Puget Sound is a regional economy with regional travel and commutes. You may live in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle and commute to a job in Redmond. Or maybe you’re a baseball fan living in Kirkland and make frequent trips to Safeco Field south of downtown Seattle. There are many people who depend on 520 to make work and other trips across Lake Washington, whether they’re running errands during the week or visiting friends over the weekend.
Congestion on the 520 corridor slows down travel for everyone. Traveling at posted speed limits, a trip from Seattle to Bellevue should take 10 to 12 minutes. In contrast, travel from Seattle to Bellevue today can take an average of 30 minutes during the evening commute, and travel from Bellevue to Seattle can take even longer. This increased congestion in the corridor reflects growing populations and job centers in our region.
Between 1960 and 1970, the population on the Eastside more than tripled. Today, busy job centers on the Eastside can mean a crowded commute from Seattle to the Eastside and from the Eastside to Seattle. Since 1993, peak afternoon traffic volumes have been slightly higher westbound than eastbound. Trips on 520 have leveled off at approximately 115,000 per day since 2000.
The number of people choosing to take a bus across 520 has increased over time. Today, there are over 10,000 bus riders on 520 each day. In the morning, there are 122 westbound buses and 45 eastbound buses. In the afternoon commute times, there are 46 buses headed westbound and 113 eastbound.