Central Puget Sound

Green Light for Adding Toll Lane To Hwy. 167

Lawmakers' approval of the Highway 167 project is one more sign that tolls could be a big part of the region's transportation future, as both a source of money and a way to manage traffic. The 167 HOT (high-occupancy-toll) lanes are scheduled to open in late 2007 or early 2008. Similar projects already are operating in Southern California and Houston. Minneapolis plans to open one next month. Many transportation planners tout HOT lanes as tools to give commuters choices, use freeways more efficiently, generate revenue and perhaps reduce congestion. Public-opinion research suggests many Puget Sound-area motorists, unfamiliar with tolls, are skeptical about HOT lanes. But Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis said they're worth a try because congestion on 167 is so severe and other possible remedies are so far in the future. Read More ›

Waterfront: Time For An Extreme Makeover?

A transit hub at the north end of the downtown Seattle waterfront and a tunnel from the waterfront to the Seattle Art Museum are two options the city should consider, according to Bruce Agnew of the Cascadia Center. “The point we’re trying to make here is that the waterfront can serve as a place to connect people without cars,” Agnew Read More ›

Perhaps the Next Big Idea Is… Auto-Mobility

In a recent tour of the transportation policy horizon, Seattle Times’ editorialist James Vesely offered an intriguing observation. “Environment-first groups have the big idea on their side… But the other side has no competitive big idea. They talk capacity while the greens talk about how we live.” Transit theologians have hammered at the notion that auto use is morally wrong. Read More ›

Gasoline use down in state, study says

During the past decade, SUVs seemed to take over the roads. Average incomes rose. The price of gas remained relatively low. And yet, despite all that, per-capita gasoline consumption in Washington actually dropped 2 percent, according to a new report from the Seattle think tank Northwest Environment Watch. The report attributes the decline mostly to “smart-growth” policies aimed at reining Read More ›

As Traffic Worsens, Economic Reality Could Take its Toll

Paul Heyne, senior lecturer in economics at the University of Washington, asks: When the population of an area grows, why is it that the roads get congested but the movie theaters don’t? His answer: Because you have to pay to see a movie. If people could walk in free, Heyne writes, “I would predict a growing problem of theater congestion.” Read More ›

Commentary: Cascadia’s future in the spotlight

September 25, 2000 By JIM TORREYand SUSAN CASTILLOTHIS WEEK, leaders from the Pacific Northwest will gather in Eugene to share economic and environmental strategies. How can we help our economy and our communities thrive in an increasing global world? How can we link high speed rail, revitalized downtowns, trade and tourism corridors, and environmental efforts to improve our quality of Read More ›