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Report: Traffic has declined on the 520 bridge despite Microsoft’s employment boom
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Report: Traffic has declined on the 520 bridge despite Microsoft’s employment boom

Report: Traffic has declined on the 520 bridge despite Microsoft’s employment boomIt’s about that point of day when 1000’s of geeks hop of their vehicles and make the commute over the 520 floating bridge — the predominant artery connecting Seattle and Redmond. For these caught in site visitors — which could be notably horrendous on days when the solar emerges after lengthy spells of cloudy climate (like at the moment) — the commute is one in every of the most dreaded components of the day.

However right here’s some information you most likely don’t wish to hear (or gained’t imagine) in case you are about to get caught in the 520 mess. An analysis by Clark Williams-Derry at the Sightline Institute finds that site visitors patterns on the state route 520 bridge even have declined in the previous decade. (See chart under).

That shocked us, partly as a result of Microsoft’s employment in the area has mushroomed throughout the similar interval Williams-Derry analyzed.

Microsoft, which is by far the greatest contributor to commuters on the 520 bridge, now employs 40,000 people in the Puget Sound region. (89,000 worldwide).

Meaning the firm has added roughly 15,000 staff in the Seattle space alone in the previous 5 years. Much more startling, when you take a look at the employment development at Microsoft in the area since 1995, it has added a whopping 30,000 staff right here.

Now, a few of these employees could also be telecommuting, dwelling on the Eastside already or hopping on the Microsoft Connector bus service. However, I’m guessing, quite a lot of these employees are additionally driving of their vehicles over the floating bridge.

So, how has site visitors truly declined given these employment positive aspects?

That’s a great query, and we’ll most likely want a transportation or statistics guru to assist determine it out.

However Sightline’s Williams-Derry is utilizing the evaluation — together with what he says are some wild future site visitors projections for the bridge from WSDOT — to shine a light-weight on what he perceives as a wasted funding in a plan which is transferring forward to increase the 520 bridge to 6 lanes.

“It could be humorous—if the state weren’t planning billions in new freeway investments in larger Seattle, based mostly largely on the perceived “want” to accommodate all the new site visitors that the fashions are predicting will present up, any day now,” he writes.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has continued to fight the 520 bridge venture as effectively, and a blog post from the Mayor’s office today jumps on the numbers as effectively.

“Designing for 1000’s of vehicles per day that won’t present up has resulted in a venture with six lanes and a much bigger footprint,” the Mayor’s workplace wrote. “An even bigger footprint may price us extra money, extra lack of wetland habitat, and trigger greater impacts to Seattle’s neighborhoods.”

In addition they level out that site visitors throughout the bridge possible will drop as soon as tolling begins, which is scheduled to occur this summer season (however has been delayed on a number of events already).

Apparently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke of the bridge project at Seattle Rotary late final month, noting that it was the kind of progress the area wanted with the intention to stay aggressive.

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