Stop405Tolls

Please click HERE to sign the petition

This is some supporting information for the petition.  See the Blog pages for much more data and facts exposing the failings of WSDOT on this project.

(Click “Follow us via Email” on the right to get notified when we post important updates. We cannot get email addresses from the petition. If you want to help the cause, please email us at stop405tolls@gmail.com)

In short, this petition states:

Please pass legislation to stop tolling on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood, restore the lanes to 2-person carpool lanes during the day and open to all at night and remove the double-lines for open access.

Supporting background information:
Note: while this petition specifically addresses I-405 tolls, Express Toll Lanes are going to replace carpool lanes on I-90 from Seattle to Issaquah, I-5 as far north as there is a carpool lane, and the rest of I-405 as well if we do not block them now.

When it comes to carpooling on the Eastside of the Greater Seattle area, we are victims of our own success. We were encouraged to carpool and we eagerly received the idea. In fact, over the years the carpool program has become so successful on the Eastside in King County, WA that the single carpool lane was overwhelmed at times. Something had to be done. WSDOT made a good move by adding an additional HOV lane. Such a step, by itself, would have been a great expansion of an already successful program. However, at the same time, 3 changes were made that had a dramatic negative impact:

1. The HOV lanes were eliminated and replaced with Express Toll Lanes (ETL).
2. Access points between the ETL and the general purpose lanes were reduced from unlimited open access to access points only every 3 to 5 miles.
3.  Even with the required carpool, “free” usage of these lanes requires the purchase of a FlexPass for $15 and open an account with an initial balance of $20.

WSDOT has created a Rube Goldberg solution to a simple problem.

 

MouseTrap

405 toll system is far too complex and in the end doesn’t do the job.

These changes are a radical shift from the very successful carpool lanes used throughout the Puget Sound and across the country.  Some of the problems these changes are creating include:

–  Vehicles must be 3+ person carpools for free access during commuting hours. Yet a pair of 2-person carpools provides the same gains in trip reduction as one 3-person carpool while the logistics of forming a 3-person carpool are exponentially more difficult than forming a 2-person carpool.   This is particularly frustrating for drivers like a Kirkland resident who owns a Smart fortwo micro urban car or the Woodinville resident who owns a two-seat electric mini-car for the express purpose of reducing their impact as much as possible by carpooling in a small footprint vehicle, only to be forced to pay to use the carpool lanes. It is unreasonable to penalize these drivers who have  already gone far beyond most to reduce their impact.

– With the 2-person carpool incentive removed, more drivers are commuting solo, adding to the congestion. Also, many of the 2 person carpools that previously used the carpool lane are now using the general purpose lanes to avoid the toll.

Professional Carpooler

Is this in our future?

– Access points into/out of the ETL are much more limited. Drivers cannot readily move into and out of the ETL, either as they get on/off the highway or when they encounter a traffic backup. They may be forced to use the congested lanes for several miles until they reach an access point or their exit. For example, southbound drivers must exit the toll lanes at just south of Hwy 527 if they plan to get off of I-405 at 124th St.  That is 5 miles and it is in the section where there are only 2 GP lanes.

– Due to the limited access points, the ETL are practically useless for drivers with a short commute. It forces them to make most or all of their commute in the GP lanes, making their drive times longer and adding to the congestion in the GP lanes.

– In the event drivers encounter an unexpected slowdown, previously carpool drivers could switch into or out of the carpool lanes without slowing down.  Now drivers cannot switch into the faster moving lanes except at designated access points.  They are forced to remain in the slow lanes when they could be using the faster lanes if the double lines did not exist.

– The ETL are not opened up to increase traffic flow when there is a disruption in the GP lanes. For instance, on November 12th, WSDOT closed all but one of the general purpose lanes for construction in Bellevue and Kirkland, causing a 5 mile backup, yet drivers were not permitted to cross into the ETL and the ETL were still being tolled. The ETL lanes were nearly empty.

– Due to the limited access points to/from the ETL and slower speeds of the general purpose lanes, buses cannot use the ETL north of Hwy 522 and had to be permitted to use the right shoulder of the road as a lane of traffic instead of using the ETL. This is an extremely dangerous practice in the event a vehicle moves to the shoulder to stop.

– The access points into/out of the ETL are unmarked and confusing.  In some places drivers can enter the ETL, some they can only exit the ETL, and others they can both enter and exit.  This has led to a significant increase in accidents, lane change violations, and driver frustration as reported by Washington State Patrol.  These unique traffic flows are exceptionally hazardous for visitors who are already in unfamiliar surroundings.

– In the process of adding the second Express Toll Lane, the “collector-distributor lane” was removed from several places including Southbound 405 between 116th St and 85th St and northbound between 70th St and 85th St. This lost lane was very helpful in reducing the traffic pressure through those sections. Now they experience a heavier backup as a result.

– The section of carpool lane from the junction with I-5 to NE 160th St no additional lanes were added.  It was just converted from a carpool lane to an Express Toll Lane.  While this speeds up the ETL because there are fewer cars in it, it slows down the general purpose lanes and reduces overall traffic flow.  Keep in mind this is the same section where drivers must exit the ETL as much as 5 miles before their exit.  WSDOT is counting the number of cars using the ETL and GP lanes, not the number of people. So their statistics on drive times does not consider the time of the passengers in carpools.

HighwayImprovement?!

Fuzzy logic: Not widened, Accidents doubled, Congestion worse.

– All of the attention has been on rush hour and all the traffic flow improvement metrics have focused on that exclusively. But the problems extend beyond rush. Previously, anyone could use the carpool lanes from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM. This allowed for smoother flow as the traffic could spread out across all 4 lanes and drivers could easily get around a slow driver. This has a significant impact as a higher percentage of cars on the road during those hours are not carpools. Since solo drivers cannot freely access the ETL, there are only 3 lanes available to them, so nighttime traffic is actually slower.

– The Pay by Mail option is an additional $2.00. This is exceptionally excessive and unreasonable, especially for people who infrequently use the ETL or are visiting from out of town.  In addition, while those drivers were rarely able to be a carpool, when they were, they used to use the carpool lanes.  Today they will never use the ETL, even when they are occasionally a carpool, because they must buy a FlexPass to do so.  This pushes more cars into the GP lanes.

– FREE ISN’T REALLY FREE.  Being a 2+ or 3+ carpool is not enough to use the ETL for free.  A $15 FlexPass must also be purchased. The FlexPass also requires opening an account with a minimum of $30 which does not earn interest. If the driver already purchased a GoodToGo pass, it must be removed or the car will still be tolled.  The $15 FlexPass plus the $30 minimum to open an account means it costs $45 to get to use the ETL “for free” while the tolling company or WSDOT collects interest on the millions of dollars in account balances.

– The efficiency ratio of cost to value for the tolling system is exceptionally poor. Maintaining the toll system has excessive overhead requiring expensive tolls for drivers just to cover capital and operational costs.  These costs include the purchase of the toll sensors, electronic signs, permanent signs, computer systems hardware and software; installation and maintenance costs; personnel to operate and monitor the system, process the billing and provide customer service for billing errors; and additional law enforcement.  The most recent unanticipated cost was in response to the power outage on November 17th, 2015.  Emergency generators were purchased and installed to power the ETL signs and tolling equipment, an additional excessive and unnecessary cost which will be paid by collecting tolls. All of the costs for collecting the tolls equal at least an estimated 85% of the tolls collected.  That means an efficiency rating of under 15%.  In other words, for every dollar paid in tolls, less than 15% actually goes back into the budget to pay for transportation projects.  For comparison, most charity organizations operate at over 80%.

