Downtown Congestion Pricing [Tolls] Not Good Idea For Seattle

Recently, there was a great Editorial in the Seattle Times articulating why Seattle should not implement congestion pricing [tolls] on downtown streets. As the Times said "These charges would do little to curb automobile usage in the Seattle area. But they would make Seattle less accessible, more inequitable and a less appealing place to live, work, shop and be entertained. Seattle faces enough challenges attracting visitors from the greater Puget Sound to support its stores and entertainment venues, including publicly funded facilities such as the upcoming waterfront park and aquarium....”

It’s just another example of our City leaders chasing new revenue sources without considering the damage it would cause to our vibrant downtown. And what about those of us who already live downtown? Will we have to pay tolls to go to and from our residence to work, to shop, to take kids to and from school [there are none downtown], etc? It would be adding insult to injury to require us to pay tolls on top of our high property taxes and the new downtown LID assessment, while diminishing the attractiveness of downtown as a place to live, to shop, or to visit.

"If Seattle wants to reduce vehicle emissions [and they should], it should prioritize congestion reduction in street [and building] design. Its approach should be based not on a Utopian fantasy of a carless city, but the fact that cars will continue to be a major mode of transportation.” And they need to factor in the high and growing impact of delivery vehicles and TNCs [like Uber].  "Even if user fees are added regionally to roads, and transit investments continue apace, automobiles will still handle 74 percent of trips in central Puget Sound in 2040, according to the latest Puget Sound Regional Council transportation plan. Transit will handle 5 percent of trips in 2040, up from 3 percent in 2014. Yet overall vehicle miles traveled per day will rise 22 percent and hours lost to delays will increase 44 percent."

In our opinion, downtown tolls should be a one-way ticket out of office for any elected official. They just don’t make sense.