $ amounts in the original study are all higher, and population growth at a higher level, that the HCT options look better since we are closer to the horizon year used in the C/B analysis.

        In fact, ST3’s Totem Lake – Bellevue (-Issaquah wasn’t in that study) light rail wasn’t seriously considered 15 years ago.

    1. If people aren’t willing to shell out 75 cents per day to speed up their commutes, that’s a damning indictment of highway expansion proposals that tax them equally large sums for “congestion relief” on a much smaller scale.

      1. Glenn nailed it. Go visit Texas, which is about as anti-tax, anti-government, anti-anything-benefiting-society-as-a-whole as it comes. But their toll lanes and toll freeways are extremely well used; to the point where some of the toll freeways (Westpark Tollway in particular) even experience traffic jams.

        Anti-toll animosity here will pass. Whether that’s sooner or later remains to be seen.

      2. I don’t think that is fair to say. You have to account for the mental aspect of shelling out money that you can readily see on a daily basis vs the annual increase in your property tax or rent.

      3. You also have to account for the fact that before yesterday they didn’t have to pay extra to go faster. Their commute might have been long and lousy, but at least it was already paid for. Now you have to overcome the user feeling like they are being held hostage.

        1.50 a day is the absolute minimum the system will cost, and that adds up to roughly 30 bucks a month of additional expense they now have to spend to commute. And that is only at the bare minimum price.

      4. Possibly Ignorant, I think you are mostly ignorant in this case. The toll lanes are a part of widening I-405, meaning that no general purpose lanes were taken for this project. Thus, the only constituents who might have cause to complain are 2 person carpools traveling at peak, as HOV lanes used to be 2+ at peak and are now 3+ or pay the toll at peak. The new arrangement is either neutral or superior for any given SOV driver compared to the old arrangement.

      5. That is an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. If users aren’t paying tolls and the SOV lanes become over clogged, general purpose traffic slows. Travel times on Monday did exactly this.

      6. If you ever drove I-405 during the peak, especially from Totem Lake to Bellevue, you would have seen that none of the lanes were moving, including the HOV lane.

        Now there is an ‘optional tax’ that can be paid to increase capacity for SOV’ers.

      1. This comment makes absolutely no sense. Gas is a sunk cost, it is getting used no matter what.

      2. Their extra expense is twofold.
        1) the assumption that their lost time sitting in traffic is worth money.
        2) in the case stated above it would be the difference in MPG between the trip where they were sitting in traffic vs. travelling ~the speed limit. Whether this difference is $.75 can be debatable.

      3. Re: Jim Cusick — here’s the ‘debatable’ part.

        If you drive a Leaf other electric vehicle, driving more slowly actually improves energy efficiency, and cost per miles is around $0.03. So, all the electric car drivers would unquestionably save money by not using the toll lanes. So, if you plan on sitting in traffic a lot, I guess you should buy a Tesla…

        Driving a hybrid of some sort may also do well and may be cheaper (in terms of fuel costs) than taking the toll lanes for the same reason as above, although the range of hybrids makes it difficult to make a blanket statement. But, with a Prius, yes, they generally do well at slow speeds and stop-and-go and would probably save money.

        However, even the best case scenario of driving a gasoline powered compact sedan will burn 0.16 gallons per hour at idle. The best drive cycle would be that you idle for 50 minutes, then drive at peak efficiency for 20 minutes—which means you spend about $0.50 extra in gas. If you have a ‘large sedan’ (or, god forbid, an SUV), it’ll cost you roughly $1.00 extra or more—so it already would have been better to take the toll lanes. And of course, in reality, you’ll be doing stop-and-go, which is substantially worse than best-case-scenario outlined above.

        In conclusion, in the scenario described in the original article, you definitely want to take the toll lanes at $.75 if you’re driving a gasoline powered vehicle.

      4. Okay Jeffery, then everyone who WANTS to SAVE MONEY will jump in the toll lanes, and those who have the leisure time and $ to afford a Tesla will drive in the GP lanes.

