LOCAL NEWS

Seattle can’t handle more vehicles, SDOT director says

Jan 4, 2017, 5:46 AM | Updated: 9:13 am
Seattle, traffic...
Seattle's director of transportation says more drivers need to ditch their vehicles and choose alternative modes of transportation. (AP)
(AP)

Seattle is overloaded with vehicles and the director of transportation says it’s time to cut back on single-occupancy transportation.

In an interview with TransitCenter, Scott Kubly, the director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, says city drivers need to cut back on their time behind the wheel.

“The City of Seattle can’t handle any more cars than we currently have,” Kubly told TransitCenter, which describes itself as a “foundation dedicated to urban mobility. “Our mode split needs to go from 30 percent SOV [single-occupancy vehicle] to 25 percent SOV and the lion’s share of that is going to be carried on the bus.”

Related: What’s planned in 2017 that could impact your commute

Seattle traffic and the ‘war on cars’

Kubly and city administration have been accused of being anti-car for years. Recently, the city received criticism for its comprehensive plan, which Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley said proves there’s a “war on cars.”

“The city has been denying there’s a war on cars for a long time,” he previously told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “It’s very explicit that there is indeed a war on cars when you dig into this growth plan. There are all kinds of stuff in there about how they want to turn street right-of-ways into parklets and cafes. It talks about how cars are the least efficient use of streets. There’s also some policy changes that … have some far reaching effects on Seattle and across the whole region that will increase congestion instead of battle congestion.”

As Dudley pointed out, single-occupant vehicles are inefficient. By reducing the number on the road, it improves the level of service throughout the city, officials argue. He also said city hall is assuming that driving is optional — a lifestyle choice — which isn’t always the case.

War on cars or not, data shows traffic congestion remains horrific within city limits. GeekWire recently reported that Seattle tied for the fourth-worst among U.S. cities for overall traffic. The city’s traffic caused a “31-percent spike in extra travel time in 2015,” GeekWire reports.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff told TransitCenter that with Seattle being one of 11 metropolitan areas that will welcome in the majority of 70 million estimated people in the U.S. by 2040, officials have to act now to make sure the city’s roads don’t become more congested.

Sound Transit CEO: Voters have forgiven us for past troubles

People in and outside Seattle haven’t ignored the problem, however. Voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties approved the $54 billion Sound Transit tax package that will allow the agency to expand light rail service throughout the region and improve Sound’s bus service.

King County Metro plans to add buses in March and again in September to relieve crowding and make routes more reliable. The agency is also working on RapidRide expansion and a long-range plan.

In Seattle, voters passed the $930 million Move Seattle levy that will support road maintenance and repair, as well as pedestrian and bike safety projects, bridge repair, congestion relief, improve light rail connections, according to the city.

And the city is already pulling lanes away from single-occupancy drivers for the benefit of buses. For example, the city is converting a westbound lane of Denny Way into an eastbound bus-only lane. The city is also giving buses head starts at traffic lights to help bus drivers avoid long backups and difficult lane changes.

But thanks to an ever-growing population, it sounds as if more drivers will need to make what can be a difficult switch to public transportation.

Local News

A home in Bellevue slid off its foundations and collapsed. (Photo courtesy of BellevuePD/Twitter)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Bellevue home slid off foundation and collapsed

A home in Bellevue slid off its foundation early Monday and has collapsed. Officer rescued two people inside the home.
8 hours ago
Pierce County, hit-and-run...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Pierce County hit-and-run driver strikes two 12-year-old girls, killing one

A devastated Pierce County father is pleading with a hit-and-run driver to come forward after his 12-year-old daughter was killed and her friend injured.
8 hours ago
shooting...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Man shot, killed in Seattle’s Central District

An investigation is underway after a 36-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday night in Seattle’s Central District.
1 day ago
Gas-powered yard tools...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

State lawmaker proposes bill to offer people money in exchange for gas-powered yard tools

A state lawmaker from Seattle is pushing to offer financial incentives to state residents if they give up their gas-powered yard tools.
1 day ago
Potholes...
MyNorthwest Staff

Nearly 600 potholes reported to SDOT last week in wake of frigid weather

Frigid temperatures have had the Seattle Department of Transportation working to fill hundreds of potholes across the city in January. 
1 day ago
asian giant hornets, british columbia...
Nicole Jennings

State makes discovery about Asian giant hornets eradicated in 2021

The Washington State Department of Agriculture made a promising discovery about the origin of the Asian giant hornets eradicated in 2021.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Seattle can’t handle more vehicles, SDOT director says