September 29, 2011
We will restripe the lanes on eastbound SR 520 to Sr 202 this weekend.
August 25, 2011
We are developing a plan to add a second lane to the SR 202 off-ramp. This is something drivers have been asking for. We plan to get this done before the end of September.
We are also looking into whether we can eliminate the HOV only lane east of SR 202.
June 16, 2011
An update: We are still looking into solutions for the bottleneck that occurs between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. every night.
Drivers are telling us that too many people camp out in the HOV lane at the end of SR 520. There are still backups west of SR 202 and near collisions.
Our traffic engineers are looking at the entire system from 51st through SR 202 to Avondale as we work to solve the problem.
We will update you when we have agreed to a plan.
March 28, 2011
Hi. Like many of your commenters, I am a Sammamish resident commuting on EB SR520 and EB SR202 in the evenings. We all thought the added lanes would be a huge benefit (and they have in the mornings). However, the evening commute seems worse than ever. I’d like to weigh in on the request to open the second right-hand lane to the SR 202 exit from eastbound SR 520.
I find that between 5-6pm most weekdays, traffic is one solid line in the far right lane of SR520 approaching the exit – all the way to the traffic light at the bottom. Even after you restriped/removed the HOV markings in that area, it is often difficult to merge since the on-ramp from W. Lake Samm provides a solid flow.
I’m also curious if you know whether the signals at the bottom of the ramp happen to be synchronized with the signals in front of Whole Foods and then a little further east at E. Lake Samm Pkwy. Once I get through that set of lights, traffic flows pretty well. This seems like another opportunity to make some adjustments that could help the commute.
We have been watching this area since we removed the HOV-only designation mid-February. And it is still bad between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The signal at the end of the ramp and the signal at Whole Foods are coordinated. The challenge is the crosswalk farther east near Whole Foods. Everytime a pedestrian presses the button, traffic is stopped on SR 202 which backs up the ramp which backs onto SR 520.
WSDOT and Redmond traffic engineers met in the field last week to see what we can work out. I'll keep this page updated.
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Jan. 24, 2011
This is regarding the new lanes added on SR520 East into SR 202.
It is a job well done and at an expedited rate. I have seen that it helps a lot with the congestion. Congratulations on the effort.
I generally take the SR 202 exit and like many other comments on your web page, it is a bit of a challenge to get onto the exit lanes.
I have also seen people traveling all the way to the end and then joining the exit lanes and hence causing confusion and uncertainness for other drivers. It will help if there are some more clear signage about the exits much earlier.
Additionally I had another question regarding the small HOV strip usage (that starts from WLSP). Can this lane be used by non HOV cars (single person driver) if they are making the SR 202 exit?
Really that strip of HOV does not add that much value and in actuality causes more confusion and unnecessary lane changes that can lead to more unsafe driving habits. A response to this would be very helpful to many other drivers like me.
We are going to restripe that HOV only lane to make it open to all vehicles over the weekend of Jan. 29-30 proving we have good weather.
Let us know if it's easier to drive next week.
Dec. 14, 2010
Yes – the morning commute from my home at Avondale Road and 159th St NE into my office at Avondale Road and Union Hill Road has improved. However my evening commute is worse than ever because Avondale now becomes a parking lot between Union Hill Road and Novelty Hill Road. It seems that you just pushed all that traffic a mile to the north – a mile that I enjoyed being ahead of and now I am at the back of. Win some and lose some I guess. If you paid to 4-Lane Novelty Hill Road to compensate that would fix it for me.
I’m glad that your morning commute is better. Lots of people are loving the new morning and evening commute. Yes, it’s not perfect for everyone. But everyone agrees that the extra lanes are providing a benefit.
At this time we don’t have any plans to 4-lane Novelty Hill Road. But I did find info about Novelty Hill on King County's website.
Dec. 14, 2010
I am a resident of Sammamish. Over the years I have spent countless hours on eastbound 520 during evening commute. So I am happy that you have completed the SR 520 widening project between West Lake Sammamish Parkway and SR 202. I am seeing some improvement now, but the real proof will be in January since traffic is light right now in December. I have my doubts whether things will improve a whole lot for Sammamish drivers and others exiting at SR 202 though. All that traffic has to converge on one lane (out of four), while at the same time competing with traffic entering 520 from West Lake Sammamish Parkway. I don’t see how this will be safe or sustainable.
I hope you are aware that a sizeable proportion of traffic on 520 travels to Sammamish, Fall City and other places. We also have been patient and will be looking forward to improvements in January.