Adding insult to injury, it is reported that as much as 75% of the toll money collected is paid to the private tolling company based out-of-state. That money does NOT go to funding the highway improvements and it is NOT supporting local business.  Of the remaining 25%, an undisclosed amount pays for the state-managed overhead of the system.  It is estimated that under 10% of the money collected goes back to fund highway maintenance and improvements.  There are more efficient ways of collecting taxes to maximize the value we receive and not spend it paying profits to the toll operators.

Pothole405-north

Pothole painted over with double white line rather than fixed. Unfinished transition from bridge deck to land is an abrupt bump (line across the road just above the car hood).

The end result of the 405 Express Toll Lanes is more man-hours are spent by commuters than there would be with simply 2 carpool lanes with open access using the previous time-proven configuration. When there was a simple 2+ person carpool lane, an estimated 95% of the vehicles were 2-person carpools. The remaining 5% were buses or 3+ person carpools. Today as much as 60% of the vehicles in the Express Toll Lanes are solo drivers.  Ironically, the only group of drivers to benefit from the new Express Toll Lanes are the solo drivers who pay the toll. For everyone else, service is degraded in some way.

We are asking for legislators to lead WSDOT to make these changes to the I-405 Express Toll Lanes:
1. Eliminate all tolling and restore I-405 ETL to standard 2+ carpool lanes.
2. Eliminate the double lines and allow drivers the freedom to enter/exit those lanes as they see the need.
3. Allow all drivers to use the carpool lanes for free during late night hours as it was before.

These changes will result in:
1. Increased participation in carpools
2. Better utilization of all 5 lanes of traffic while still meeting performance goals for the Federal funding
3. Improved overall drive times for everyone at all times, regardless the distance they are traveling, their ability to be a carpool or their ability to pay the toll
4. Increased safety
5. Increased public satisfaction
6. Lower operating costs of the highway
7. Reduced taxation

FlexPassOptionsTrimmed

Tolling is expensive and inefficient and does not reduce demand or increase capacity

The overwhelming public response has been negative from the beginning, when WSDOT held  meetings for public comment, and continues in comments on their blog, yet they pursued it anyway.

On the positive side, this issue has proven to be one of the most bipartisan supported issues of our time.  It has support from representatives of all parties. Citizens talking about it make no party references.  In the face of such an impactful problem, it is gratifying to see such unity.

Please sign this petition to stop 405 tolls . You may also want to contact the 3 people who represent you in Olympia directly.  It is very easy to do.
Just visit http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
Set the District Type to Legislative.
Find where you live on the map and click it to pop up the names of your people.
Click on each name to see their contact information.
Call their district office phone number and ask to talk with them or click the email link to bring up an email form. It doesn’t need to be a long letter, just express your position about the I-405 Express Toll Lanes and ask for laws to bring WSDOT in line with public interests..

An interesting thing about these representatives.  Most of them are actually very approachable and want to hear from you.  It really isn’t any different than if you were to call your bank to ask for a refund on a bank charge.  It’s your money.  Make the call.

If you are happy with the new I-405 Express Toll Lanes, please post a comment. I want to hear from all positions.
If you aren’t happy, post a comment with your story.  This article is being read by many people including state legislatures.  Your opinion matters.

Visit the WSDOT blog website. See the questions posted in the comments of each article and WSDOT’s responses.
Please share this with your coworkers and friends; post it on Facebook; tweet about it and include #405ETL and @wsdot.

 

96 comments on “Stop405Tolls
  1. Lhsi says:

    I make a run between Renton and Kirkland every weekend visiting e l ederly paren via I405 for years. Before the new toll lane, the trip was quite pleasant. Never had to face the horrific as nowadays. I drag to drive up north and curse the people that made such poor decision on the I405 revisions. I REFUSE to pay any $$ amount to use the toll lane nor to obtain another Good To Go sticker because I think it’s wrong for us tax payer to have to pay to use the road that we already paid tax for.
    Please make all these rediculous toll lane to go away!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lhsi, I’m sorry to say, you are only feeling the beginning of your pain. They intend to extend the Express Toll Lanes south from Bellevue to Renton as well unless we stop them. Be sure call your 3 representatives and to get your friends to call their representatives as well as sign the petition.

    Like

  3. Valerie Morgan says:

    I will Never purchase a good to go pass. We already paid taxes for carpool lanes. Our state just keeps taxing us over and over. I travel 405 as a carpool but won’t use these lanes now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tracy Davis says:

    My child goes to a choice school in Bellevue. We live in Bothell. My drive times have significantly increased with the new toll lanes. As an example, my afternoon drive time from Bellevue to Bothell takes up to an hour and a half starting at 4pm. It used to just take 45-50 mins.
    I can’t form a carpool because I don’t drive one way in the morning and the same route in reverse in the late afternoon. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who drives all over the place at different times for their kids activities and their own work/errands. When I could drive in the carpool lane with my kid, I could count on how long it would take to get there. Now it’s impossible to tell because as traffic becomes heavier they raise the tolls to discourage too many people from using the toll lanes. So the heavy traffic doubles drive times in the GP lanes instead of trying to relieve the traffic backups.
    I really don’t know why they don’t charge more when traffic is light and less when traffic is heavy. They would likely make more money in volume of tolls charged as opposed to the amount in higher cost tolls charged as it is now. And the relief from extreme slowdowns would be hugely mitigated by encouraging more cars into the toll lanes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I drive my daughter from Bothell to Issaquah for school. I know exactly what you mean. There are many who do this. Single parents and parents of kids waivered into schools outside their district.

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    • REMOVED says:

      Debate and discussion from all perspectives is welcome. Keep it civil and respectful. Trolling is not tolerated on this site. This post has been removed.

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      • Nun Yers says:

        Wrong. WA law makes no distinction from traveling to and from work or to and from school or whether the other passenger is a child or some commute snob like you, nor should it. Get over yourself, please, you are definitely a special part of the problem.

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      • At this point ALL 2-person carpools are forced into the GP lanes or have to pay. Carpooling of any sort, whether a parent driving a child or 2 workers going to work, is discouraged by this system. Provide any form of mass transit that goes between Bothell and Issaquah, and we will use it.

        BTW, I have been a participant in biking to work for many years, including making the 20 mile ride to Issaquah and I have been a team captain for the Bike to Work Challenge many times. Alice Walts, that is what it means to be part of the solution.

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      • Jeff says:

        Wow Alice…..since when does a child not count as a person?! And I suggest you refresh on the definition of commuting. The parent driving to or from school or activities is most certainly commuting. You have messed up ideas. Please stay off the road…..

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  5. Adam Martinez says:

    The toll lanes have saved me time and money in gas, I travel from Marysville to Renton and I love the toll lanes!!!, The savings in gas far exceeds the cost of using the lanes in a month. Before the toll lanes even the carpool lane was worthless and I gave up on carpooling, now I have an option to save me money.

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    • KenP says:

      I wish more people would consider your point; that sitting in traffic — even the traffic before the ETLs were added — costs more in gas than paying the tolls does, or at least it’s equitable. Add to that the cost/value of the time you save by using the ETLs and it’s a win-win. You spend less time in your car, less stress, and you get to your destination at a more consistent time.

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      • richard togerson says:

        The point isn’t about paying more money (I make 6 figures).. To me it’s about changing a policy that does nothing but make money for another company/a select few, and not benefiting the majority. (less than ~25% (sounds like 10-15%) = chump change if you break down the over-all revenue). Basically I pay my taxes to drive on the freeway, then I pay more to another company (where very little of the proceeds actually go to improve the transportation issues at hand). I’m confused how people don’t find something wrong with that…

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    • REMOVED says:

      Trolling will not be tolerated on this website.

