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Old February 2nd, 2008, 06:01 AM   #1761
HAWC1506
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Originally Posted by BoulderGrad View Post
• Possible short diesel trains on the Eastside, from Woodinville to north Renton.
How is that going to work? I JUST came up with this question, do the rails from North Bend (the ones that start from Snoqualmie Falls) connect to Issaquah and Bellevue?
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 06:26 AM   #1762
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The big congestion is south of Northgate, where there's no longer an HOV lane. A rail transfer is a LOT better than direct service.
It would be better if they extended to Jackson Park/NE 145th, cause that's where the actual congestion starts. It is because of the loss of the HOV lane and the additional loss of the right-most general-purpose lane that causes the congestion at Northgate (sometimes around noon) and about average extends to south of NE 145th. Another factor is that between the main chokepoint and the start of the congestion (NE 145th) there are few SB exits for drivers to escape from I-5, plus congestion at the Northgate exits.

Well, if you get what i'm saying, ST should try to find a way to extend light rail to Jackson Park so buses can actually avoid all the congestion (assuming passengers make a rail transfer at Jackson Park).
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 11:07 PM   #1763
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Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
It would be better if they extended to Jackson Park/NE 145th, cause that's where the actual congestion starts. It is because of the loss of the HOV lane and the additional loss of the right-most general-purpose lane that causes the congestion at Northgate (sometimes around noon) and about average extends to south of NE 145th. Another factor is that between the main chokepoint and the start of the congestion (NE 145th) there are few SB exits for drivers to escape from I-5, plus congestion at the Northgate exits.

Well, if you get what i'm saying, ST should try to find a way to extend light rail to Jackson Park so buses can actually avoid all the congestion (assuming passengers make a rail transfer at Jackson Park).
Northgate is all we can really count on. Remember, if they spend more in that subarea, they'll have to spend more in the others.

Anyway, look at the congestion. This is last Tuesday, 9 am. I looked around on the WSDOT traffic map archive to find this, and I think that's representative of the worst traffic we commonly get. The express lanes end at Northgate. You can have much more consistent commute times just transferring there. (note - I live near the a in 'Seattle', just north of 520 and east of 5, and bus across 520 every day).


Last edited by UrbanBen; February 2nd, 2008 at 11:24 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 11:12 PM   #1764
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How is that going to work? I JUST came up with this question, do the rails from North Bend (the ones that start from Snoqualmie Falls) connect to Issaquah and Bellevue?
It's not. The state is discussing a quick study of the corridor in committee right now, but the point of the study is to put this idea to bed at least until we solve our more major problems.

Transit demand in the eastside n/s corridor is an order of magnitude lower than it is in the westside n/s corridor OR in the cross-lake corridor. That's not about to change in the next 10 years, either - unless the eastside suddenly has a 100% annual growth rate I was unaware of. Demand growth in the primary corridors is happening just as fast anyway.

Most of those 405 trips are coming from very low density that we can't support, and a 35mph commuter train isn't going to make those people choose a mode transfer in the middle of their trip. The best we can do is make density growth easier in the big corridors.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 07:16 AM   #1765
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It would be better if they extended to Jackson Park/NE 145th, cause that's where the actual congestion starts. It is because of the loss of the HOV lane and the additional loss of the right-most general-purpose lane that causes the congestion at Northgate (sometimes around noon) and about average extends to south of NE 145th. Another factor is that between the main chokepoint and the start of the congestion (NE 145th) there are few SB exits for drivers to escape from I-5, plus congestion at the Northgate exits.
.
Well a lot of people at Northgate get on I-5 and have to merge through four lanes to get off at an exit on the left side of the freeway, so how the freeway configurations are a major factor in the congestion, and I think it's something WSDOT has to address quickly.

The way we build our freeways now is just going to be a problem in the future. The way I-90 is built east of Bellevue is really nice, and rarely is there major congestion or problems in that area. Yes there is less people traveling on that stretch of I-90, but lane markers are clear, the pavement is smooth, visibility is great without sharp turns, and the spacing of exits and configuration of lanes are nicely done. I could only wish that I-5 is done the same way.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 11:41 AM   #1766
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I-5 has so many problems that need fixing, I'm surprised it doesn't get more mention along with Seattle's other transportation Woes.

