Haha. Just kidding. I love saying "I told you so."

Anyway, as I've written a million times in the past, I firmly believe that people are adaptable. If prices go up for our favorite foods, we'll buy generic rather than just go broke or starve. If it gets too cold for our comfort, we'll turn the heat up or put on a sweater. And if traffic to our usual destination becomes unbearable, we'll find an alternate route, reduce our driving frequency or drive at different times, or find alternatives like carpooling, walking, or riding the bus rather than sit in traffic.

As I predicted last year, that's exactly what's happening on the newly tolled 520: People are finding alternatives.

However, defying polls predicting that a strong majority of existing 520 traffic would shift to I-90 (and that 13 percent of 520 commuters would move elsewhere to avoid the toll), what appears to be happening is that people are choosing options that don't require driving at peak hours at all---shifting to flexible work schedules, vanpools, carpools, and buses.

Yes, as The Seattle Times notes, the true test of drivers' behavior will come tomorrow, when many commuters will return to work for the first time. But so far, the news is promising: Of about 85,000 cars that typically cross the bridge on a typical December 29, just 44,300 did on that date last week---a drop of about 48 percent. (The drop is more precipitous---about 60 percent---when compared to typical weekday traffic on the bridge, about 112,000 cars a day).

Where did all the drivers go? Not to I-90, which saw only a 2 percent increase in traffic over typical daily volumes. (That's compared, by the way, to the state's prediction that ten times as many drivers would switch to I-90). Part of this is that driving all the way from 520 to I-90 isn't really convenient; 520 and I-90 are nearly four miles apart, a stretch that spans I-405, which itself is usually clogged at rush hour (the time when most people will want to avoid the toll.)

But part of it is, as mentioned, that people are adaptable. If driving becomes too inconvenient or expensive, they'll find alternatives. They always do.
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