traffic congestion | KUOW News and Information

traffic congestion

With traffic congestion getting ever worse in the Seattle metro area, two classes of solo drivers are asking for permission to use the carpool lanes.

But it's a hard sell in Olympia.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Traffic engineers have lots of projects planned for downtown Seattle in 2018. In the short run, they could cause more congestion. But they say it'll be worth it in 2019, when even bigger projects are planned.

A toll area on Interstate 405.
Flickr Photo/SounderBruce (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ruiWYC

Bill Radke talks to Ed Barry, the Toll Division Director with the Washington State Department of Transportation, about a new report (PDF) that recommends raising the price of the top toll on Interstate 405 past $10.

It was one of a series of recommendations to keep traffic flowing on the busy corridor.  WSDOT has also conducted a study analyzing the effectiveness of I-405 tolling as the population in the region continues to grow. 

See that car in the middle lane zipping to the front of the line? You hate that driver, but they're actually doing the right thing, known as the zipper merge.
WSDOT

Three years ago, we ran a story about a little-known traffic tip known as the "zipper merge." 

In short: Drivers should use all lanes leading up to a merge point, rather than clog up one lane. Arrived at the front of the line, drivers in all lanes take turns merging. This is not cheating! (See image above for why the seemingly polite way gunks up traffic.) 

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Traffic engineers have a nickname for the years 2019 to 2021, when a slew of new megaprojects will get underway in downtown Seattle around the same time. They call it “The Period of Maximum Constraint.” Translated into plainspeak, it means during those three years, we’ll be up the creek in a leaky canoe without a paddle.