The C is for Crank

On First "Real" Work Day, No Big Backups Due to 520 Tolls

By Erica C. Barnett January 3, 2012

Yesterday, when I noted that the number of cars on the 520 bridge was down substantially, without a corresponding major traffic increase on non-tolled, parallel, I-90, a number of commenters noted that "most people" were still on vacation, and that the "true test" of traffic between Seattle and the Eastside wouldn't come until today, when everyone went back to work.

In reality, I think we won't have a complete picture until traffic patterns resettle, as people discover that free alternate routes aren't actually faster, but let's take today's commute as a starting-point litmus test.

Here's what the Seattle Times had to say about this morning's traffic:
About 37 percent fewer drivers than normal crossed the 520 bridge between 6 and 7 a.m. this morning, transportation officials said. ...

Officials were closely watching other major roads, including Interstate 90, to see how they would be impacted by drivers changing their routines to avoid the tolls.

But early this morning, there were no reports of significant delays.

Overall, the typical morning commute on parallel (and toll-free) I-90 increased an average of 4 minutes, the Bellevue Reporter reports.

Although a King County Metro spokeswoman says the agency won't have ridership data for its cross-lake routes until the end of the week, anecdotal evidence suggests that more people are riding across the bridge (and enjoying a faster commute). I also have a call out to Sound Transit for ridership stats on their bus routes across 520.
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