Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the country. To complicate matters, we are actively building out infrastructure as the region is growing. This only exacerbates the problems we face and the reality is we may never truly fix the problem with the current approaches and Washington's historically poor performance.
We also have some of the most expensive infrastructure costs in the country. We spend $156 million/mile on street cars. We spent $74 million to fix the "Mercer Mess" only to save 2 seconds for most drivers.
The city ignores several realities. The first is we do not have the mass transit infrastructure to get people out of their cars. The second is we have over 1 million new people moving to the region in the next 25 years. Third, even the most environmentally conscious person wants to regularly explore the beauty of our region surrounding Seattle. Our approaches will fail and are failing miserably. Even when ST3 is fully built out, it will be outdated and inadequate for our region.
- Convert all traffic lights to adaptive traffic light technology to change the timing of the lights based on real-time traffic. We must eliminate the pre-timed light system we have now.
- Replace Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge, and the Montlake Cut Bridge with tunnels and eliminate the traffic clogging draw bridges when they are ready to be replaced. This will help the maritime industry as well.
- Expand employer-based transportation programs like Microsoft's Connector.
- Promote and expand telecommuting.
- Develop a city-wide high-speed urban gondola system. We can build the entire system for the price it costs to build 2 miles of streetcar rails. We can connect all seven hills and have stops only at major neighborhoods or run down major arterials such as 15th Ave, Aurora Ave, and California Ave to downtown. Cities including Brooklyn, Washington, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Baton Rouge, Austin, Tampa Bay and Miami are all considering these systems.
- Pedestrian bridge over Mercer.
- Remove traffic pinch-points caused by buses or other obstructions.
- Require parking spaces in all new buildings. We are creating both a parking problem and a traffic problem.
Traffic Solutions We Can Implement Immediately