A new national study conducted by the TomTom navigation company ranked Seattle as the fifth most traffic-congested city in the United States. The Seattle Times,
“Drivers in the metro area spent an average 89 hours of last year delayed in traffic jams, and an evening commute that should take 30 minutes at the speed limit averaged 53 minutes, the company’s data found. The quickest commutes are Friday morning and Monday evening, while the slowest are on Thursday afternoons. Congestion increased 4 percent for the year, Tom Tom said.
“These numbers are no surprise to local commuters, and they fall in line with other measures by the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Kirkland-based INRIX data company, who both see rising congestion in the post-recession economic boom here. INRIX ranked Seattle ranked eighth-worst in the U.S., as of mid-2014.”
Seattle’s new rank renews questions as to why traffic congestion relief is not a priority for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). As Shift reported, Democrat lawmakers removed congestion relief as a funding priority for the state in 2007. They also created a list of six goals of transportation policy—congestion relief did not make the cut.
Last year, Republican lawmakers in the state Senate attempted to remedy the state’s lack of consideration for Washington’s working families and growing businesses. They introduced a transportation plan that includes “reducing transportation congestion” among the state’s transportation goals. Unfortunately, Democrats, backed by extreme transit groups with vested interests in ensuring that doesn’t happen, refused to participate in or support the plan.
Senate Republicans have insisted WSDOT revise its priorities to include congestion relief as part of their transportation package. Though this need reform passed with a bi-partisan vote in the state Senate, the Democrat-controlled state House has yet to act on the package. Top Democrat lawmakers have hinted their plans to hold the transportation package hostageto their tax demands.
Just another form of congestion that doesn’t bother the Democrats in Olympia.
Mark A. Sanders says
No surprise here. I used to work in Renton. I will not drive over in the Seattle metro unless I must. I even had a conversation with one of the city engineers concerning congestion at an intersection and his comment was “this is not a problem, the cars are stacking up rather nicely”. At that point, our conversation was over…
Central Puget Sound’s voters, via our elected officials, have asked for the authority to tax ourselves for $15 billion worth of Sound Transit projects. Even though this would be entirely our own tax money, and we’d still have to vote to tax ourselves, Republicans in the Senate have snottily told us that we’ll have to “settle” for $11.5 billion of our own money.
Meanwhile, Sen. Baumgartner wails that a mere $420 million of other people’s money just isn’t enough for the Spokane Freeway project: he wants over twice that amount — over three-quarters of a billion dollars! — of other people’s money, and he wants it now:
The package provides $861 million to complete the North-South Freeway, which will bypass North Division Street from Wandermere to Interstate 90. Right now the freeway stops just short of Francis Avenue. A previous $420 million proposal from the state House would have continued it almost to the Spokane River, but would have stopped before completing the final link to I-90.
Spending other people’s money is a particular point of pride for the big-government senator:
Overall the Senate plan spends nearly $1 billion in Spokane County and provides a net return of $1.35 for every dollar Spokane sends to Olympia in the form of gas taxes and other fees.
I am sorry I for one do not feel sorry for Seattle and King County transportation . Blame the Democrats and their plan for 80% on 20% of the land GMA plan. Seattle and King County stop any developement outside King County or Seattle. The sportsvenues should have been built else where. Had more economic developement and roads been done in Kitsap,Maso,Thurston counties it would have spread out the traffic. But back in the 70’s and 80’s the Dems were out saying no urban sprawl. Well you got what you wanted,live with it.
Blame the Democrats and their plan for 80% on 20% of the land GMA plan.
It’s the Republicans who are trying to stop “Seattle and King [and Pierce, and Snohomish] County transportation” from improvements via more mass transit, while they demand ever-increasing amounts of other people’s tax money to solve their own transportation problems.
The sportsvenues should have been built else where.
Seattle’s voters rejected both stadium deals; the Republican-controlled legislature then raised Seattle’s taxes to build the very same baseball stadium we’d explicitly just rejected. Again, go complain to the Republicans about what they did, and don’t blame us Seattle voters, who’d tried to stop the stadium from being built.
Had more economic developement and roads been done in Kitsap,Maso,Thurston counties it would have spread out the traffic.
And then those places, like Spokane, would be demanding ever more tax money from central Puget Sound to fix their traffic problems. Thank you for pointing out the success of the GMA in reducing problems.
Bradley Whaley says
Are you going to argue that the Democrats have not been complacent with funding infrastructure? They only have themselves to blame for ignoring basic maintenance of the roads in Seattle. But hey, “get on your bike and ride”!
Are you going to argue that the Democrats have not been complacent with funding infrastructure?
It’s the Republicans who are trying to stop “Seattle and King [and Pierce, and Snohomish] County transportation” from improvements via more mass transit, while they demand ever-increasing amounts of other people’s tax money to pave more freeways for themselves.
But hey, “get on your bike and ride”!
It’s my favorite form of commuting. The new “cycle tracks” Seattle is building — over the opposition of this site, of course — make bike commuting faster and safer, yes.
Washington state is run by Liberals – is there any surprise that they have screwed things up??
Brandon Parsons says
Traffic problems in this state (specifically Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue) are not the result of it being a liberal failure, but rather a liberal success.
Republicans, for all their hubris, are terrible at understanding the relationship between economics and people. You don’t build Microsoft’s and Amazon’s and Boeing’s out in the middle of cow country. You need a large, concentrated population to provide the skilled labor necessary. But this creates economic bastions like Seattle and Bellevue that attract commuters from the outlying areas (suburbs and exurbs) who want what I call “the country cost of living on the big city paycheck”. This is where our traffic problems come from, we can’t create enough roads or parking spaces in and around Seattle without attracting even more suburb and exurbs dwellers to switch their employment to higher-paying Seattle.
My employer in Kent pays $4-$8 more an hour than similar companies in Fife, Olympia, or Everett. The reason people don’t just commute to Kent for the higher pay is traffic. But their commuting would create even more traffic. See the catch-22? That’s why Democrats aren’t keen on building more roads, it won’t fix the traffic problem. It creates an equal increase in traffic. Mass transit (like a dedicated train through the suburbs to major employers) might help, but there are a lot of NIMBYs and anti-mass transit Republicans blocking these projects. And even Democratic voters prefer driving their own cars to taking the train, but if everyone does that we end up with the traffic mess you see today.