The following is in response to the Bothell Reporter article quoting Robert Poole of Community Transit and their displeasure with opening the toll lanes during low usage times.
– Community Transit: “Lawmakers originally committed to give the toll lanes two years before initiating any significant changes. It’s been less than six months”
Response: Toll lanes are not like wine. They do not get better with age. There is overwhelming evidence that they don’t do what they are marketed to do. WSDOT surveys also indicate the public is overwhelmingly against them, yet they built it anyway. Fortunately, lawmakers are listening to their constituents.
– Community Transit: “We don’t know what the impact will be on transit,” he said. “There is always the potential this will create a snowball effect that toll lanes are something we can get rid of.”
Response: Absolutely. They are definitely something we can get rid of and we will. HOT lanes are proven to deter carpooling. They create a social injustice. They are terribly expensive to operate. Many more reasons can be found here:
What’s more, they didn’t know what the impact would be on transportation when they implemented the lanes. Nearly every aspect of it surprised WSDOT: the number of flexpasses bought; the exposure of choke points; the carpools moving to the GP lanes while the SOVs moving into the toll lanes; the rise in accidents; the maxing out of the tolls so soon after implementing them. A total failure.
– Community Transit: “Buses run hourly on Route 535”
Response: The 535 runs a total of 15 buses each weekend day. Hardly enough to justify “owning” an entire lane of traffic. Transportation officials report an average of 4200 passengers per weekday ride buses throughout the entire I-405 corridor. That is the number of passengers one carpool lane provides *in just 2 hours*. Weekend bus ridership is less than half that. Prior to the ETL, there was no problem with congestion for those buses. There is no reason to think it will be a problem now.
– Community Transit: “Fans of toll lanes would argue for more tolls, not less.”
Response: Fans of legitimate measures to reduce congestion would argue that tolls create an elite lane. Give us meaningful bus service on the eastside that justifies displacing all the cars first. Stop wasting capital on tolling systems and put it to use building legitimate solutions to transportation.