Yes, we need light rail, light rail, and more light rail. But traffic still isn't going to go away until we do something about all the bottlenecks that litter I-5. (The first major one being the express lanes at northgate, second, the express lanes themselves, and third, the jumble of exits downtown.). Getting I-5 moving better means any freeway based bus system (like the BRT mentioned in the workshop plan) will also move that much better. We need something like we saw in Denver with T-rex. Not a region wide plan like prop 1, but just a central Seattle combined freeway and transit improvement project. The only expansion to the freeway needs to be bus lanes or HOV lanes, cut the express lanes out all together, or turn them into a dedicated bus route, remove an exit or two down town, and fix up the interchanges on the rest. That, along with light rail up and running from Northgate to Kent, we'll be seeing a lot more Green on that traffic map.

edit:
Almost forgot the debacle of the southern end of the northbound express lanes. If the express lanes aren't open, the freeway basically goes from 4 lanes to 2 in a matter of about 200 feet... And even if they are open, the traffic merging back and forth and people exiting at Seneca in the middle of all of it turns the southern end of downtown into a parking lot... what the eff? (God I hate driving in this city).
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 09:30 PM   #1767
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I-5 has so many problems that need fixing, I'm surprised it doesn't get more mention along with Seattle's other transportation Woes.

Yes, we need light rail, light rail, and more light rail. But traffic still isn't going to go away until we do something about all the bottlenecks that litter I-5. (The first major one being the express lanes at northgate, second, the express lanes themselves, and third, the jumble of exits downtown.). Getting I-5 moving better means any freeway based bus system (like the BRT mentioned in the workshop plan) will also move that much better. We need something like we saw in Denver with T-rex. Not a region wide plan like prop 1, but just a central Seattle combined freeway and transit improvement project. The only expansion to the freeway needs to be bus lanes or HOV lanes, cut the express lanes out all together, or turn them into a dedicated bus route, remove an exit or two down town, and fix up the interchanges on the rest. That, along with light rail up and running from Northgate to Kent, we'll be seeing a lot more Green on that traffic map.

edit:
Almost forgot the debacle of the southern end of the northbound express lanes. If the express lanes aren't open, the freeway basically goes from 4 lanes to 2 in a matter of about 200 feet... And even if they are open, the traffic merging back and forth and people exiting at Seneca in the middle of all of it turns the southern end of downtown into a parking lot... what the eff? (God I hate driving in this city).
We can't make our highways move better until we have a comprehensive rail system. We sprawled, and until we infill, we can't decrease highway congestion.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 09:31 PM   #1768
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Well a lot of people at Northgate get on I-5 and have to merge through four lanes to get off at an exit on the left side of the freeway, so how the freeway configurations are a major factor in the congestion, and I think it's something WSDOT has to address quickly.

The way we build our freeways now is just going to be a problem in the future. The way I-90 is built east of Bellevue is really nice, and rarely is there major congestion or problems in that area. Yes there is less people traveling on that stretch of I-90, but lane markers are clear, the pavement is smooth, visibility is great without sharp turns, and the spacing of exits and configuration of lanes are nicely done. I could only wish that I-5 is done the same way.
Okay, then vote to pay for it... (not you personally, but us in general).
We won't. We feel like expansion needs to come first, and "fixing" later.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #1769
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Okay, then vote to pay for it... (not you personally, but us in general).
We won't. We feel like expansion needs to come first, and "fixing" later.
Exactly, and expansion's only a temporary solution and the public doesn't understand that. But I agree with an above post, I-5 doesn't seem to be getting the attention it needs, and when it does, it almost always gets poorly done (e.g. the bridge between West Seattle Bridge and I-90, the pavement could have been paved better). Yes people were under stress, yes there was a time crunch, but the way WSDOT offered 100,000 dollars to the contractor for every day that it was completed early translates into unnecessary time crunches and worker fatigue/unnecessarily long shifts. I think it would be more feasible to take a couple extra days to get things done right than offering money for every day it is completed early, when what happens is corners are cut and quality goes down. What I see in our public and management is all short-term thinking, and very little long-term plans in terms of transportation.