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    • Ankit says:

      I would agree about time and money savings, but $9.25 one way is beyond reasonable. Also, they should change it express lane to just a single lane. 2 out of 4 lanes is ridiculous, that’s the reason for congestion.

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    • hate the ETL says:

      hey adam
      do you travel that stretch everyday? we are suffering everyday commute from Lynwood to Bellevue OK? it would be nice to you but more suffer to others, I used to toll lanes, but what would you think when it goes up to $9.25 this morning huf
      are you making more than 100 K a year>

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    • so you have 3 or more people or your just rich

      Like

  6. Teresa Kenagy says:

    I live out in Sultan. Traffic already sucks on our little hwy 2 (hwy of death) A few times a month I have to drive to my Doctors (specialists) in Kirkland (Evergreen) My caretaker and I would take the carpool lanes. I knew how long to expect for the trip. I knew I could hop in the carpool lane and not have to deal with the nonstop backups on 405. Now I have told my Doctor to find specialists anywhere but in Kirkland! I live on $733/m. Thanks SSI for not giving us a living increase this year. I sure can’t afford the additional toll just to go to my Dr’s!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa V. says:

    I live in Kenmore. I used to travel all around the Seattle area, driving kids, for shopping or medical appointments or sometimes to sightsee in nearby towns or visit friends. I would schedule my travel on Interstate 405 after the morning commuters, for 9:30, 10, or 11 am, and aim to get home before the evening commute started around 4:30 or 5. I never had a problem unless there was construction or an accident.

    At the very moment the 520 bridge toll was instituted things changed. Suddenly there was congestion on 405 all–day–long. Overnight, the 405 traffic slowed down so much we could no longer drive to Bellevue in 15 to 20 minutes, it became 40 minutes, through the whole day, even mid-morning and mid-day. If there was a slack time, I couldn’t find it. Driving back home from Bellevue to Kenmore at 3:30 pm took an hour. We could no longer drive to I-90 or the airport in a reasonable or predictable time unless we were able to use the HOV lanes. The “surface” roads in and around this community filled up. Traffic on 522 which runs over the top of the lake and bisects Kenmore increased dramatically as drivers who prefer not to pay the 520 toll took this route instead. Sadly I saw fatal accidents too. My city published data that said the 522 traffic increased 10-15 percent with the 520 toll. That is impossible to believe.

    I sometimes wondered how many people chose not use toll roads as they did not want to be tracked by big brother cameras photographing license plates. That thought arose when I saw cars slowly rolling through my neighborhood carrying slouched down passengers with caps pulled low. Yep, I’ve seen that.

    Adding the I-405 toll this year was a shock. Three times shortly after the toll was instituted I had to travel on 405, and sitting in the stop and go, bumper to bumper traffic was a horrible experience. It was scary. I had two close calls, many abrupt stops, and I simply cannot imagine inexperienced nor elderly drivers managing that kind of driving. I decided to avoid travel on 405. It feels too dangerous. Others must have made the same decision. Traffic within in my community has increased so dramatically since the 405 toll began that my life has changed. I just don’t go out most weekdays anymore and certainly not during business hours. Not to nearby to nearby communities and certainly not to ones farther away. There is no more running down to Bellevue, or Overlake, or Kirkland, or Issaquah. Or over to Edmonds, or up to Lynnwood. Not for shopping, not for day trips, not to the beaches, not for visiting museums or taking grandkids on outings. Thank goodness I don’t have to drive my own kids around to activities anymore, that would be impossible. Now I only go on 405 on weekdays for medical appointments and I plan in lots of extra time. I simply am able to do less in an outing. No closely scheduled or sequential appointments. No making additional or unplanned stops. There is no way to know how long it will take to get from one place to another. Kenmore feels like the epicenter of congestion, just like when I lived in the very center of a large city. Meanwhile, I have noticed areas that used to be congested are not congested anymore. A friend who lives off Sand Point Way said traffic in her area really cleared when the 520 toll was instituted. It must have moved over here.

    I saw this once when traveling from Seattle on an interstate in 2010. Near Chicago the interstate was tolled — and empty. It was so unexpected to suddenly be traveling on a empty interstate I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Where were the cars? Had something bad happened? Then we stopped for gas and found the traffic. The surface highway was totally congested even though it was late in the evening. The toll interstate was empty. I thought it was goofy to see a huge empty interstate beside a crowded highway. I never dreamed we would have the same thing happen here. I thought we were too smart for that. I didn’t realize the degree of greed our government has. Once I was standing in line behind an old woman who said “They tax us three times.” Hmm, perhaps she meant, when we earn it, when we save it, and when we spend it. Now we can add, when we drive. Are we really being made to pay to drive our cars? Unreal.

    WSDOT knows the negative impact these two toll roads are having on people who live here, but have decided to sacrifice our time and negatively impact our lives. Thousands of us. Just for money. Lots and lots of money. Did I see on the TV news WSDOT built themselves a new building? Takes a lot more employees to process all those new weird passes I guess. There must be an impact on businesses too. How are they making out? If I’ve decided travel to my surrounding communities like Bellevue or Lynnwood is just not worth the horrible nerve wracking drive on 405 or on 522 plenty of others must have made the same decision. And I’m lucky. I’m retired. There are so many people not able to live where they want or where they can afford to live, and there are so very many people who are not able to work at all as they are not able to fit lengthy commutes into their lives. (Especially as our ill conceived school system doesn’t even try to consider timing the school day to fit working hours for parents. That’s just a norm in other countries, but not here.)

    So, some people zip happily along on two empty lanes, and the commute times of those people have been reduced. WSDOT better poll only those toll-paying users as everyone else is stressed and angry. WSDOT hopes our initial frustration and anger will settle over time. But my experience shows the congestion these tolls have created will not improve with time. It hasn’t in Kenmore since the 520 bridge toll, and I saw it in Chicago too. And there must be plenty of people like me who do not forget how much better living this area was before these two tolls were instituted. Instituted, because these tolls are forced on us. I’ve read there is a connection between certain laws regarding HOV lane capacity and funding and tolls. Well whoever made that law can change it right back again. We all know if it were our choice we would never have agreed to tolls on major highways. Oh wait, didn’t we used to call them freeways? And we know that the very hour tolls are removed from 520 and 405, traffic, commerce and quality of life will improve for everyone. But WSDOT will make less money.

    It is my understanding WSDOT is planning ways to discourage drivers who won’t pay the planned 99 tunnel toll from disembarking the highway and using Seattle’s surface streets. From one Kenmore resident to those future Seattle residents, you all have my deep sympathy.

    The heart of the matter is the tolls are unfair. Lack of drivers choosing to use the toll lanes is proof of that. Every driver that refuses to use the toll lanes is voting with their pocket. Every driver that would rather take longer to get from point A to point B is telling WSDOT how we feel, that the tolling our roads is simply unfair. Having varying tolls feels like a cheat. Expensive tolls feels like a cheat. I feel like a milked cow instead of a proud resident of the Pacific Northwest. Do we have to bring one of the worst parts of life on the east coast here? And we know they can’t wait to raise the toll fees. I’m sure they have studies and charts and plans all ready for that.

    If they cared about us, the people who live here, and driving is part of life, they would stop tolling our roads immediately. We are not all commuters! If money were not their overriding interest the state would go back to 2+ lanes, or try 3+ lanes. That would be smart. WSDOT knows my life and the lives of many others would be better if there were no tolls. Just try it out by removing the tolls altogether. There will be an immediate, visible, quantifiable improvement on north end traffic. How do I know? Because the congestion happened overnight. Overnight. Let us go back to moving about our metropolitan area quickly and comfortably.

