Advisory committee chosen to review tunnel-tolling scenarios

It’s a popular question: So when the Highway 99 tunnel opens, how much will the toll be? That has yet to be decided – but the City Council has just appointed 15 “community representatives” to an Advisory Committee on Tolling and Traffic Management for the future Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront replacement. Here’s the official announcement, with the list of appointees. They’re tasked with working with the city and state “to review potential traffic impacts on city streets and I-5 for different tolling scenarios for the SR 99 tunnel; explore ways to refine tolling strategies to meet state funding goals and minimize diversion; and also investigate strategies to reduce or mitigate diversion.” They’re supposed to come up with “preliminary tolling and traffic recommendations” by the end of next year.

22 Replies to "Advisory committee chosen to review tunnel-tolling scenarios"

  • grr September 19, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    Mann..they have a LOT of balls to charge a toll, and NOT PUT IN ANY DOWNTOWN EXITS! Good god. I’m frankly, all for the tunnel, and getting rid of the eyesore and potential death trap of the viaduct, but wtf is the point if you CAN’T EXIT DOWNTOWN??

  • chas redmond September 19, 2011 (4:50 pm)

    I don’t see anyone on the panel representing “citizens,” or “tax payers,” or “residents.” I see a lot of interest groups being represented. At this point I see no reason to trust any recommendations which this group produces. Call me a skeptic, but I still say a tolled tunnel will Balkanize Seattle like no other scheme could.

  • Alki September 19, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    I have zero faith with anything to do with the roads in this town.

    No downtown exits !?! Really? What’s the point of even doing it then.

    Seattle why do you hate cars so much?

  • old commuter September 19, 2011 (6:42 pm)

    I’ve made the commute to Ballard since 75. Really bad when the new bridge was under construction. Glad i can make my own hours now. In 20 years, you guys will be voting in a new viaduct downtown!

  • george September 19, 2011 (7:14 pm)

    What is a Bellevue City Council member (and resident) doing on this committee??? As if they don’t already have enough transportation problems and issues of their own, WE DON’T NEED THE EASTSDIE PERSPECTIVE FROM SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T USE THE PROJECT!!

    The only other gap I am shocked over is no Sierra Club representation (but can’t overlook the Cascade Bicycle Club member!).

    Seattle Politics: absurdly predictable.

  • helridge September 19, 2011 (7:17 pm)

    A toll to slow traffic even more, great.

  • Herman September 19, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    I’m pro-tolls. All over the place, not just the tunnel. I’d like to start with both bridges and the tunnel. If you use it, pay for it.

  • flynlo September 19, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    I’m more interested in if they are tolling the tunnel or SR99 from the West Seattle freeway as was contemplated in some of the prior planning.

  • Mike September 19, 2011 (8:33 pm)

    Glad to see that the panel is limited to downtown interests – less friction that way. Oh, if you depend on using 99 to move north and south, bend over.

  • redblack September 19, 2011 (9:18 pm)

    what a joke. now that is the true “seattle process”: big business proposes a stupid idea. big business gets its way. seattle learns to like it. seattle pays for it. seattle mitigates it.
    sheer genius!
    maybe these dorks should have though of mitigation before they thought of maxing the statutory tolling limit just to fill the budget shortfall for DBT. but, uhh… oh, yeah! they failed at that, too. oops! well, thank gods the private corps who own the port terminals coughed up $300 million to cover the rest of the budget shortfall.
    i say we drown this process immediately, drop the viaduct, shove it into the bay, and start from scratch. it would be quicker and it would cost less than dealing with this nonsense.
    oh, and to grr and alki: i’m guessing you supported this idiotic venture because it’s a roads project – and, well, it’s something, right? but did you ever stop to wonder how traffic might possibly ascend from 200 feet underground to street level in tiny downtown seattle?

  • Pete September 19, 2011 (9:32 pm)

    y”all must see something that I am missing. I think this is a well rounded group that represents a lot of differing interests and that is what you want in this discussion. The proposal has always included tolling the tunnel piece from the very early stages of this project.

