Seattle explores congestion pricing

SEATTLE — Seattle said Thursday it’s exploring possibly charging drivers to use some city streets to ease congestion and reduce pollution – using tolls to clear roads during peak driving times and shift people to public transportation and carpools.

A 48-page study was posted online by the Seattle Department of Transportation that detailed a preliminary look at congestion pricing in Seattle and different pricing tools and methods that could be used.

An exact boundary, that would likely include downtown, has not yet been proposed.

The study examined how congestion pricing has worked in cities like London and possible ways the city could help people pay tolls who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Congestion pricing has the potential to provide many benefits that people in Seattle and the region value, including mobility, climate protection, and health. Much work remains before we will be ready to implement congestion pricing, and we look forward to engaging with the community as we move forward,” the SDOT report concluded.

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released this statement to KIRO 7:

"As we build a city of the future, Mayor Durkan believes we must reduce our reliance on cars and develop plans to manage congestion. Our goal is to make our downtown core a healthier place for all with fewer cars, a more equitable transportation system, and less climate pollution.

As we move forward on studying ways to manage congestion, we must focus on equity and listen to communities. More work must done to prevent disproportionate impacts on historically underserved communities.

Moving forward with community engagement and analysis, we will continue to listen to residents and stakeholders across Seattle to find solutions that equitably address traffic, mobility, climate pollution, and the overall health of our downtown."