        We can then stop calling the Express lanes the ‘Lexus Lanes’, and call the other lanes the ‘Tesla Lanes’.

        Then we can consider stop and go traffic in an electric/hybrid vehicle a status symbol.

        I LIKE IT !!! (No really, good post! (no debate from me !))

      5. Jeffrey, I was under the impression that EVs like the Leaf can use HOV lanes even with one passenger. Does this apply to HOT lanes as well?

      6. “I was under the impression that EVs like the Leaf can use HOV lanes even with one passenger.”

        I think California has something like that. There is no such law in Washington though.

      7. @Chris – no need to for personal attacks. Once the gas is purchased, it will get used. You cannot return it. Hence the use of sunk cost.

      8. Yes, but when I drive, I don’t see how fast I can go through a tank, I look to economize my driving. Linked trips, off-peak travel, not taking unnecessary trips, stretching out that dollar before I have to fill up again.

      9. Ok Jim, that makes sense. So the next logical question is “was it cheaper for me to pay no tolls and sit in what traffic used to be, or is it better for me to pay the traffic ransom applied to the freeway now?”

        And this doesn’t even factor in the former 2 person carpools that now have to pay when they didn’t before, or the inevitable increase in the toll amount.

      10. If the money from the tolls is spent on capacity increases, then it would be an investment, not a ransom.

        Otherwise, we are asking everyone to pay more in gas tax to enable that faster commute.

      11. @Possibly Ignorant: No the correct question is: “IS it cheaper for me to pay no tolls and sit in what traffic used to be and still is, or is it better for me to pay the traffic ransom applied to the freeway now?” There are the same number of general purpose lanes as before so SOV drivers, who choose not to pay the toll should expect similar congestion as before. Using the word “was” is misleading when something still “is.”

      12. OK, gas is a sunk cost. So is bread once I buy it I guess. And so are prepaid tolls – they’re a sunk cost once paid, so there is no cost to a toll trip, right? F’goodness sake.

    2. If a fifth of Americans can’t locate the USA on a world map, and a fourth of Americans thinks the sun goes around the earth, then it’s entirely reasonable to assume that a large percentage of SOV commuters think that the new 405 toll lanes are for HOV vehicles only and they’re forbidden from using them.

    3. Yeah, right. People commuting to downtown Bellevue just cannot afford an extra $1.50 a day. Poor exploited proles, Unite!

  6. If the toll was $10, I’d understand why people wouldn’t pay… But 75 cents?! Come on! So many people complaining on the WSDOT blog. I was making minimum wage when the HOT lanes first opened on 167 and I didn’t mind paying the toll to skip traffic. I have a low tolerance for traffic I guess. Now they just need to expand this to I5 between Tacoma and Seattle and 405 between tukwila and Bellevue!! Will help buses greatly too!

    1. 405 between Renton and Bellevue will be getting the ETLs which are sorely needed in that section. This includes a direct connector to the 167 HOT lanes. That would certainly help the queuing that occurs at SB 405 to 167.

  7. “only transit and HOV3+ will get free use of the lanes.”

    I hope in general this can get described as “pre-registered HOV3+”.

    This would be more precise and help inform readers about an easily overlooked aspect of the new setup.

  8. Just a simple question, how would the HOT lanes be enforced? I always see HOV violators slowing buses down.

    1. Police patrols, usually a motorcycle cop hanging out just after a payment stanchion.

      The 167 toll reader stanchions have a light on them that flashes every time a toll is collected — if the cop doesn’t see the light and only sees one person in the oncoming car, it’s ticket time. Don’t know if the 405 lanes have this feature, but it sure makes sense.

      1. I think in some of the Seattle Times coverage they mention that that’s basically the plan. The flex passes also show a little red thing on the front when they’re in hov mode. The only tricky thing is the 3 person requirement. If you have tinted windows in the rear, there’s basically no way for anyone to tell how many people are in the car, particularly at night.