    But how? Here is how. One of the first Peasant Revolts in Germany hundreds of years ago was partly because of tolls on roads and bridges. History repeats itself. We can also learn from history. Not so long ago East Germans overcame their over-controlling government when they acted together. A few thousand people committed “civil disobedience” by meeting together. Their numbers simply overwhelmed the ability of the Stasi to track and control them all. We could do that too. Everyone could drive only in toll lanes all the time and not pay the bills.

    Everyone could drive only in toll lanes all the time. And not pay the bills.

    We can act together. Here’s a slogan for that: Freedom for Unified Citizens – FUC WSDOT. Or do nothing and wait until WSDOT puts toll lanes on I-90 and I-5 too. Seattle life as we know it will simply end then.

    There, I feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is also interesting is that when they put tolls on 405, during the summer they would close the bride every weekend to allow the boats to go through and say that they are not making enough money from the tolls to pay for the bride. So they wanted to toll I-90 to compensate and when they were stonewalled by those who drive I-90, they decided to go ahead and place tolls on 405. The whole point is that the left will try in any way that they can to tax you on driving and then tax you more on the roads that you pay for already paid for. This is only allowing those who can afford to drive, be able to drive and stop us from driving on the roads sadly enough. It’s time to vote out those who do these kinds of measures!

      Like

  8. CJ says:

    Hi, LisaV!

    I’m a member of the stop405tolls.org core team. You’ve stated quite well the issue, its complications and its deleterious effects of the ETL or GP lane of commuters on the 405.

    Your references to the Peasant Revolt in Germany decades ago and to the rising up of East Germans to free their half of Germany are EXCELLENT examples of what must happen here. I’m sure you’ll agree that regaining the proper relationship and balance between citizens and government is NEVER A MATTER OF BRUTE FORCE. Change, balance, relationship comes from mutual respect, honesty and communication.

    Unfortunately, US citizens (WA State citizens) have been lulled, for any number of reasons, into complacency and disinterest in all levels of government (as well as the people who are employed to run government). Complicating the complacency and disinterest are many of our elected officials who DO NOT listen (and DO NOT WANT TO LISTEN) to their constituency. It is all too common for elected officials to respond only to the wants and wishes of their particular political party for the benefit of the political goals of the particular party.

    Without two-way communication, it is no wonder legislators and bureaucrats become “kings and queens of their fiefdoms”.

    The Stop405Tolls.org core team appreciates your opinion and your suggestions. We hope you stick around and help us to overturn WSDOT’s obnoxious decision to toll the 405.

    Thank you for spreading the word about the Stop405Tolls.org movement.

    Like

    • Lisa V. says:

      I know those of us who are opposed to tolls are going to spend their time, money, and have an emotional price to pay for standing up to the state and federal government. But we will lose. There will be tolls. Even if they are removed, they will be back. And that is as certain as the fees we pay to use the state and federal parks. They were supposed to be free too.

      Today, after reading Wikipedia about interstate road system, I found yes, it was supposed to be free, but a few exceptions were made for existing toll roads. But no Federal funds were to be used to build toll roads. When it became expedient, the federal government changed that law. After further reading the DOT pages on 21st Century Congestion Pricing my frustration and anger increased exponentially. This degradation of my life, the life of my family, of my neighbors, and my community was planned. Planned and implemented by my government. By employees who probably feel proud of themselves, when they should feel ashamed. Imagine the life of a mother who has to drop her kids off at school, drive to two meetings, then to classes at a local university, then to work. Then later, back to the school to pick up the kids from a sitter, who gets paid big bucks, when she used to be able to get back in time to pick the kids up from school herself. This is a real life, lived by my daughter. These roads are necessary to her life and the life of her children. Now imagine adding hours of travel time to her day. She is locked in. She cannot choose to travel at different times, or to live in other areas. That is what these two northend Seattle tolls have done. She can barely support herself and her two children. These DOT policies affect PEOPLE. We are not statistics. We are not cows to be milked for government budgets. Are there any human beings there? Hello? Are we supposed to feel grateful to be living in DOT’s vision of this new 21st century?

      This is the person who planned this with our state:
      http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestionpricing/contact_us.htm
      Angela Jacobs 202 366-0076 Angela.Jacobs@dot.gov

      It’s hard to believe.

      Like

  9. aml10 says:

    This is the worst traffic revision that the State has ever implemented. Traffic went from bad to terrible as soon as the new system was opened. And this traffic revision isn’t just worse on 405. It has messed up traffic on I-5 in the North and Kenmore and Bothell streets as people try to find alternative routes. It is inefficient, dangerous, expensive, and ineffective. We need to scrap the whole thing. Get rid of the tolls. Get rid of the double white lines. Get rid of the restricted entry points. Get rid of the 3 passenger rotation. Instead, open the carpool lanes to anyone who has a Good-To-Go pass and 2 or more passengers. Raise the cost of the pass to cover the revenue we supposedly would lose by eliminating the toll. To enforce the rules, significantly raise the fine for driving in the lane without a pass and let the State Patrol work their magic. The traffic will improve and we can meet the Federal mandate for the 45mph flow that the whole project is supposed to address—without ruining traffic for the entire Eastside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ says:

      Your suggestions seem sound. However, before adding to the cost of a G2G pass or keeping any such tolled lanes, we want to see an accounting of the flow of monies in and out of WSDOT ‘s books AND proof that Dems in the Legislature will stop poaching funds from the trasportation budget to put into the General Fund. (Please see the story at Shiftwa.org.)

      Like

    • Joe S. says:

      I agree, this has not only impacted 405. Ever since the toll lanes went in to effect, 5 from Everett in to Seattle has become an absolute nightmare. I don’t know if people are just completely avoiding 405 if they have to go from the north end to the south end but something happened at the same time and what used to take me 45 minutes to get to work now almost always takes an hour and a half and the drive home regularly now takes 90-120 minutes.

      Like

  10. Debbi says:

    Until Tuesday last week, I hadn’t been on NB 405 from Bellevue since before these changes. Historically I only take 3 trips on that stretch or road every *year* One to drop our exhibits off for fair competition prior to the evergreen state fair and one to pick them up after the fair. At christmas, we visit the Santa in the alderwood mall during one evening the week after thanksgiving. that’s it. ever.

    tuesday last week, we went on our annual santa run. we were at least 10 miles into the toll portion of the road before i realized this wasn’t a lane like 167 — that carpools are free and everyone else needs a GOOD2GO pass.

    it’s crazy that i have to somehow know ahead of time that my family needs a special pass to drive in a carpool lane or i have to pay 2.00? how does this work? it should be free for me. FREEEEEEE. not free except the expensive pass. not free except whatever.

    i’m looking forward to what the judge has to say when we fight this ticket that we’re inevitably going to get for being in the carpool lane with the whole family.

    Like

    • Debbi…thanks for sharing your story with us. It appears mere assumptions are that onwhich WSDOT based its reconfiguration of the 405.

      The colossal failure of the 405 toll lane project has many wondering who is managing the agency and just how feeble and out of control it is.

      Please keep in touch with our campaign. Share the petition with everyone you know.

      And thanks, again, for posting your story.

      Like

  11. John says:

    Today, December 8, I traveled from the north end of I-405 southward destined for Bellevue. North of Canyon Park a large sign indicated drive times to Bothell and Bellevue were 25 & 55 minutes respectively. Looking ahead I could see nothing but red taillights in all lanes. I exited at Canyon Park and then using surface streets through Bothell, Totem Lake, Kirkland and N. Bellevue I arrived at my destination in 30 minutes! So much for the supposed time saving by using a freeway.

    I have travelled from Bellevue to Lynnwood (a 19 mile trip) on several Sunday late evenings and during the trip have seen from zero to a maximum of 3 vehicles in the toll lanes. Prior to tolling the “car pool” lane had many vehicles during that same drive time. So does DOT think this is progress?

    Southbound 405 weekday rush hour traffic used to ease up about 10 am. Now it extends to noon or later. Sometimes all day. Northbound afternoon traffic from Bellevue is an absolute nightmare!

    END THIS COLOSSAL SNAFU NOW!

    Like

  12. James W. says:

    I would love to sign your petition but I do not wish to be put on the moveon.org mailing list or receive their spam. I thought this was a non partisan effort

    Like

    • Debbi says:

      from the site:

      “In the search for a petition website, MoveOn.org was chosen because it was the only site that would also send an email to all of the state legislatures on behalf of each signer. Many people and groups use this website for various petitions. Signing this petition does not affiliate you with other petitions built using this website. Please don’t let other petitions you may have seen hosted by this site deter you from signing our petition. And if you get an email from the website later, just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of it and they will not send you any more. That’s the law and they know it.”

      Like

    • James, in setting up the site we searched for a free petition website this one proved to work easily and reliably. It wasn’t as an affiliation with any political group. Since some are opposed to signing on the MoveOn.org website, we have considered setting up an alternative petition site so people can sign where they want, but are concerned that it may cause additional confusion. But I think it speaks to the unity of the cause that it would bring people together on all sides such that we need multiple signing websites. That is a great problem to have!

      Like

  13. Ross says:

    I can’t understand how a governing body can use tax money to pay for the widening of publicly used thoroughfares, and then restrict access to those who funded the expansion. Excuse the pun, but this is highway robbery. These tolls need to end, I have yet to see any empirical proof that this concept is in any way improving traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Susan says:

    What used to be a reasonable commute from lynnwood to woodinville is now not just longer but dangerous. Daily, I see an accident SB especially approaching Canyon Park. My daughter and I used to use the “diamond” lane and our drive was pleasant now it is stressful and takes twice as long. Regularly, we see drivers who race to pass SB and cut over just before blue light is triggered the number of close calls is crazy. Now the state is going to enact fee per mile? No way am I having the gov track my mileage.

    Like

  15. Paul says:

    This doesn’t seem to address motorcycles. I commute on my bike and get mistakenly charged at least monthly. It has happened to two others I work with as well. It seems to take them a week to even respond to me about the charges. Quit wasting my time.

    Like

  16. aml10 says:

    The pain of the failed new toll lane project grows everyday. It is the worst I have seen in 40 years of driving in this State. To add to my previous comment, last night, we needed to be in Lynnwood but we only had an hour to get there. Traffic was horrible. So we took the express lane—which was packed and moving slow. But the worse part was the $8.00 toll!!!!

    P.S. Nothing against MoveOn.org but I try to avoid political sites as well so thanks for the comments about why you chose this approach. If we stay focused on the cause–repealing this horrendous program–and don’t get sidetracked into other political issues, we can have an impact. A rare opportunity for bi-partisan collaboration and momentum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for understanding the petition website challenge. For what it’s worth radio talk show host John Carlson of 570AM Talk Radio signed it too and encouraged his listeners on the air to do the same.

      Like

  17. Mike B says:

    Any time I save using the toll lanes is consumed by the time it takes me to get on and off the lanes, and to get to the freeways using the more crowded local roads. Simply put, my commute is the same as it was before the toll lanes, though I have to pay $5 or more now.

    How about we consider improving our freeway infrastructure and bring it out of the 1980s? I would be interested to see how much capacity has been increased from 1980 to 2015, and compare this number to other large cities, such as Los Angeles.

    Like

  18. aml10 says:

    Governor and his team responded to the petition. Essentially said “too bad, live with it.” One official said the high tolls showed the value we place on transportation–as though we have alternatives. They have obviously never driven in this mess and need to feel the pressure of a huge public backlash. Rep Harmsworth from Mill Creek is pushing a bill to repeal but it will take more than that to avoid some superficial tweaks and successfully reverse this program.

    Like

  19. “Adding insult to injury, it is reported that as much as 75% of the toll money collected is paid to the private tolling company based out-of-state.” – Reported by whom? Where? If you want to be taken seriously, source your claims.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liberpolly, Excellent point. That was the value being shared among the media at the time the petition was drafted. What would be more helpful is full disclosure by WSDOT of what happens to all of the money. That may have been added to their blog recently. When I find it I will update this site. If you find it, please share a link.

      Like

      • Cynthia Ulrich says:

        David and LiberalPolly…according to WSDOT’S Exec Dir, Lynne Peterson statement during herinterview on KTTH’S Todd Herman show, a full 55% of all 405 toll – derived revenue goes to the Texas company managing the tolling system.

        In addition. she revealed that WADOT cooperates with the Texas company on the tolling algorithm, WADOT has final decision on $ levels of tolls.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. aml10 says:

    Should have said “Gov’s office” rather than him–I guess he can blame it on a staffer.
    Found here: http://www.king5.com/story/news/traffic/2015/12/08/stop-405-tolling-citizen-petition/76986258/

    Like

  21. They published a followup to yesterday’s article. Thank you for sharing that.

    Like

  22. K. says:

    Is there anyway to include motorcyclists in this petition? The ETL entry/leave points force motorcyclists to be in the GP lanes for extended periods (3-5 miles) which is a hazard.

    US Code Title 23 Chapter 1 Section 166 subsection b states that in general a State agency shall allow motorcycles to use the HOV facility with the only allowance to restrict HOV use being if it creates a safety hazard.

    Meanwhile a greater hazard has been created through the restricted access points. There is a significant increase in risk of accident or injury by having cars on either side of a motorcycle as well as motorcyclists need for use of the shoulder in the event of accident or injury.

    Like

  23. Excellent point. While the petition itself can’t be altered (it is a legal document), your issue can be added to my list of issues above and we will be sure to include that in our discussions with legislatures. I cannot stress enough the value of you calling and talking directly to your representatives and senator. Personal stories like yours have immense impact, especially when given first-hand. I think the WSDOT should be concerned if, during this 2 year “commitment” period, someone should be seriously injured or killed as a result of an accident related to the new lanes. Liability could prove more costly to the taxpayers. (us)

    Like

  24. JR says:

    While listening to 770am yesterday evening at 3:00 pm with Todd Herman, he had in studio the person (forgot her name) representing the ETL but I didn’t get to hear the whole conversation.
    I seem to recall when the ETL was proposed, that should the toll lanes “not be viable – they would be removed and placed back to the way they were before” (yeah, right!). Did the conversation on 770am ever bring up this point???

    And I don’t seem to recall a ballot initiative allowing this toll to be implemented. Or did I miss that?

    JR

    Like

  25. JR says:

    Oh ya, here’s another point; DON’T drive on the 405 at night unless you can help it. DON’T DO IT! Its under perpetual construction (same sections all the time around the Totem Lake area) and the 2 regular lanes funnel to 1. But I NEVER see any progress in those areas! Doe anyone else find this strange??? If it took me that long to finish a job, I’d find myself out of one permanently!!!

    JR

    Like

  26. Mickey says:

    The cost to value on Sound Transit trains is disastrous, too. Where was moveon.org for that?

    Like

  27. MoveOn.org is not a group and we are in no way associated with moveon.org. MoveOn.org is a website that hosts petitions for anyone. We are just a small group of concerned citizens from Bothell and Bellevue that got together and started this movement. The question is, if it was an important issue to you, why didn’t you do something like this?
    This is the first time any of us have done this. The one thing I found most effective was that I personally called my 2 state representatives and senator and spoke with them. They turned out to be just normal citizens like the rest of us, but are your voice on issues like this. Did you contact them? If not, I’m afraid your silence made the difference. Just keep that in mind and take advantage of it the next time.

