Things are settling down a bit for us cross-lake commuters, but it's hard to say if next week will be better or worse.
On the one hand, according to WSDOT, people are still deciding what their commute will be as tolling continues for the next 45 years. Some who tried to outwit the toll monsters by crapping up my commute are rethinking. That $7 a day is starting to look pretty tasty right about now. I say this with love at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.
But, right now, there just aren't that many of us driving around in general, according to WSDOT data. Total volumes are still down by 7% because of people who are still on vacation (!). And, tellingly, volumes are down 11% on all cross-lake bridges. So many people are just opting out of the whole thing. La la la la I can't hear you.
Here are a few more fun facts I got from a fun chat with WSDOT's Patricia Michaud.
How many people are avoiding the toll? Traffic volumes are down about 48% on the 520 bridge (hear that, people? TASTY commute!)
How long will tolling go on? Current estimate: until 2056.
Why didn't you just toll BOTH bridges at once instead of forcing us all to scramble? That was discussed, along with myriad other options, by the 2007 Tolling Implementation Committee. It was decided this was best. For one thing, all the money will be used to build the shiny new 6-lane 520 bridge. People were afraid I90 users would not want to be tolled to pay for 520 (try me!).
When will the 520 people go back to their own bridge? It's happening already. On Wednesday, 5,000 more people crossed 520 than did on Tuesday.
If you have any questions, post them here and I'll call Patricia back and get you some answers.