      2. I would imagine that nighttime enforcement isn’t a priority; it’s peak hours that are the main target for the lanes in the first place.

        The three-person thing is still tricky, though, you are right; something tells me that if an officer thinks something is fishy, they’ll pull over cars for spot checks.

      3. I agree night-time enforcement will probably not be a priority, but in the winter a good chunk of peak travel time is in the dark, so it’s something that needs to be considered. One other thing that has been mentioned (I forget where) is that requiring the flex pass makes the bar to cheating higher, so hopefully there won’t be as many cheaters as there were.

      4. Or, by raising the barrier to qualify for the exemption, more people will simply ignore it.

        I can’t say I truly understand that decision; I have an existing standard window tag that I use on 520 (and previously on 167) and the weird metal plate thing that claims to disable it during HOV travel; what’s the point in making 405 require fancy new tags?

    2. Wondering this as well. How would police know that SOV in the HOT lane isn’t paying the toll? I imagine i would be very difficult to see if their Flex Pass was opened or closed as they speed by at 60 mph.

      1. They sit at the toll point, and a light comes on over the gantry if someone is claiming to be an HOV.

    3. A WSP Troopers group has already come and and said they will be really hard to enforce. Just bing it and you’ll see the ST article on it.

    4. What if I’m driving with Oregon plates with 3+ in the car? Am I going to get a ticket mailed to Portland?

      1. Unless you have a flex-pass, it will be billed as a pay by mail. You can get .50 off pay by mail rates if you setup a temporary account. If a friend has a Good to Go account, you can have them register your plate on their account and pay only .25 more per trip.

  9. Is there a reason why the 405 Express Toll Lanes aren’t called the HOT lanes? Why the two different names for the same thing?

    1. The rules are somewhat different [it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask why that’s the case] so it’s not entirely crazy that they have different names.

  10. I don’t commute on 405, but do use it as an HOV fairly often in off-peak hours and weekends. The new lanes have made life worse in this respect: first you have to have a flex-pass (I do, but suspect most weekend users don’t), and then you have to both wait for an access point to get in _and_ be going at least as far as the next access point before you can get out. The upshot of this is that for even moderate distances (e.g. between 520 and any of the Kirkland exits), you can’t use the HOV lanes. On Sunday afternoon the toll lanes were basically empty, with a lot of 2-occupant vehicles stuck in traffic that was worse than usual. Hopefully this will improve as people get flex passes, but the inability to get into and out of the HOV lanes still is a huge downside.

    1. As a West Seattle resident, this new program de facto bans me from using the 405 HOV lanes. Formerly I could jump in the carpool lane with 2 or more in the vehicle, on rare weekend 405 trips. Now, not only would I need a Good2Go pass, I would need a fancier, more-expensive Flex Pass to use the HOV lanes for free. I actually tried to sign up – but the State requires web sign-ups to use an auto refill program, with a $30 minimum initial charge.

      Sorry, but at this point the costs/risks (of losing the money in the account due to inactivity) exceed the benefit. I’ll be in the general purpose lanes from now on.

      Good2Go makes Orca look simple and cheap.

  11. By all accounts from riders, this has been great for bus routes that use the direct access ramps. But for those that can’t, it’s more mixed because some of them have to travel a long way in the GP lanes to get to a HOT lane access point. Previously, of course, they could access the HOV lane as soon as they could get over.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether we see a push for more direct access ramps, or reroutes for the buses so they get to the ones that are available.

    HOV/HOT ramps from SR 520 to I-405 looks better than ever. Bellevue’s interested – other Eastside cities should be pushing for it too.

    1. Agreed on the results. If WSDOT can keep 45 mph at all times, these are basically the same as bus-only lanes. I’ve noticed that the buses are constantly being passed by other cars, so I don’t think they can even maintain 60 mph the whole way. HOV ramps would save more time than a few extra mph.