    Like

  28. Disgruntled Dave says:

    My wife and I commute Mukilteo to Redmond every day, using the toll lanes. Most of the observations cited on this site are spot on. Here are a few more:

    1. Drivers who only use the section south of 522 probably think it’s awesome, as the toll is normally $0.75 at peak times, or maybe slightly more. Those fighting the battle that begins every morning in Canyon Park are going no faster than the GP lanes, and in many cases slower, and paying a premium (was $10 today) for just those few miles. Was that the plan?
    3. It’s very disappointing to commit to the lane, and then watching the rate increase just before you get to the sign, when it’s now illegal to get out.
    4. Has anyone also considered that this is raising the cost our services in the area? More and more box trucks and service vehicles are using the toll lanes, as it’s just an expense to their company. Guess who is going to cover those expenses…

    At a minimum, they need to reset the lanes from I-5 down to 522 to just carpool, because of the bottle neck at 522. But then, I would expect that if they did that, they’d also raise the minimum occupancy to 3 to use that stretch, so we’re still screwed…

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Susan Turner says:

    I am thrilled for the people who could pay $10. a trip yesterday for being in the car pool lanes. I heard on the radio that the promised drive speed of 45 miles an hour were not met so the toll cost could even go higher. I don’t know about you but my budget will not afford a $10 to ?? amount to drive on a road that was already paid for by my taxes and free. I live in Renton and my Grandchildren live in Lynwood. It should not cost me money to visit my family or to drive them to and from my house.
    All I see is a money grab that is exploiting the traffic issues in our area. As I patiently waited for the 405 lanes to be built there was a level of excitement that this will be worth the wait. that Traffic will be improved.
    Then the big business got their hooks into our roadways. I will not give them a dime…
    I thought HOV lanes were for multi person car usage. The only ones I see in those lanes now are people with an expendable income. Mine is not…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan, you are quite right. For most people, transportation costs getting to work are not considered discretionary spending. It is a necessity, just like utility bills, for example. This is why people pay the $10 and why they will pay whatever it takes to get to work until they can’t afford to go to work. The WSDOT mistakenly assumes people’s willingness to pay is a reflection of how much they value their time when it is more a measure of how much they value keeping their job.

      Like

  30. Beau says:

    My Wife and I live in North Bothell and work in Redmond and Bellevue. We decided to buy our house in Bothell 3 years ago knowing we could use the carpool lane eveyday together. Also we were aware of the changes that were being made that would “help” the traffic not knowing that we were going to be forced to pay outrageous tolls or sit in heavy traffic everyday. Now we are having to wake up earlier, take back roads depending how traffic looks when we cross the Bothell-Everett overpass, and sit in unpredictable heavy traffic.
    My wife is now pregnant and we are seriously considering doing daycare near our work in order to use the express lanes daily at no charge.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Doug W. says:

    The 405 launch is as bad as the ObamaCare roll out.
    In other words, A LOT OF MONEY HAS BEEN SPENT FOR LITTLE TO NO BENEFIT!
    It always seems to go this way when the government comes up with some wonderful idea (I must point out to WSDOT that I meant that as sarcasm). Add another layer of infrastructure that costs more to maintain.

    They then take our comments/complaints as suggestions, trying to convince us that we are trying to help them with this mess they created by thanking us for the suggestion.
    Let’s make it clear…
    WE DON’T WANT TOLL LANES!!

    Now here IS a suggestion if these lanes are going to stay..,
    Why doesn’t WSDOT post the live toll rates so I can make a decision of not even getting on the interstate? At least this way I can take the side roads to get other things done along the way rather than sitting on a stretch of parking lot with no exit for miles!
    I’m sure they could find a high school student who lives in the state (not a student of a WSDOT employee) that wouldn’t charge too much to get the job done AND provide easy to access and accurate information! The only thing I get from the WSDOT site is propaganda or a blog site that is nothing more than an archive.
    I waste more time sitting (although I could probably now text while driving like so many others), pollute more, spend more in gas (taxes) and cause global warming! All part of the grand plan to then tax me more for destroying the planet with a larger carbon footprint that was forced on me!

    On Todd Herman’s show the other day, Lynn Peterson talked about one person who was close to committing suicide but now that the toll lane was available, her life has been saved.
    What she failed to mention was that at least 10 to 100 times as many now either consider or perform passive aggressive acts that will some day get someone killed! I have seen multiple times where people are using the shoulder ‘lane’ at high speed while I was parked.

    I also don’t understand why people pay to use the toll lanes when the general purpose lanes are moving faster and not that much traffic. Wouldn’t they feel better if they would just donate their excess money to the poor?

    Like

  32. DJ says:

    This is so sadly ironic. I’ve always hated government roads as I knew it would lead to terrible results. To those people who always bitched to me about how without government we wouldn’t have roads – like it’s that difficult to lay asphalt and flatten it – I told you so. I’d take “advertisements everywhere” over what has developed in the last 30 or so years.

    Well enjoy your drunken WSDOT workers, massive traffic congestion, cost overruns, project delays, cronyism, revenue generating fines and fees, lenient DUI sentencing, and tolls everywhere! Seriously, these people are grossly incompetent and/or corrupt to centrally plan our roads.

    I sincerely hope you win this battle, but I’m afraid it’ll be short lived.

    Like

  33. SM says:

    I take the bus everyday from Everett to Bellevue and the tolls have improved my commute time. So there are some being benefited from the tolls.

    Like

  34. Josh Jozwik says:

    I would be very sad to see the ETLs removed, as I have greatly benefited from saving about an hour or more per day in traffic by using the ETLs. Bus service from my residence in Stanwood WA to work would be about 2.5 hours each way, and my previous commute of 1.5 hours in traffic has reduced to about 1 hour with ETLs each way on average (of course ETL traffic or rain can cause delays factored into this average). I understand that drive times have increased for the regular lanes, and am also frustrated of the bottleneck from 2 ETLs to 1 ETL at Bothell. For those who do want to be able to pay a premium to get to their destination in a reasonable timeframe, what if we instead added 1 ETL/HOV in Bothell to make for a total of 2 continuous ETL/HOV lanes between Bothell and Bellevue, then reduced 1 of the 2 ETLs to the previous traditional HOV lane. Thus we would have 1 continuous ETL for those who choose to pay a premium for reduced drive times, and the other lane for 2 person HOV. This would seem to make both sides happy? Otherwise, what sorts of congestion pricing solutions might work in this case to keep both sides happy? Would there be 1 HOV lane for 2+ drivers and then all other regular lanes? My concern in this case is that adding an extra lane would not make much difference on traffic times (I would really like to see any data/examples traffic improvements by adding 1 regular lane).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congestion_pricing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

    http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Thinking-11th-Paul-Heyne/dp/0131543695/ref=sr_1_1_twi_har_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450114522&sr=1-1&keywords=9780131543690

    Like

    • Congestion Pricing does nothing to increase capacity or decrease demand. People still need to get to work, shop, etc. The goal is to reduce the cars on the road, but the ETL removed the incentive to carpool. Meanwhile, nothing was done to give people a better alternative. Before ETL, the carpool was 95% 2-person carpools and 5% 3+person carpools/vanpools/buses. The ETLs are now 90% single occupancy vehicles. Buses still can’t use the ETL north of 195th St, so they are driving on the shoulder of the road. More cars are avoiding the highway and using side streets. But they are still driving. How does this contribute to trip reduction?

