The state says we won’t know the full traffic impact of the 520 tolls for six months but that hasn’t kept Seattle from trying to analyze the early results. Pictures of an empty 520 are too easy. There’s more going on. Seattle Transit Blog takes an effectively simple look at choices now faced by the city’s commuters: “If they’re in a hurry (like most freight presumably is), there’s now a fast way across the lake. If they’re not in a hurry, they can still be thrifty.” Meanwhile, a new presence enters our collective smart phone — 520or90.com.
Anecdotes we’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook and have heard from friends usually boil down to the joy at speeding across 520 or the painful sadness of being slogged down on 90. KOMO TV ran a kind of silly anecdote that a gas station in Montlake is already suffering from the tolling. Montlake, by the way, has also suffered new vandalism as taggers have targeted the new “smart” signs above 520, according to a recent police report. Another anecdote relates to bus riders as we’ve been told that it seems like frequency of routes like the 545 have been increased — though we’ve not yet confirmed that with Sound Transit. We’ve also witnessed some peculiar new traffic patterns. Can anybody explain the new back-up that forms on the Montlake exit of eastbound 520? Presuming these are people who are getting off the highway to avoid the toll, where are they headed once they exit at Montlake?
So, while we wait six months to figure it all out, what are you seeing now that the first real commutes of the first full work week of 2012 are underway?