  • metrognome September 20, 2011 (12:48 am)

    well, in 10 years, I’m looking forward to being able to see the waterfront from downtown, which will attract way more visitors than having their host driving at 20 mph in the fast lane of the viaduct pointing out the mountains as 100’s of cars back up behind them. I’m looking forward to taking a walk along a revitalized waterfront without the roar of cars overhead making conversation impossible. On the nights when one of our sports teams is losing again, I’m lookin forward to traffic actually moving through downtown instead of being gridlocked by the Seneca St off-ramp and the Columbia St on-ramp.
    Pete — you’re right, that selection represents a wide range of interests and expertise, considering that this is a STATE highway that moves a lot of freight and does more than connect WS to downtown.
    redblack — you’re pretty quick to insult people just because they disagree with you. Maybe you should go look at Peg Staeheli’s company website and get some idea of her work before you call her a dork (her last name is misspelled in the press release.)

  • Rick September 20, 2011 (3:07 am)

    Yes,”I’m looking forward to be able to see the waterfront from downtown” is good if you’re “downtown”. How many of us actually live there and what’s the view from a tunnel? This is what it’s all about, money and views, ‘cuz it sure ain’t about moving people and cars. Buuuuutttt, they’ll sure let us pay for it.

  • metrognome September 20, 2011 (3:12 am)

    flyinlo — here’s the info on the tolling study; I assume this will be the starting point for the city’s advisory committee:

  • redblack September 20, 2011 (6:25 am)

    metrognome: the way i see it, this is a sales job to get people to use the tunnel. plain and simple. i think WSDOT is getting nervous about just how much diversion will occur.
    didn’t mean to insult anyone, but the topic is infuriating.
    when they’re discussing strategies to make people use the tunnel, they should consider hiding the king street exit sign behind some bushes and making the ramp really hard to navigate. then more motorists will take the tunnel and pay the toll.
    or maybe they could put the toll readers at spokane street and the aurora bridge. then people will be like, “oh, noes! i got tolled! might as well take the tunnel now.”

  • WS commuter September 20, 2011 (9:25 am)

    redblack – but you DID insult people. You chose to call people names. Immature and juvenile. This blog deserves better.

    The anti-tunnel folks – as you are – will continue to complain and find fault with the project. God bless you – speak you mind. But civil discourse is preferred here.

    Everyone take a big, deep breath. Relax. It will all work out. Some things will be better (revitalized waterfront); some will be worse (no downtown exits) – but we’ll all figure it out and move on. Chill people.

    My bias? I’m pro-tunnel … and have no problem with the folks on the advisory committee – these are adults who know what they’re doing.

  • Always confused September 20, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Is anyone considering the idea that the tunnel has been designed to be an express past downtown? We are essentially using surface streets to get down there anyway at this point…when all the construction is done, won’t it be nice to be able to get past the downtown area without having to navigate the backed up right hand lane that is currently the Seneca exit? Just staying positive…it doesn’t hurt as much!

  • george September 20, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    They are McGinn Puppets. Plain and simple.

  • metrognome September 20, 2011 (2:05 pm)

    no, george, they aren’t. They are exceptionally well qualified to do the tough job they have ahead of them. Their role is to offer advice to the decisionmakers on how to keep a large volume of people and freight moving through downtown, not only on SR-99 but also on I-5 and the surface streets.
    Again, being insulting doesn’t really get your point across.

  • george September 20, 2011 (8:38 pm)

    You believe what you want to believe. Credentials? Sure. Close to the Mayor? You bet.

  • george September 20, 2011 (11:55 pm)

    Oh yeah, Claudia and her Bellevue City Council is really on top of their own projects, moving and a shaking. Now really, WHY is she on this committee?

  • redblack September 21, 2011 (6:07 am)

    george: the “mcginn puppet” comment makes no sense. mcginn wants real solutions to mitigation and tunnel toll traffic diversion.
    why do you think he was fighting WSDOT and the governor? because standing on his principles didn’t gain him any friends politically, now, did it?
    metrognome: care to discuss the actual issue?
    for example, why is seattle charged with mitigation and reducing diversion, and how will it be paid for? will we have to use our new MVET for that, instead of transit? why wasn’t mitigation in the budget for replacing the viaduct?
    oh, yeah. i forgot. “the budget is already strained to the breaking point. don’t worry. seattle will do it. or not. who cares?”
    lastly, when alaskan way is finished, the south end replacement is finished, spokane street viduct is complete, the port grade separation is finished, mercer I is complete – sometime early in 2013, i hope – the state should open an exit from 99 at king street, close all others on the viaduct, and start tolling.
    then – and only then – will they come anywhere near finding out what the real impact of DBT and toll diversion will be.
    seriously. they don’t have to wait for the tunnel to open in order to start tolling. they have a $400 million statutory cap, anyway.

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