      Like

      • Josh Jozwik says:

        If you are in a bus or 3 person carpool, you are moving to your destination quickly in the ETLs, during most days on the 405 corridor during rush hour, the 2 person HOV lanes were ‘useless’ moving about the same speed as the regular lanes in most places during peak traffic times. If we return to the old system of 2 person HOVs, we will have the same problem as before. The purpose of the HOV lane is to incentivize traffic to move at a reasonable pace, and clearly only 2 people in a vehicle was NOT adequate to achieve this. There are massive efforts state and local transit are taking to reduce trips and vehicles, which are a function of one of the fastest local growing economies in the world. The ETLs are 1 part of encouraging 3 person carpools and busses, thereby reducing 33% of vehicles on the road from 2 to 3 person HOVs. “Congestion Pricing does nothing to…decrease demand” is not accurate, but rather what is true is the demand is very inelastic, meaning that as prices rise, the decrease in demand is less than proportional. Public Transportation also exhibits peak pricing, charging a surcharge for peak hours when riding the bus, this encourages people who can take the buss during off peak hours to do so to make space for those commuters who need to get where they are going in a more reasonable timeframe or less crowded bus with adequate seats. I agree some improvements are needed to the current ETLs and there are some design flaws to the current system, but returning to 2 person HOV lanes is not a long term viable solution which is clearly reflected in the data.

        http://www.chooseyourwaybellevue.org/

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_demand

        http://timandjeni.com/blog/everett-to-seattle-traffic-is-blowing-up/

        http://seattletransitblog.com/2015/01/31/hov-3-not-happening-any-time-soon/

        http://www.citylab.com/commute/2011/10/only-hope-reducing-traffic/315/

        Like

        • Excellent question and thanks for the links.
          The math that requiring carpools to have 3 vs 2 people will reduce vehicles on the road by 33% is a common misconception. I will publish a more thorough analysis of the math and why, but in short:
          1. Even if you get 100% conversion from 2 person carpools to 3 person carpools, you are only reducing the *number of carpools* by 33%. But the number of carpools still make up only a fraction of the total vehicles. A much greater gain is to be made by creating more 2 person carpools from solo drivers because:
          a) there are many more solo drivers
          b) combining 2 solo drivers into a 2 person carpool results in a 50% gain vs 33% gain going from 2 to 3 persons.
          c) creating 3 person carpools is exponentially harder than creating 2 person carpools
          There are additional reasons that reduce the efficiencies of 3+ person carpools from that 33% which will be elaborated on in the coming article. Suffice it to say, 2-person carpools are the sweet spot, the bread & butter of trip reduction and should be promoted along with other methods, not discouraged.

          Like

          • Josh Jozwik says:

            So does the new plan to stop tolling provide 2 or just 1 HOV lane for 2 passengers from Bellevue to Bothell (i.e. would the net new lane between Bellevue to 522 be a regular lane or a 2nd HOV lane for 2 passengers)? Seems that changing both ETLs to 2 person HOV lanes would resolve the past issues of the 2 person HOV lanes in the region (i.e. I5 today) as being “useless” and also achieve the goal of carpools or bus riders being able to get to their destination quickly during rush hour?

            Like

            • Disgruntled Dave says:

              I agree with Carpooler. We’ve used the HOV lane for years, with 2 persons in the car. We use the ETL now, and at peak hours, and it takes longer than it used to, by far. Barring an accident, we never saw the backup through Canyon Park in the HOV lane compared to what happens every day now in the ETL. And, the buses are in the same stop-n-go traffic, and then only after they’ve sat in the GP lanes waiting to get to in to the ETL. North of 160th, the ETL and GP lanes are all far worse than they used to be with just HOV, and the only ones benefiting are single drivers who used to sit in the GP lanes but now pay for the ETL and see an improvement on their overall commute vs the GP lanes.

              Like

            • Josh, we are calling for Two carpools lanes. We need to continue to encourage trip reduction and make an attainable minimum requirement. It also calls for allowing drivers to choose when they want to enter and exit, not just the limited access points they have now, which are exceptionally dangerous for motorcycles and why WSP reports accidents have doubled. Lastly it calls for opening the lanes to everyone late night as it was before. This will improve speeds in all lanes.

              Like

        • Carpooler says:

          If your bus is going faster, that is either because you are south of 160th where there are 2 toll lanes or north of 195th St and the bus is driving on the shoulder of the road because it can’t get into the ETL.

          Liked by 1 person

  35. Josh, you might be interested in the statistics measured since tolling started. Visit the blog post titled ‘Banner Morning’. And subsequent counts of the ETL showed the solo drivers in the ETL are on the rise. Counts this morning for sets of 20 consecutive vehicles showed solo driver counts were 20, 19, 20, 18, 19, 20. In other words, out of 120 vehicles in the ETL, only 4 were a carpool. It is unknown if they were 2 or 3+ carpools, just that someone was in the front passenger seat.

    Like

    • SM says:

      Two person carpools are not the solution and not viable. Earlier there used to be two person HOV lanes and they were as good as the GP lanes. Now if the ETLs are converted two person lanes, the speed will go down to less than 45 and the toll rates will have to be increased to 20 dollars or more. More and more people should consider using mass transit.

      Like

  36. First we need to make mass transit a viable option before taking away options. Previously there was only one HOV lane. Now there are 2 lanes. That doubles the capacity for carpools. The volume of vehicles in the carpool lane at NE 124th St during maximum load (6-8AM) was 1500 vehicles per hour. The lanes can handle 1200 vehicles per hour and still achieve the 45mph minimum speed targeted. (as taken from WSDOT’s blog: http://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/i-405-express-toll-lanes-part-2-new.html ) Simply making a second carpool lane would handle the current capacity with room for growth and allow buses to run their routes reliably. Furthermore, an independent study performed for WSDOT by Cambridge Systematics clearly states that 2-person carpools would slightly outperform 3-person carpools moving more people faster. See this article reported by King 5 News:
    http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/02/17/405carpool/23533095/

    Here is the actual report 145 page report:

    Click to access 2012_1113_I405EastsideCorridorReport.pdf

    Using the lanes as 2+ person carpools carries more than double the capacity of PEOPLE than making the lanes into toll lanes filled with solo drivers, which is what they have done. Traffic counts made this morning showed 97% of vehicles in the ETL are solo drivers. 97%! Clearly, this system is not getting people to consider using mass transit.

    Next time you pay $10 to drive in the ETL, know that 75% goes to the operating costs of the system, as reported by WSDOT.

    Like

  37. Josh Jozwik says:

    Has the debt been paid from the cost of the lanes? Is the operating cost inclusive of any design & build cost? If moving to 2 person HOV, would taxpayers be responsible for any past build debt since no new revenue?

    Like

  38. DFP says:

    I am a proponent of “mobility (aka congestion) pricing”, although not necessarily of the Rube Goldberg version now implemented on I-405. I live in Seattle and have not yet driven on the I-405 HOT lanes. I have read with interest the comments of David Hablewitz, arguing for HOV2 lanes over HOT2/3 (two person vehicles go free out of rush hours, and 3 person vehicles do so during these hours) as now implemented on 405. I guess what he is arguing for is the conversion of these HOT2/3 lanes into HOV2 lanes, although the petition seems to call for their conversion into GP lanes. (If they were converted back to HOV2 lanes, then the comment of several people to the effect of, “Hey, I paid for these lanes, why can’t I use them?” would still apply.)

    My experience of HOV2 lanes all over the metro Puget Sound is that they don’t work well, daily bogging down to the speed of the adjacent GP lanes. From the comments I don’t see any evidence that this was/is any different on 405. If we want transit buses as well as emergency vehicles and critical trips to move freely, then something must be done to free up these lanes.

    If I were traffic tsar, I would make one lane each way ETL with the bar as to who-travels-free set to “vanpools or better”. These lanes would be priced to maintain highway speeds (60 mph or so) 24/7. I would also toll the current GP lanes, this time with HOV2’s going free, and priced to maintain maximum through-put, so about 45 mph 24/7. This obviously differs from current practice both on I-405 as well as on the other highways in the region.

