SEATTLE – If the state legislature puts a toll on the Evergreen Point Bridge (SR-520), about one-half of Puget Sound-area drivers will simply find alternative ways around Lake Washington, a move that could spell big trouble for traffic congestion, a PEMCO Insurance poll reveals.
According to PEMCO's survey of drivers in the Puget Sound region, 51 percent of the respondents said they would avoid the 520 bridge if tolls were put in place. Only 11 percent report they would seek carpool options and even fewer respondents (6 percent) say they would take the bus in response to mandated tolling. These findings suggest that drivers will see a surge of traffic on alternate roads because of bridge tolls.
"Most would agree that the 520 bridge needs to be replaced," said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg. "Tens of thousands of cars cross the bridge daily. But if drivers choose not to use the bridge when it's tolled, where will those vehicles go, and does that come at a cost to other roads?"
PEMCO's results show that despite drivers' intentions to use the 520 bridge less often, they are not expressing a willingness to adopt behaviors that will reduce traffic congestion elsewhere. Nearly one-half (47 percent) of respondents say they would use I-90 more often, and one in four (24 percent) would drive north around the lake to avoid 520.
When asked what they would do if both the 520 and I-90 bridges are tolled, drivers' propensity to change behaviors is even lower: only one in 10 would carpool more often, just 4 percent would ride the bus, and 41 percent indicate they would not make any changes to their driving habits.
PEMCO's poll also gauged residents' willingness to make other changes like move residences, telecommute, or change jobs as a result of bridge tolling. Less than 3 percent indicate they would pursue any of those options.
Visit poll.pemco.com to learn more about the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and see how your own answers match up to the results.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this survey as part of an independent statewide poll conducted by FBK Research of Seattle. The survey asked Washington drivers several questions about commuting habits and safety issues. The sample size, 300 respondents, yields an accuracy of +/- 4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study was conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than +/- 4 percent.
About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Washington state residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state and through PEMCO offices. For more information, visit www.pemco.com.