Feb 10, 2016

 Source: WSDOT via

Congestion relief and mobility are top priorities for the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. To sustain a vibrant economy that works for all, employees, residents, consumers and commercial drivers have to be able to get where they need to go with a fast and reliable travel time. I-405 is the central artery for East King County and vital to the long-term success of our business climate. So, not surprisingly, the recently implemented managed lanes with tolls have generated a lot of energy and conversation.

The Bellevue Chamber’s Board of Directors took on this issue at the January Board meeting, receiving timely updates, including the latest data, from WSDOT and INRIX, a private firm that offers real-time traffic data.

While their data told different stories, the view from the 10,000 foot level is that HOT lanes appear to be working for those who are willing to pay for a faster trip. Not surprisingly, tolls are exceeding revenue expectations. For those traveling in the general purpose lanes, however, travel times have lengthened and total hours of congestion have increased. With these changes, new pinch points and safety challenges have also emerged.

Following this presentation, Eastside Business Leaders met with our legislative delegation in Olympia to voice frustration and to offer solutions to improve travel times in the I-405 corridor for all users. As a follow up, our Transportation Committee received an update from WSDOT staff on the I-405 Master Plan (projects from 2016 – 2024), as well as clarification of key data points included in the earlier presentation.

Chris Johnson, Director of Government Relations for the Chamber has been actively working this issue. He is a great resource if you need additional information. He would also like feedback from you and your workforce. Understanding real impacts helps our lawmakers find meaningful solutions. Please, tell us how you have been impacted (good or bad).

Our goal is to influence good public policy decision making that keeps Bellevue and the Greater Eastside as THE choice for businesses, talent, customers and residents alike.

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