      I’m not sure re-routing more buses to the direct access ramps will help simply because there are too few of them. On 405, it’s only 128th and 6th streets – neither Kirkland nor Bothell/Lynnwood have direct access ramps so you’d have to go way out of your way on surface streets. But if you wanted to solve the problem, you’d need to put in ramps at Canyon Park, UW Bothell/522, Brickyard, 85th St (+ maybe 70th), and 520. That’s just to service current stops and is a lot of ramps and a lot of money.

      1. That’s part of the issue is you require multi-million dollar structures to accommodate not as many users. Although with a 405 BRT system, that would make the ETLs much more attractive to use. If the ramps can be used by people using the ETLs and is convenient, that would help with having less people having to go across the freeway to get off and benefit transit.

        85th has looked like a choke point lately and SR 522 at Bothell. SR 522 would become a large ramp project but makes me wonder for how much would be spent can we create better alternatives that serve transit riding populations and direct more people to transit?

      2. @Daniel: yes, definitely the direct access ramps should be accessible to all ETL users – just like the current ones at 128th St. I think north of Kirkland there is no reason not to use 405/522 for transit – the densest (relatively speaking) population centers (Brickyard, Bothell, Woodinville, Canyon Park) are right next to the freeways and it’s a lot cheaper to use the freeways than a brand new ROW. Kirkland though is a completely different discussion.

        It’ll be interesting to see what happens to bus ridership over the next few months. Yesterday and today have been completely packed. As more people use the ETL and tolls increase, I’m guessing some might consider going to the P&R’s instead.

        If you wanted to cheap out a bit and only serve transit, you could combine Brickyard, 522, and 195th into one set of ramps. You could set up ramps just from 405 SB and to 405 NB at 195th and ramps to 405 SB and from 405 NB at 160th. With a bit of street reconfiguration to provide HOV lanes, north-bound buses could get off at 160th St, drop off passengers, and take the recently built ramps straight to 522. Routes terminating in Woodinville go east and those going to Lynnwood would go to UW Bothell, and then back onto 405 via 195th St. You can do the reverse going south-bound.

    2. There are some stretches where buses will be able to run on the shoulder southbound to help get to Brickyard and then start moving across to the express toll lanes. Not perfect, but also a first demonstration of something Minnesota does already. There are over 250 miles of shoulder lanes for buses there for use when slow shoulder use is faster than stop and go general purpose traffic.

      1. I was excited when I saw those signs a few weeks ago. But buses are still running 10-20 minutes late the last few days.

  12. Can someone tell me where the toll revenue is going? Unlike 520 (where a new bridge is under construction), this tolling doesn’t appear to have any project that it is funding. It appears to be a moneymaking strategy for WSDOT so that they can spend more money on projects in rural parts of the state, or on projects in less dense areas in this region. Is any of it specifically going transit capital or support facilities (access ramps, park-and-ride lots, vehicles) or operations?

    1. Some of it goes into toll operations (you’ll sometimes hear the right-wing talking point that 75% is going to a company in Texas that runs the tolling fees. The reality is that administration of low fees is fairly expensive as a proportion of revenues, and there are other operating expenses locally).

      As the extended HOT lanes to the south come on-line, the proportion of revenues that are consumed in admin and other expenses gets much smaller.

      The balance goes back into the WSDOT account for future I-405/SR 167 improvements. (I’m not sure they keep a separate account for those highways, but there’s more than enough happening on I-405 to use those revenues. HOT lanes to Renton alone are over $1B).

      1. They have to be kept in separate accounts. SR 16, SR 520, SR 167 are all separate toll accounts.

  13. I know that WSDOT has studied tolled express lanes in a similar fashion on I-5 but am not sure what level of detail and what timeframe (or if) an upgrade is being considered for. Anyone know?

    1. Don’t know where they’d put them at least on the north end. The median strip has already been taken north of Northgate and south of there there isn’t room between the travel lanes and the reversibles. Adding them to the south end would require a new structure in the elevated section. Mucho buckos.

