Can Seattle Beat Traffic for $50 Million?

Paul Allen and the U.S. Department of Transportation are posingSmartCity challenge to mid-sized cities. The city with the best solution to reducing gridlock will receive $50 million.

Last year Forbes listed Seattle as 8th U.S. city most traffic-jammed.

So, C’mon Seattle, you got this challenge!

Since the geography of Seattle is just not conducive to high volume traffic, we have to lessen the load.  My suggestions go beyond just technology and a transportation task-force, they require society to modify its habits and expectations, such as:

1. Puget Sound area workplaces cut 9am-5pm desk occupancy by 50% by the year 2020. This will decrease the number of coffee-craving commuters – alleviating gridlock, increasing family time, sleep time and happiness levels.

Well, how do employers do this? Focus on employee performance not attendance. After all, the annual review considers the person’s performance, and not their ability to look busy. Many companies are remote working already.

For those employees who must be at the office building, consider offering them hours during off-peak commute times. Obviously my 50% occupancy suggestion does not apply to every workplace, e.g., hospitals, Boeing plant and schools, but it does apply to a majority of the workforce.

2. City Council regulates when semi-trucks and large deliveries can pass through the City’s I-5 section, and city streets, which in turn avoids freight congestion.

3. Convert dying retail stores and malls to inventory warehouses of online retailers.

4. Make most college and graduate courses available online, and in-class attendance optional.  This will reflect the workplace in which the future graduates will work in; best prepare them before graduation.

5. Add more Sounder train times for commuters from South and North Puget Sound.

6. Get walking. Yes, in the rain, and the cold. Seattle is very walkable.  A 45-minute walk beats sitting in gridlock and then hunting for $20 parking. Plus, you enjoy endorphins, see things you usually would miss when sitting in your car (including people – who you can acknowledge and have an exchange of words!), avoid a monthly gym membership, walk past dozens of cars stopped at a green light, and not feel the pressure of “having to beat traffic” because no one is blocking your sidewalk.

To encourage more walking, the city can create “pedestrian only” sections of the city. A start would be a 1-2 block radius around Pike Place Market.

7. City Council prohibits the introduction of another large corporate office in downtown Seattle, unless it is a 100% remote-working office.

8. Create parking garages that time when you exit. This will absolve the need for cops to direct exiting traffic, and the paralyzed line of cars waiting in the garage to leave.

9. Eliminate carpool and bus-only lane designations. How many times have you crawled along an empty “Bus Only” lane or a wide open HOV lane?

10.  Embrace self-driving cars and the sharing economy.

These are just some suggestions that, at a minimum, could really improve work/life balance for thousands and the daily flow of the Seattle area.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued.