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Friday, August 24, 2007

What Do You Do If Your Predictions of “Nightmare” Traffic Prove Wrong?

posted by on August 24 at 10:56 AM

Just pretend there was a “traffic nightmare” on I-5 anyway.

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The "traffic nightmare" was actually on 599 and the Viaduct. My bus was 30 minutes late earlier this week due to traffic backups there. They should have just stuck with running buses on I-5.

Posted by Orv | August 24, 2007 11:00 AM

God, enough already. I bet the backup would have been a lot longer if the buses had just let people get on and off wherever they pleased rather than at the designated stops.

Posted by Enough is enough | August 24, 2007 11:08 AM

I went from Redmond to West Seattle via I-90 and I-5 at 5:30 last night. It was mildly annoying. Does that count?

Posted by chris | August 24, 2007 11:10 AM

This whole deal of, "was the traffic nightmare overblown," seems like a non-story to me. Who cares? We all fared better than expected. Isn't that a good thing? Why penalize folks and instead make a big deal out of the fact that things turned out better perhaps because for once people listened and altered their habits for a couple weeks.

Posted by brad | August 24, 2007 11:21 AM

@4: It's not a non-story to ECB, because the other half of the argument is going to be, "Well, the I-5 partial closure went fine, so that means nothing bad will happen if we take out the Viaduct."

Posted by Orv | August 24, 2007 11:22 AM

The nightmare was on 520 from the Eastside to Seattle, because everyone skipped I-90 and the I-5 mess.

It was a PARKING LOT at 7:30 p.m. last night. I'm sure all those drivers would be delighted to hear it wasn't a nightmare.

Posted by BB | August 24, 2007 12:01 PM

@4: Who am I "penalizing"?
@ 5: That's absolutely true. In fact, I've already made that argument numerous times on slog.

Posted by ECB | August 24, 2007 12:06 PM

@6: How does the I-5 closure direct traffic to 520? The only closures are northbound up the I-90 interchange, so traffic on either bridge should be unaffected (except, I guess, there might be *less* eastbound I-90 traffic because there's less traffic from I-5 turning onto I-90).

I guess some people might have confusedly thought there was a problem with I-90 ramps onto I-5, but it's been, what 2 weeks? Surely they should have figured it out by now.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 24, 2007 12:25 PM

You've been Snotty McSnotterson about the I-5 traffic sitch since it started. Why not give people an iota of credit for having read/listened to the warnings, making adjustments to their routines and adverting the major hassle everyone thought this would turn out to be? What did you want, more "Metro sucks" letters to cheer on yet another one of your insipid tirades?

Don't you have a Frito pie to make? Scoot along now...

Posted by How many fines have you had? | August 24, 2007 12:36 PM

A temporary bottleneck on I-5 in the summer is not the same thing as a permanent one on 99.

But even if it were, why would anyone wish that I-5 situation onto 99 into perpetuity? Why would anyone advocate for increased commute times and less efficient circulation of traffic?

The density that the Stranger advocates for is only going to increase demand on the highway. Seattle's one and only transit system uses the highway to move people around.

Posted by Highway Star | August 24, 2007 1:21 PM

(8) Predicting changes in travel conditions is one of the most difficult things to do in transportation planning, and effects often pop up in unexpected places.

(5 and 7) I think "went fine" depends on who you're talking to or how you define "went fine." If you define "went fine" as "traffic congestion on I-5 was better than expected," then yes, it went fine.

On the otherhand...(10) You can make a pretty good argument that highways can make "circulation" worse, not better.

And for ECB:
-It's kind of ironic that you're so critical of the predictions of massive traffic tie-ups, when that messaging was probably the main factor in getting enough people to change their travel behavior.
-A two-week, well publicized closure during vacation season is *a little* different than a permanent change. Yes, it's nice supporting data for the S/T option, but saying they're the same thing is a gross oversimplification.

Posted by daytrpr | August 24, 2007 1:31 PM

@10: Not to mention, what happens if we get rid of the Viaduct and then have to do another I-5 closure? This construction project highlights how important it is to have redundant routes.

Posted by Orv | August 24, 2007 1:38 PM

@11: Yes, fine, there could be effects in unexpected places. But the author of #5 said unequivocally that a backup westbound on 520 was due to northbound lane closures on I-5 south of I-90. Given that there is no logical reason why this would be so, and given that backups on 520 westbound happen all the time, you'll forgive me if I'm skeptical as to the conclusion drawn.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 24, 2007 2:50 PM

The non-clusterfuck of the I-5 closure is encouraging. I never thought that many decent Seattleites, whose lifestyles require them to use 4-wheels, could cooperate so unstubbornly and unselfishly. I'm truly amazed. Good job, metro area!

Now, if we can build off of that sense of the overall transportation good to increase Metro ridership, carpooling, vacationing (har-har), making the Water Taxi permanent, and even actually building more rapid transit, I think we're onto something.

It still comes back to the same thing, though. This particular situation with I-5 forced people to use what, I'll argue, is seen by many as meager, inconviently-scheduled, or temporarily available options to avoid driving. The real deal is that Seattle and the metro area needs various, redundant ways of getting from where people live to where people want to go.

Oh, and thank you Viaduct. You were a very pleasant old man about the whole shitty I-5 thing.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 24, 2007 3:29 PM

Last night at the PCC Wine Tasting we had a bunch of people from the Eastside. They said it's more that their co-workers took vacation - that's why it's not so bad.

Oh, and they agree that the Eastside - where they live and work - needs light rail or monorail or something, not new highway lanes.

Someone at DOT is messing up BIG TIME.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 24, 2007 3:32 PM

oh, and they all love the Viaduct, ECB.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 24, 2007 3:33 PM

just because it wasn't an unmitigated disaster doesn't automatically make it an unqualified success.

erica, advocacy journalism has a long, proud history. congrats on doing your best to tarnish it. advocacy shouldn't be equivalent to 'lack of professional ethics'. your willingness to pimp your beliefs regardless of facts or common sense is truly a sight to behold.

Posted by jason | August 24, 2007 3:56 PM

Viaduct shut down = massive congestion

I-5 repaved = little disruption

therefore the Viaduct should be shut down.

Pacifists want the war to end.

Marines want the war to end.

therefore Marines are pacifists

this is fun

Posted by whatever | August 24, 2007 3:59 PM

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