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Author Topic: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets  (Read 1018 times)

theroadwayone

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Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« on: April 14, 2018, 04:46:37 PM »

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/seattle-mayor-wants-a-tolling-plan-to-reduce-traffic-congestion-greenhouse-gases/

The short version is that Seattle is looking at a congestion charge plan for their surface streets to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases. If this goes anywhere, it could be in place by 2021.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 03:39:24 PM by Bickendan »
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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 05:58:11 PM »

I'm certainly open to the concept once Hwy 99 and various light rail lines are finished. There are many ways to access the city without using a car, with even more options planned for the future. I don't see why the majority of people need to access the downtown core with their cars. Those that need to can pay the toll. It's not like they're banning access altogether. I think their goal is to encourage more people to leave the car at home or at the park and ride, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will be easier done than said once more of the Link system is built out.
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 09:48:36 PM »

Funny, Durkan was seen as the more conservative option in the mayoral race. She was endorsed by the conservative leaning newspaper (The Times) and the political establishment.

I'm shocked she's trying to push this through in her first term (though not a single mayor since 2009 has been elected to a second term). In my opinion, it's too soon to be proposing a congestion charge, with our transit plan not fully built out. A few days before unveiling the plan, the mayor cancelled the downtown segment of the streetcar (which would have linked together our two current streetcars and provided some decent last-mile connections from Sounder and Link) and put a lot of bike projects on hold.

The congestion charge does make sense once we can siphon away riders from three directions onto light rail trains in 2024. Downtown Seattle's traffic is largely caused by single-occupant vehicles, who only carry 25 percent of commuters; compare to 47 percent using transit and it looks like there's a priority/equity problem.

There's a lot of details that will need to be worked out before this can be implemented, though. The state ferries unloading cars at Colman Dock will need to be given a "free" path to I-90 and I-5 (via SODO), so there will need to be restrictions on streets leading to the new Alaskan Way.

Bickendan

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 02:50:49 AM »

Simple, you elect liberals, and you shall reap what you sow.
You elect conservatives and the hep kittens do all the reaping and sowing while you sit back and relax.
NE2 beat me to the snark. Broadbrushing liberals is not a smart tactic, because conservatives are equally subject to such.

That said, keep politics to a minimum. While politics are intrinsically tied to roads, political discourse here trend dangerously to derail our threads.
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vdeane

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 07:44:59 PM »

I certainly hope this doesn't go through, mainly because it will make clinching I-90 impossible for me until toll interoperability with E-ZPass happens (which I don't expect to be for at least a decade or two); I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.
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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 07:54:10 PM »

I certainly hope this doesn't go through, mainly because it will make clinching I-90 impossible for me until toll interoperability with E-ZPass happens (which I don't expect to be for at least a decade or two); I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.

I'm pretty sure the tolled area won't include 4th Ave that far south. The core of the city (the area most likely to be tolled) is mostly north of Yesler Way, which is nine blocks north of I-90's terminus.
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 07:55:14 PM »

I certainly hope this doesn't go through, mainly because it will make clinching I-90 impossible for me until toll interoperability with E-ZPass happens (which I don't expect to be for at least a decade or two); I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.

I-90 doesn't terminate in downtown proper, so it probably won't be included. If you're driving west off I-90, you can easily drive south away from downtown and into SODO to avoid the (most likely) toll zone.

...But really, hoping that congestion relief doesn't happen because a clinch would be made slightly difficult? It's not like parts of I-90 aren't tolled already...

vdeane

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 08:14:05 PM »

I'm pretty sure all tolls on I-90 are in the E-ZPass zone, so I'd be fine with those.  And if this doesn't include anything that would render me unable to clinch I-90, I don't care.
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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 08:51:37 PM »

I'm pretty sure all tolls on I-90 are in the E-ZPass zone, so I'd be fine with those.  And if this doesn't include anything that would render me unable to clinch I-90, I don't care.

God forbid the toll zone did include the I-90 terminus, I'm sure the toll system will include more than just pay-by mail options. Perhaps pay by phone, online, or even a temporary transponder. I highly doubt it will be limited to mail and transponders. I'm guessing that Seattle will attempt to model the congestion charge zone after the London system. That system has all of the options listed above as well, usually listed on signs throughout the charge zone.
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bing101

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 01:25:57 AM »

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/seattle-mayor-wants-a-tolling-plan-to-reduce-traffic-congestion-greenhouse-gases/

The short version is that Seattle is looking at a congestion charge plan for their surface streets to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases. If this goes anywhere, it could be in place by 2021.

Thoughts?

San Francisco considered a similar proposal for their city streets and that's under debate though.
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kkt

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 01:40:07 AM »

I certainly hope this doesn't go through, mainly because it will make clinching I-90 impossible for me until toll interoperability with E-ZPass happens (which I don't expect to be for at least a decade or two); I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.

So, plan your trip now.  :wave:  The congestion charge hasn't even passed yet, let alone been implemented.

I'd expect at least one free route out of downtown to the south from the end of I-90 anyway.
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vdeane

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 07:01:42 PM »

I'm afraid I won't have the money for a two to three week long road trip for quite some time (I don't fly, so I'd need to drive both directions).  Hotels get expensive.  Would be nice to build up my accruals a little more at work and pay off my student loans too.  At least after my one week long trip to Florida and back next month, I should at least have a better idea of what long trips are like.