A California super-highway 6 lanes wide have higher accident ratings and congestion than a 3-lane German autobahn. It's also the way we drive, the way driving laws are enforced, and the configuration of the highways themselves.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #1770
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Just to summarize (I think): build light rail first to take pressure off I-5 when it does get rebuilt. The stretch in question (based on info from WSDOT) is between the King/Snohomish county line and Tukwila. We need a light rail segment (plus buses and Sounder) to serve that stretch, so commuters who drive can park at park-and-rides in the suburbs and take transit into Seattle. Once we have that stretch built (and well-established), WSDOT can effectively rebuild I-5 without making hell for everyone. But, it all depends on the commuters themselves, whether they still love their cars or do they want to take the "cool" way.

Everyone got the picture?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #1771
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Just to summarize (I think): build light rail first to take pressure off I-5 when it does get rebuilt. The stretch in question (based on info from WSDOT) is between the King/Snohomish county line and Tukwila. We need a light rail segment (plus buses and Sounder) to serve that stretch, so commuters who drive can park at park-and-rides in the suburbs and take transit into Seattle. Once we have that stretch built (and well-established), WSDOT can effectively rebuild I-5 without making hell for everyone. But, it all depends on the commuters themselves, whether they still love their cars or do they want to take the "cool" way.

Everyone got the picture?
No, we will never have the money for an I-5 rebuild. WSDOT estimated that even adding one lane each direction (in 1997) from end to end of the city limits would be $25 billion - and given inflation, that'd be $40 billion today. Sure, we'll re-pave 5, maybe we'll replace a ramp here or there, but it's unlikely any large-scale work or widening will ever occur until the physical structure needs replacement.

We'll build light rail to Northgate, and then we'll build rail to Ballard and West Seattle, and when those are dramatic successes, we'll build rail to Renton and Bothell, and maybe Issaquah.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 01:03 AM   #1772
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No, we will never have the money for an I-5 rebuild. WSDOT estimated that even adding one lane each direction (in 1997) from end to end of the city limits would be $25 billion - and given inflation, that'd be $40 billion today. Sure, we'll re-pave 5, maybe we'll replace a ramp here or there, but it's unlikely any large-scale work or widening will ever occur until the physical structure needs replacement.

We'll build light rail to Northgate, and then we'll build rail to Ballard and West Seattle, and when those are dramatic successes, we'll build rail to Renton and Bothell, and maybe Issaquah.
Are you talking about in the near future or the unforseeable future? I'm just trying to remember what WSDOT said on their website. Sure, I understand that I-5 cannot even be repaved with the current funds available; I was just stating the idea that light rail needs to "take over" for I-5 (or other routes) whenever there is construction work (whether repaving or rebuild) so commuters aren't stuck in a jam, kind of like the August I-5 construction.

All i'm saying is MORE LIGHT RAIL!
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Old February 5th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #1773
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Are you talking about in the near future or the unforseeable future? I'm just trying to remember what WSDOT said on their website. Sure, I understand that I-5 cannot even be repaved with the current funds available; I was just stating the idea that light rail needs to "take over" for I-5 (or other routes) whenever there is construction work (whether repaving or rebuild) so commuters aren't stuck in a jam, kind of like the August I-5 construction.

All i'm saying is MORE LIGHT RAIL!
Further expansion would be a waste of time/money/resources and unreasonable. IMHO.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 02:06 AM   #1774
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Further expansion would be a waste of time/money/resources and unreasonable. IMHO.
I wasn't talking about widening I-5 (if that's what you're talking about). Who the **** would want to widen I-5 any bigger than it is now?

Again, more light rail, period.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #1775
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I wasn't talking about widening I-5 (if that's what you're talking about). Who the **** would want to widen I-5 any bigger than it is now?