Yes, it is December and yes, there is more traffic in January, but I think that you will continue to see the speedier commute times even into the new year.
When we first designed this project, our plan was to have two lanes exiting to SR 202. But due to the nearby wetland, we were not able to widen the freeway enough in that area to meet the environmental requirements to have a wider exit. So, we have one lane to exit but it grows to two, then three lanes. And here is why: there are a lot of cars that exit there at night. Sometimes they back up onto the freeway. If we have two lanes backing up onto the freeway, it will really gum everything up there and that leads to more rear-end collisions. By having one lane exit, cars will just line up in that one lane where traffic is slow anyway. (That new lane from WLSP)
We have spent millions of dollars to widen SR 202 between the 520 and Sahalee Way. You have seen tremendous improvements in traffic. At this time, we have no more plans to do anything on SR 202. On SR 520 near Union Hill Road, WSDOT and the City of Redmond are working on smaller improvements that will improve traffic flow on the roads that exit from Avondale.
Additionally, WSDOT will turn on a new ramp meter at WLSP soon and that will help meter the flow of eastbound traffic so there will be more gaps allowing for better and easier merging to SR 202. Thanks for contacting us. Feel free to write again in January if you don’t see any major improvements.
Dec. 9, 2010
I just wanted to drop a quick note to applaud WSDOT and PCL on a job well done with the SR520 work in Redmond.
I commute from the Sammamish plateau every morning to Microsoft in Overlake. Afternoon commutes used to be awful – I would be watching the clock closely because if I left after 4:45pm I knew that I would be sitting on 520 near Marymoor park for 10-15 minutes. If an accident hit, or it was a day that a lot of people leave early (Halloween, for example) then it could be as much as 40 minutes. During one of the snowstorms, it once took me 2 hours to make it from the 40th Street exit to SR202.
Since the additional lanes opened up, I have yet to sit in any traffic along 520, even if I leave after 5pm. The difference is startling – the only “backup” on my commute is the SR202-E Lake Sammamish corridor, and that takes 2-3 minutes to get through, which is nothing. I am sure that I’m not alone when I say that this project has gone a long way in improving the quality of life for people that live in Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville, and the Duvall area. Great job!
Dec. 9, 2010
Thank you for the widening east bound of the SR 202 exit. It is much better now. But I have a suggestion. Currently there is only one lane for the exit to SR 202. Although the lane expands to two lanes in the ramp. I feel unsafe every evening to change to the right lane for exit. A lot of cars are doing that, too. And there are cars just get on SR 520 from West Lake Sammamish Blvd, trying to change to the left lane.
I would suggest to allow the two right lanes of the east bound for the exit to SR 202.
We are tracking comments about the new lanes and how drivers exit to SR 202. We expect to be making some changes farther back to the west that will allow drivers to get into that carpool lane earlier and then exit to SR 202. We are also going to add more signs to let people know they can use that lane as a merge lane.
At this moment, we don’t plan to open that second exit lane. We are going to give drivers some time to familiarize themselves with the new lanes. It always takes some getting used to when we open new lanes. If it’s still not working for you in about a month, contact us again and let us know. We are taking a lot of comments right now and plan to see what we can do to tweak the new lanes in the coming weeks.
As the lanes of SR520 come down the hill heading westbound just east of the 51st street onramp, the carpool lane ends to let people get off to the West Lake Sammamish exit and then just past that exit by about a 100 yards or so, the carpool lane begins again, crosses the bridge over the Sammamish Slough and then ends again to let people merge to the exit to SR202. This section of carpool lane over the slough can’t be more than 100-150 yards long.
This section of the carpool lane seems unnecessary and causes a lot of cars to change lanes twice without an apparent need. Getting on SR520 heading eastbound requires you to merge from the onramp through the carpool lane to the general purpose lane and then to immediately merge back across the carpool lane to get to the SR202 off ramp. This very short section of carpool lane is causing problems with cars weaving back and forth. In the short period of time that it has been open, I’ve seen no less than three near misses because of the lane change requirement for this 100-150 yard section of carpool.
Does it need to be there? I don’t believe so.
We are looking at this area right now. We see the general purpose lane cars changing lanes twice and can see how this may lead to extra merging. We are working with King County Metro and others to weigh the benefits of the carpool lane in this area. We are looking into this and will keep drivers updated on what we learn.
In 2013, we will come back through and move the carpool lane to the inside lane. That will ensure the advantage for carpooling while eliminating that merge you are talking about.