Passing Over Cities

Heavy traffic during rush hour is generally attributed to commuters traveling to and from the city. We lose sight of the other things contributing to this traffic, such as people traveling from one side of the city to the other, completely bypassing the city. For example, if a person lived in Shoreline and needed to get to work in Tacoma, they would have no other choice but to sit through the traffic going through downtown Seattle. Additionally, truckers are forced to waste hours of valuable time sitting in city traffic multiple times each day. Everyone can agree that sitting in traffic is frustrating, and doubly frustrating when you’re trying to completely bypass the area causing the traffic (i.e. downtown Seattle).  Having been on multiple road trips to and from California, I can speak from personal experience when saying we need a better way for commuters to avoid the traffic caused by major cities.

The population of greater Seattle is growing. With more people comes more traffic. Our efforts to reduce traffic seem to be negligible; even with the construction of the light rail, we are facing a future of even worse traffic conditions. If we were able to eliminate all the cars on the road that were trying to bypass the city, this would eliminate a portion of the traffic. My idea is this: build an overpass, or a tunnel, that allows traffic to pass over the city. In a way, these lanes would be like super express lanes. The addition of these lanes will help reduce traffic, allow goods to reach their destination faster, and reduce the amount of CO2 emitted due to idled traffic.


Seattle Traffic, Seattle Times

A preliminary design for these super express lanes would be four lanes wide, with two lanes going in each direction. Because the main idea for these would be to pass cities, the speed limit would be higher than normal due to the lack of merging/exiting traffic. Large cities would benefit from this by reducing their carbon footprint and by decreasing the average time spent in traffic during rush hour.

With a growing population, it’s safe to assume Seattle will need to expand sometime in the near future. An overpass that completely bypasses the city also allows for high density areas outside of the city to be more connected. It is for these ideas that creating a way to bypass main cities is necessary.


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