  14. No one is going to pay to go just as slowly as the GP lanes, so WSDOT has a financial incentive to keep the new express lanes flowing.

    1. Flowing faster, but will they stick to the 45 mph minimum defined for BRT? If the HOT lanes are 30 mph and the GP lanes are 10 mph they’re still faster but not fast enough to keep a bus on time. Will WSDOT be willing to keep the HOT lanes at 45 mph when the GP lanes are 5 mph? Can it raise the toll high enough to keep cars from flooding into the HOT lanes? If it has to raise it to $10 to achieve that, will the public say that’s too high and get the legislature to force WSDOT to lower it?

      1. I believe they’re required by federal funding rules to keep speeds at ~45 mph. That was the whole reason for HOT lanes. The claim was that if needed they’d shut down all access to the lanes except transit and 3+ carpools to maintain that speed.

  15. Love these new HOT lanes. I’m from Vancouver BC and get to ride free in the HOT lanes at any time, even as a single occupant.

    1. So you intend to just use the toll lanes and then return to Canada without ever paying the tolls?

      1. I think the term you’re looking for is not “taking back”, but “repossession.” Which is what our creditors will do with the collateral formerly known as the United States of America after the employee we hired declares his greatest personal bankruptcy ever. You think any court in the world will get us back a dime?

        Meantime, I think it shows sad lack of vision that all the above comments deal with things like toll lanes and the weirdness that, face it, claims much of the outlook on any island in the world.

        Our Waterfront is not wasted experience. Because having learned not to use Big Bertha at a depth shallow enough to contain pipes that people knew were there, we can dig the Mercer Islanders a subterranean Interstate worthy of Jules Verne.

        Instead of parking, think of giant elevator banks lowering cars however many thousand feet down we need to hit bedrock. At which level, depending on the next series of meetings similar to this last, decision could be taken not to bother with Seattle at all.

        Years ago, the Lyndon La Rouche people were angrily, as they always are with everything, demanded a system of deep-bore railroads all around the world,

        Since they are now currently demanding we impeach President Obama to stop him from nuking Vladimir Putin and his sweet St. Bernard dog- despite the fact that Putin actually has a pet bear- these people should enthusiastically start demanding that Obama be impeached for threatening to nuke Putin so he can’t help Mercer Island build the freeway they really want.

        Zach, thank you for your service. Robert Capra would’ve turned this one down for being too dangerous, and Bill Mauldin would’ve said why you bothering him, the facts are their own cartoon. Meantime, the digging I’m doing is for the survival shelter I’m going to need when the LaRouche-ists fulfill their real goal of making Joe Biden President.

        Run! Save Yourselves!

        Mark Dublin

    2. I don’t know off-hand that Washington and B.C. don’t have an agreement set-up to pass such things off between them. I know we have agreements with some other states. But, if you were to actually start ringing up higher and higher amounts of unpaid tolls tied to your license plate, what’s to stop Washington from simply putting out a warrant for your arrest?

  16. Anybody know where I can find the toll info online? Some days I’m going to take the HOT lanes going home from DT Bellevue, but I’d prefer to know what the cost is before Going to the direct access ramps at 6th.

  17. Wow, the lunatics are out in force on KIRO’s webpage. Jason Does Indeed Rant did a standard right-wing slash job on the new Express Toll Lane system, and the vampire squid squad is howling.

    Now I do think that WSDOT shot itself while pulling the revolver out of the holster by not waiting until ST is ready to implement the I-405 BRT system to use all that capacity. Several people complained that they had no decent bus alternative that would benefit from the ET lanes.

    To which somebody else said, “Well, you voted not to back-fill the Metro cuts, so live with your choices.” That was harsh and only somewhat true. In no way was anything Metro did Bellevue-oriented like what ST will produce should ST3 pass.

Comments are closed.