As Bellingham grows, there is more and more traffic, even on minor streets.
At first I wondered if car addiction was getting worse, but then I realized that increased traffic, on minor streets, has to do with something I like; increasing density in neighborhoods. I favor increased density, but hope people learn to use cars less.
Still, downtown Bellingham is relatively calm, traffic wise. Except for Holly Street, downtown streets are pretty calm. Less car dependency seems to be working downtown.
Whenever I go out into rural areas, it seems like traffic is even more backed up. Sprawl, versus density, is big in the county, but I usually just ride in Bellingham. When I do venture out to the county, it's an eye opener of even more traffic.
Most of the traffic, in both the city and county, does seem to be polite and orderly, however. That's good news.
I keep saying that as our population grows, I-5 will not grow. It will remain only 4 lanes, unlike Seattle metro, where much of it is 8 lanes.
Property values are too high and / or road taxes are too low to widen I-5 through Bellingham and Whatcom County. I doubt it can happen, yet more and more people are using it.
On my bicycle, I have found many good ways to avoid the angst of traffic. First, I am not in a hurry.
If traffic is near bumper to bumper, pulling out into traffic, coming from two directions, can be tedious. I have a remedy. I go out of my way to the nearest stoplight and then cross when the light turns green.
In some cases, I go up to a light just to get across and into the lane going back in the opposite direction. To me that's less nerve wracking than trying to catch enough of a break, in both lanes of traffic, to pull across to the lane going the direction I want to go.
If things are busy, it's much easier to cross at a stoplight. We're getting more of them all the time to help calm the traffic.