Again, more light rail, period.
The dingbats at WSDOT, who can't seem to understand why European highways can function so smoothly with half the lanes that we do. They claim adding lanes increase capacity, if you look at their website it's all, "Adding this lane will increase the freeway capacity by 50 percent." Yeah they mean increasing the number of cars able to be parked on the highway by 50 percent. We "increase" safety (note quotes) by adding lanes and lowering speed limits. Europeans increase (notice no quotes) safety by enforcing traffic laws and keeping their roads in good shape. Prime example: The German Autobahn. No speed limit, lots of trucks, yet accident rates are one of the lowest in the world.

BTW I read somewhere that there was a bill that addressed the passing law and fought to enforce it, but it was turned down by lawmakers.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:37 AM   #1776
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I don't get it that European highways have less lanes and don't get much congestion like here in the US. What you described doesn't make sense to me.

How can cars going at high speed have less congestion, if lot of cars pour in during rush hours on a 6 lane freeway. You would need to find the AADT numbers of a 6 lane freeway in Europe during rush hour in a major metro area and compare it to a 6 lane freeway in a major metro area in the US to see if it makes any difference. If it has similar numbers and doesn't get congested in Europe and it gets congested here, would that be strange? Yes, it would. I noticed on I-405 going north which is 5-6 lanes then narrows to 3 lanes at the junction of SR 522 and it gets congested. It doesn't happen everyday, though. Congestion can happen all the way from Bellevue to Bothell area.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #1777
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I don't get it that European highways have less lanes and don't get much congestion like here in the US. What you described doesn't make sense to me.

How can cars going at high speed have less congestion, if lot of cars pour in during rush hours on a 6 lane freeway. You would need to find the AADT numbers of a 6 lane freeway in Europe during rush hour in a major metro area and compare it to a 6 lane freeway in a major metro area in the US to see if it makes any difference. If it has similar numbers and doesn't get congested in Europe and it gets congested here, would that be strange? Yes, it would. I noticed on I-405 going north which is 5-6 lanes then narrows to 3 lanes at the junction of SR 522 and it gets congested. It doesn't happen everyday, though. Congestion can happen all the way from Bellevue to Bothell area.
The reason Europe has less congestion is that they load-balance onto trains. A region like ours in Europe would have half a dozen mainline rail stations and a dozen tram routes, plus likely a couple of subway lines. Strasbourg (the European city I'm most familiar with) has five tramway lines and several SNCF stations, and they're a city of 275k in an urban area of 700k. Seattle's 600k, plus the Sound Transit district (which is a good approximation of 'urban area') has about 2.7 million.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #1778
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You would need to find the AADT numbers of a 6 lane freeway in Europe during rush hour in a major metro area
Got from here
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:11 PM   #1779
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That sounds like they never get congestion due the numbers for a 12 lane highway (6 lane each way). That's similar number of lanes to Seattle's I-5 which gets almost 300,000 per day on the ship canal bridge.

So more cars use the highways here in the US than in Europe. That explains why it almost never get congested.

We seriously need to look more into transit and focus less on highways. Less cars use the highways will equal less wear on the infrastructure and spend more on the highway improvements.

Last edited by sequoias; February 6th, 2008 at 09:18 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #1780
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I think Prop 1 had the right idea about a comprehensive focus. A lot needs to happen simultaneously:

Transportation
- Alternative transportation method expanson (preferably rail along most traveled corridors and destinations)
- Freeway capacity expansion (405 is the epitome of this problem)
- Freeway connectivity (167 anybody?)
- High-Capacity roadways (BRT and HOV - they're proven to help)

Development
- Infill/brownfield development (Tacoma is a good example of the need here)
- Increased density (Yes, funnily enough, density can solve some problems)
- High-Capacity corridor focus (like along rail lines)

Enforcement
- I don't have any really good examples off the top of my head for this, so if anybody wants to fill in this section, go a head and I'll edit later.

Anyhow, there's a lot of different issues that need to be looked at within and beyond transportation that need to happen in in conjunction with each other in order for our urban environments to be more livable - and for the purposes of this discussion that means less congestion.
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