Home What's Brewing? Techspresso News: Seattle to Bellevue-Redmond Drive Now Taking a Toll

Techspresso News: Seattle to Bellevue-Redmond Drive Now Taking a Toll

What does the coming year hold in store for mobility, commuting and accessibility around the Puget Sound?

The tolling that is set to begin this week on the 520 floating bridge between Seattle and  Bellevue-Redmond, beginning at 5 a.m. on December 29th, won’t “bridge” into other transportation systems. The oll revenue is expected to shore up existing bridge infrastructure and maintenance, including pontoon construction in Grays Harbor, and floating bridge construction and improvements on the Eastside, which already are under way,” stated Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.

According to WSDOT,  more than 120,000 commuters have activated new Good to Go! passes since February and more are expected. In anticipation of more registrations, WSDOT “has extended call center hours and hired extra customer service staff,” WSDOT spokeswoman Janet Matkin said. “Customers can purchase the popular sticker passes at Costco,Safeway, Fred Meyer and QFC and activate them online.”

Based on WSDOT models, the 520 toll will slow traffic on I-90 by about 5 mph during the peak period. Drivers who have a Good to Go! pass will pay up to $3.50 to cross the bridge between Bellevue and Seattle—depending on the time of day. If you don’t have a Good to Go! pass, a crossing will cost you as much as $5.

Public transportation users may want to take a closer look at Sound Transit’s upgraded website which now offers smartphone users better access to bus and train schedules. Riders can plan bus and train trips, locate stops, look up schedules, find parking sites and use GPS technology to enter start and end points in a trip planner.

Major milestones for area transportation round the Sound  in 2012 include:

  • Completion of major tunneling operations on the 3.1-mile University Link light rail expansion between downtown Seattle and University of Washington
  • Beginning of early construction work on the North Link light rail expansion from UW to Northgate
  • Entering design/build  for the South Link extension from Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street
  • Finalizing design on East Link light rail
  • Opening the Sounder commuter rail extension between Tacoma and Lakewood
  • Building Mukilteo Sounder station’s south platform and the permanent Tukwila Sounder Station

Sound Transit still receives the bulk of its funding through sales tax revenues and a smaller percentage from the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) and car rental tax within the Sound Transit District, which covers the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. In 2012 the agency estimates it will collect $557 million from the retail sales and use tax, $131 million from federal grants, $72 million from the motor vehicle excise and rental car tax, $44.2 million from farebox revenues.

VISION 2040 is a regional strategy for accommodating the 5 million people expected to live in the region by 2040. [24×7]


Washington State Ferries Docking On  Your GPS Port

Got a ferry to catch? Washington State Ferries can now you tell When your ship will come in. The newly enhanced  VesselWatch  will reveal the estimated time of arrival of your ferry by comparing GPS and historical data to the record of similar vessels at similar locations along the same route.

Weather and marine conditions are also taken into account in calculating ETA.

Ferry riders will also find each vessel’s scheduled departure, actual departure and the estimated time of arrival below the VesselWatch map.

The Seattle P-I reports that the Seattle/Bainbridge Island, Mukilteo/Clinton and Point Defiance/Tahlequah, will be on a holiday schedule on Dec. 26, [24×7]