Posted on January 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM
Friday, Jan 27 at 8:26 AM
SEATTLE -- Last week you could blame the snow, but this week the snow is gone but the traffic is still terrible.
It is a problem that everybody's noticed, even the Washington Department of Transportation, but is harder to expain. There have been accidents. It's rained a lot and tolling on the 520 bridge is still taking a toll on the volume of traffic on Interstate 90.
"It was almost unbearable. I would have rather have driven in the snow and ice than the way it was now," said Alex Johnson.
Johnson is a student who commutes between the Eastside and north Seattle.
And even though the snow is gone, the commute this week seemed a lot worse than usual. From Interstate 90, to the 405 and I-5, it seems there is nowhere to turn unless you were willing to pay the toll on the 520 bridge.
"Normally, I come down I-90 and away I go and get here in good time. I look at our mobile app. And that now would take 39 minutes," said Kevin Foreman.
Foreman was stuck in the traffic too. But traffic is his livelihood. He is vice president for mobile applications for Inrix
, a company that tracks and analyzes traffic.
"This [trip] usually takes me 20-something minutes," said Foreman.
But why all this red, all this stop-and-go traffic?
"The short answer was we closed West Lake Sammamish Parkway because the storm and the road got washed out. And that put the pressure on a lot of Microsoft employees trying to get to Redmond," said Foreman.
It's not just the freeways and the bridges. Losing a major arterial can have effects far and wide on every road and freeway.
"I think a lot of [the problem] had to do with the fact that we're all playing catch up for the week," said KING 5 traffic reporter Tracy Taylor
But Taylor has her own theories, and it involves the toll. The first month of tolling bills just went out.
"A little sticker shock, basically. And you're like, 'I'm not going to pay that any more. So I'm moving over to I-90,'" said Taylor, describing what she believes area commuters are thinking.
The SR-99 viaduct work and the slowdown by the stadiums doesn't help either. People who used to take the viaduct into the city, even from the Eastside, are now taking I-5 instead.