I actually do have some idea of what my first planned cross-country trip would look like.  I'd head west on I-90 to clinch it, south to Portland (hopefully they won't completely toll I-5 or other roads, but at least that would be merely disappointing), do a loop to the coast to visit "Arcadia Bay" (yeah, I'm a huge fan of Life is Strange), and head back east along I-84 and I-80.

The only other transcontinental routes I currently have plans of clinching are I-95 and the mainline Trans Canada (TCH 1, ON 17/417, A-40/25/20/85, NB 2, NS 104/105, and NL 1, though I also want TCH 1 in PEI).  Maybe I-80, I-70, I-75, and I-85 eventually depending on what the future holds.
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kkt

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 07:12:08 PM »

I doubt they'll toll I-5, but there's always 101.  It's much prettier, anyway.
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vdeane

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 07:41:28 PM »

I'm talking about Portland's tolling proposal with I-5.
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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 09:07:53 PM »

vdeane, are you mostly averse to tolling outside of the northeast due to interoperability issues with EZ pass, or tolling in general? I would have guessed that you wouldn't mind tolling, considering where you live.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2018, 01:45:48 AM »

I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.

Don't worry.  When I last drove the 520 it took two months to receive the bill, as an Oregon resident.  I couldn't even pay in advance in Washington's system, at least at the time.

I wonder if, as a NY resident, you'd even receive a bill...
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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 02:25:43 AM »

I couldn't even pay in advance in Washington's system, at least at the time.

Still not possible, unless you get a temporary tag from a store. By far my biggest gripe with the WSDOT system. Before BC removed the tolls from the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridge, you could log on to the TReO website to pay your tolls afterwards. Much easier than waiting for snail mail.
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vdeane

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 01:21:19 PM »

vdeane, are you mostly averse to tolling outside of the northeast due to interoperability issues with EZ pass, or tolling in general? I would have guessed that you wouldn't mind tolling, considering where you live.
Mostly the interoperability issues.  I've heard many horror stories regarding bill by mail.  If I tried it I know I'd be a nervous mess until the bill came wondering it it was just taking them a long time, if they don't bill NY, or if the bill got lost in the mail and I'd be on the hook for violation fees through no fault of my own.  That's why I avoid them.  I also don't like the idea of having to pay an extra fee for bill by mail, even without violations.  With cash, you paid the toll and that's it.  Same for a Thruway E-ZPass (we have no transponder fees, either initial or recurring, beyond a tag deposit that is refunded when you set the account to automatically replenish).  Most bill by mail systems include an extra charge to look up the plate and mail the bill.

I'm not the greatest fan of tolls, at least for things that aren't obviously more expensive than a standard road like large bridges or tunnels, but I don't usually go to any particular effort to avoid them either if they take cash or E-ZPass, though I do worry that the increasing amount of tolling proposals will make road trips more expensive in the future.  If I can slip in a clinch before something becomes tolled without too much trouble, I will, but obviously that's much easier for me in the NY/New England area than the west coast.
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kkt

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 02:29:52 PM »

Out of the entire cost of the trip, you're worried about a pay-by-mail fee that might be as much as a couple of bucks?

In Washington, visitors do have the option of setting up an account based on your license plate, so as to avoid the pay by mail charge entirely.  Don't know about Oregon...

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2018, 02:40:36 PM »

Out of the entire cost of the trip, you're worried about a pay-by-mail fee that might be as much as a couple of bucks?

Plus administration fees (which can be as high as $25), plus late fees for not receiving the first one when it was supposed to come, etc.
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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 02:59:26 PM »



I don't do bill by mail under any circumstances, so having to give up on my long-held dream would be very disappointing.

Don't worry.  When I last drove the 520 it took two months to receive the bill, as an Oregon resident.  I couldn't even pay in advance in Washington's system, at least at the time.

I wonder if, as a NY resident, you'd even receive a bill...

Freewayjim still got a bill in Atlanta when he took the bridge 2 years ago. Would still take a while I bet.

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jakeroot

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 05:04:57 PM »

Out of the entire cost of the trip, you're worried about a pay-by-mail fee that might be as much as a couple of bucks?

Plus administration fees (which can be as high as $25), plus late fees for not receiving the first one when it was supposed to come, etc.

Neither has been my experience with WSDOT. Before I got my toll tag, I paid exclusively with pay-by-mail (I didn't use the toll bridges enough to warrant spending time on a tag). The pay-by-mail fee is $2 on top of the toll, and that's it. Even if you don't pay it on time, WSDOT usually drops the fine off completely if you just try and contact them. Someone in vdeane's situation would almost certainly get the fine dropped.

This is all assuming that the mail gets lost, which is pretty damn unlikely anyways.
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signalman

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 05:11:29 PM »

^ In any case, I certainly wouldn't let it deter me from clinching I-90.  I don't have a lot of money, but I most certainly wouldn't let a few dollars stand in my way of a goal.  I also wouldn't fret over it after it was all said and done, but to each their own.

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 07:34:07 PM »

It's not like there aren't other ways of clinching I-90. Plenty of buses will continue to travel through the I-90 terminus onto city streets, which can count. You can even walk up to the first eastbound reassurance shield for photos.

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Re: Seattle Plan to Toll Downtown Streets
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 08:15:48 PM »

There have been cases of people getting assessed hundreds of dollars in late and violation fees before they even knew anything was wrong, bills being sent to the wrong person, etc.  Even ignoring that, it's the principle of the matter.  With cash, the toll was the toll was the toll.  There was nothing on top.  While there are some places that carry that through to bill by mail, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the vast majority do not.
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