    Revenues from this pricing could either be returned to the people, eg by lowering sales taxes, or be used to expand supply, which in the case of I-405 means more lanes.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. dwight brooks says:

    this has already been paid for with our taxes

    Like

  40. Thanks for your comprehensive blog.

    To get my daughter to her STEM school, I face a 405 commute every week day. I enter the freeway at 85th in Kirkland and drive 405-S until I-90 each morning and do the opposite every afternoon. This used to be a 20 minute drive, but averages 45 minutes now.

    The addition of the toll lane has turned a busy drive into a white-knuckled, dangerous trek. Because we are a carpool of 2 and I’m not made of money, I’m in the general purpose lanes with the other 2 person cars. But, it’s important to note, because of their configuration, I can’t enter the HOT lanes from the 85th exit, even if they change it to 2-person.

    My daily drive? Since the addition of the HOT lanes, I am cut off by fast moving cars coming off the HOT lanes and crossing over three lanes to make the 520 exit. This makes for treacherous driving, no matter how much space I keep in front of my car. The first two months of service, my daughter and I counted an average of two accidents pulled to the shoulder or on the side of the toll lanes each way. This has slowed to around one per drive, so two total each day.

    The WSDOT has endangered drivers and passengers with its bad design,putting fast cars next to barely-moving vehicles makes for a deadly mix. While some treat the new mix like a game of MarioKart, I’ve got to be patient and hope to heck the toll lanes are revoked soon.

    Thanks for listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. WSDOT certainly did not consider the needs of Kirkland residents when they created the entry and exit points to those lanes. Keep spreading the word and be sure to contact both of your representatives and your senator and talk to them so they hear this. The current bill put forth by 2 members of the legislature do not address the access point issue. To us, this is a critical component of any solution.

    Like

  42. Jason says:

    I like the fact if I use the lanes my compute home from work is alot faster. But I dont like having to pay for it now. Cause my wife and I compute to work and we work at different places. So sometimes one of us waits on the other for a little bit. So the way it is now. If we want to use the car pool line we have to pay for it. And we have grown accustomed to paying for it for our self’s. Cause the timing for the commute is just gotten worse with out paying. Before the lanes We use to leave Seattle using I90 around 3:45. and get home about 4:45 or sometimes 4:30 if we were a little lucky.
    Now with using the ETL lanes we can get home by 4:15 maybe 4:20. now that’s how long my compute should take about 30 to 40 minutes. So yes the ETL suck cause you have to pay to use them. And I feel bad for people this does affect that can’t use them. But we have created our own nightmare for comuting on 405. So not sure what we can expect to see happen now.

    Like

  43. Yes, for those willing to pay, it has improved because fewer people are using them, but at the expense of those in the GP lanes. Also, there is much more overflow into the side roads to avoid 405 altogether. Making more room for carpools is a good move.
    Taking away a GP lane to do it? No.
    breaking up the carpools for solo drivers in those lanes? No.
    Charging a fee to create an artificial supply/demand? No.
    Making it more dangerous (double the accident rate)? No.
    Making it slower for the GP lanes and other roads? No.
    Capacity was not increased and demand was not decreased. There is no net improvement.
    None of these things are offset enough by the few people getting home a bit faster to make it

    Like

  44. joshvanhulst says:

    I hate this ridiculous toll lane. It has taken away a right of way main lane away, increased congestion. They should rid the highway of the toll lane. It hasn’t helped anything

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Jeff Lykken says:

    The extortion toll lanes are the biggest mistake in transportation history. WSDOT needs to admit they made a mistake and suspend the toll lanes ASAP. The new and improved configuration would be 4 general purpose lanes and 1 HOV lane. everyone needs to keep calling the representatives and tell them to suspend the toll lane ASAP and to support representative Harmsworth and Andy Hill.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. aml10 says:

    We have to keep the momentum. Don’t let off the gas (pun intended). Under pressure WSDOT will offer trivial changes but will not be willing to reverse a $430 million multi-year project because of 26,000 complaints. Responses from Olympia (have any of them driven on 405 lately?) were condescending and played into the stereotype of an uncaring, ignorant and arrogant government. The WSDOT metrics are misleading. My own personal travel has become far worse (live in Woodinville). And when there are traffic jams on the weekends where there were none before, you know it is bad. I know the people who work at WSDOT and the Legislature and the Governor’s office good people but their time in Olympia will be shorter if this problem is not resolved (do you hear me Governor?).

    We need to keep the pressure on. Wish it wasn’t necessary but maybe a non-partisan citizen’s initiative (one that does NOT include Eyman) is required. Share the support from the business community–where employees struggle to get to work and customers don’t bother to drive because of traffic.

    The goal should be to use the freeways for the greatest number of people and the greatest good–optimizing capacity not condensing it through punishment (as though we have real alternatives for how to go to work or school) and creating unused capacity as the only way to fake compliance with the 45mph goal. I know it is hard to do but the solution they shoved through is a catastrophe. Surge pricing is distasteful enough for sporting events but should NEVER be used to distribute taxpayer-based public resources.

    I never supported Hill or Harmsworth before but I will give them a lot of credit for listening and acting. This shouldn’t be a Dem vs Republican issue–traffic is non-discriminatory. Get rid of the [surge] tolls. Get rid of the new 3 passenger rule. Get rid of restricted entry [choke] points. Let anyone with a FlexPass and two passengers drive in the carpool lanes. And loosen up the hours for no pass required.

    To WSDOT and the Legislature, I say grow up, admit the mistake,l and move on to a true fix. Be responsive. Pause the project in January 2016 and work on revamping the whole system to meet the public’s needs.

    Thank you to the people who started this petition. Let’s stay focused and non-partisan, and get this fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. You will be pleased to know that the initiative has sponsors from both parties. Also, Senator McAuliffe, Rep Moscoso, and Rep Stanford, all from District #1, have supported stop405tolls.org and arranged meetings with all of us and WSDOT officials. The steps to create an initiative are significantly more challenging than if we can get a bill passed within the legislature. But if they do not come through, we are prepared to take it to that level. 26,000 signatures in only 2 weeks is huge for a state level petition and possibly unprecedented. The legislatures and press know this and are being very responsive to that fact.

      You mentioned $430M for this project which is correct. Most people believe it to be the portion mentioned on the signs that show $155M, when infact that refers to only one small part of the overall project. Help keep the pressure on by calling your senator and representatives. There is a link to finding them in the article above. You are absolutely right about maintaining the momentum and I invite you to join the process. If interested, send an email to the address in our Contact page.

      Like

  47. Colby says:

    Hi there to all, the contents existing at this website are truly remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up
    the good work fellows.

    Like

    • Thank you, @Colby. We feel that this issue is a critical turning point in transportation here in Washington State and providing legitimate, factual, and well-supported information in a respectful manner is critical to the credibility of the arguments presented.

      Like

  48. Monte says:

    Excellent way of explaining, and good post to
    obtain information on the topic of my presentation topic, which i am going to deliver in academy.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Glad it helps. Are you a civil engineering student? If so, hopefully you can start enlightening fellow students on the failings of the antiquated use of tolls as a solution to congestion management or revenue collection.

    Like

  50. Cliff Thompson says:

    Why can’t we replace the HOV lane with light rail (mass transportation) and give the HOT lane back to the general purpose lanes. We can make consistent money off the light rail and actually reduce congestion. Right now we spend too much money digging tunnels and wastefully funding bus routes. We can change the bus routes to take advantage of the mass transportation reducing congestion and cost. Lets think out of the box. This is my idea and I am sure there are better. Right now its buses, HOV,and tunnels.

    Like

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