(UPDATE: WSDOT removed the video with the error. The video had been published June 9, 2016, well after the change in the tolls. The video to explain the signs was discussed in the May 17 meeting with WSTC and also posted June 9. But the second, and more important point of this article is still very relevant.)
People are very confused by the Express Toll Lanes on I-405 as reported in a survey conducted by WSDOT. WSDOT’s answer for the public education plan is… to produce yet another video to be posted on youtube. Really?!
WSDOT has now published a channel of 7 videos on youtube.com explaining the 405ETL including one on How to Read the Signs on I-405 Express Toll Lanes and the latest one just published, “Do I need a Flex Pass on the I-405 Express Toll Lanes?” that incorrectly states you need a pass on the weekends.
So complex, even WSDOT can’t get it right. And they actually expect drivers to get it right?? But wait, there is more…
WSDOT also has this interactive map: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/405/map/
and this website with numerous lengthy webpages explaining how to use the toll lanes:
Seattle is a gateway city to the Pacific Rim. You might expect some local residents to put the effort into studying all these materials, but it really leaves the majority of people guessing. It is absurd to expect the millions of drivers in the Puget Sound region to review all of this. It is even worse to think infrequent visitors from around the state, from British Columbia, and from around the country to get familiar with how to drive here. This may come as a shock to WSDOT, but not all people have handy access to the Internet, like low income and elderly people. There it is again: yet another barrier to widen the social inequity of the Express Toll Lanes. Consider that people from China don’t even have access to youtube. Yet it is practically a requirement in order to begin to understand how to use the highway we all paid for with our taxes.
If it takes 7 videos (with errors), a set of webpages the length of a small book, an interactive map just to understand them and a mobile app for pricing that you may pay (or may not pay, as prices can change at any moment. DON’T USE A MOBILE APP WHILE DRIVING!), then the system is inherently too complicated.
Legislators and WSDOT, REALLY? What the hell are you thinking?!
Please sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop405tolls
and then contact your legislators and tell them. Remember they are supposed to be working FOR you.