Downtown traffic alert for Tuesday morning: ‘Biggest parade ever’

No SDOT alert yet, but with the memory of the KeyArena-event-traffic-nightmare day still fresh, we thought you might want early warning (and if you’re off, you might even want to go watch): Next Tuesday, what’s described as the biggest parade in Seattle’s history is set for downtown, 10,000 people parading as part of the Lions Clubs International convention. It starts from Seattle Center at 10 am, proceeding along 5th Avenue, and includes other road closures. It’s complicated, so go here for the full breakdown; the source page is here, including this map of the parade route.

ADDED 4:41 PM: SDOT is now out with its official advisory – read it after the jump:

Next Tuesday, July 5, more than 12,000 Lions Clubs members from over 100 countries will march along Fifth Avenue in the Lions Clubs International Parade of Nations. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) strongly urges downtown business owners, workers and residents to plan ahead for road closures and detours.

Staging for the parade will take place on Seattle Center grounds and on southbound Fifth Avenue between Mercer Street and Denny Way starting at 7:00 a.m. The parade, which will get underway at 10:00 a.m. and is expected to last until 3:00 p.m., starts on Denny Way at Fifth Avenue and travels south on Fifth to Pine Street where it terminates. Participants will disperse and then move east on Pine to the Convention Center on Seventh Avenue.

The following closures should be expected:

* 7:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.: Southbound Fifth Avenue from Mercer to Denny Way for staging

* 9:45 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.:

o Parade route on Fifth Avenue from Denny Way to Pike Street

o Cross streets to Fifth Avenue (except for Metro/Sound Transit during parade)

o Pike Street from Fourth to Eighth avenues

o Sixth and Seventh avenues from Olive Way to Union Street
The parade route will open to traffic as the tail end of the parades passes by.

Nearby roadways will have very heavy volumes and morning rush-hour traffic will likely be impacted, including I-5. Motorists should check traffic conditions and cameras on the SDOT Traveler’s Information Map at: Seattle Police will work to accommodate local access needs along the parade route, but drivers should not expect normal levels of access and should plan accordingly. Parking garage access along the parade route will be very limited between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Metro and Sound Transit will be rerouting about 20 bus routes in the downtown area between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday due to the parade’s activities. Please visit and check the “Construction & Events” section for details or call Metro’s Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. (Please remember that all Metro offices will be closed on Monday, July 4.)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) warns drivers that while all downtown Interstate 5 exits will be open, congestion can be expected on all ramps exiting to Seattle between Mercer and James streets, and on State Route 99 near the Seattle Center. WSDOT recommends drivers arrive downtown before 8:30 a.m. and offers the following additional tools so drivers can plan ahead:

* Seattle traffic map:

* Travel times:

* Twitter:!/wsdot_traffic

* Traffic products for mobile phone and other wireless devices:
* Call 511 for traffic updates
* Tune to Highway Advisory Radio and watch electronic highway signs for information

The Lions Clubs 94th International Convention is the largest international convention to be held in Seattle in two decades. The convention is expected to provide over $30 million in economic benefits for the city and the region, providing a boost to retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, meeting venues, transportation companies, visitor and cultural attractions, and many other businesses. In addition, during the four-day convention, July 4-8, the Lions Clubs International will be donating hundreds of seedlings to local and regional parks, and offering other contributions to our community.

20 Replies to "Downtown traffic alert for Tuesday morning: 'Biggest parade ever'"

  • Jeff June 29, 2011 (10:05 am)

    What genius gave the okay for biggest parade ever to take place in the downtown corridor, during the day and after a 3 day weekend where people are already going to be coming downtown do get business done that they haven’t been able to do.

    Good job

  • LindaT June 29, 2011 (10:14 am)

    Hi, Tracy:

    Still working on the logistics, but it looks like about 20 Metro & Sound Transit bus routes will be rerouting downtown on parade day between 9 am – 3 pm. Doesn’t look like any WS routes directly affected, but we all know about the domino-effect of a bad traffic situation on transit. Stay tuned.
    -Linda from Metro

  • Jiggers June 29, 2011 (10:18 am)

    I’m laughing so hard right now. I pray for those who have to work in downtown. You better leave the house at 6 am.

  • SJ2 June 29, 2011 (11:11 am)

    Wow!! Really, what genius did decide to have this on a week day? I am very thankful to be on vacation that week, but I feel bad for everyone else.

  • Que June 29, 2011 (11:16 am)

    I am with Jeff. Really? On a Tuesday? After a long weekend? Totally ridiculous. Guess I won’t be going downtown that day. Good Luck to those who have to commute down there for work. It will be a mess.

  • Kathy June 29, 2011 (11:20 am)

    Are you freakin’ kidding me? On a weekday? It’s not like our traffic problems around here aren’t bad enough. I’m going to have to battle that crap.

  • Kathy June 29, 2011 (11:21 am)

    thanks for the warning though, I will fume a little less furiously knowing what’s going on…

  • MEJ June 29, 2011 (11:56 am)

    FYI, next Tuesday’s parade is just one element in a convention that actually begins the day before and goes thru Friday. Of course, most attendees probably will be staying downtown and won’t have rental cars, but still … downtown traffic (and its domino affect on outlying areas … will be with us for FIVE days.

  • One More Opinion June 29, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    I work downtown and I’m not freaked out in the least. On the contrary…many people in my office take that short week off anyway. AND, I love parades! This time I actually get to see it up close :)

  • Hoyne June 29, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    Oh my gosh, thank you SO much for this heads up! I just showed this to my boss who, after laughing hysterically for 3 minutes at the thought of a 4 hour parade, decided we should just work from home on Tuesday.

    Love you, WSB!

  • margaritaville June 29, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    …and closing the viaduct down last Saturday for the Rock-N-Roll Marathon was any better or different than shutting down 5th Avenue downtown? The differnce: Lion’s club contributes to our community; and their convention is bringing much needed revenue into the city.

  • WSSpartan June 29, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    OMG! A parade on a weekday?!? What are we going to do?? It never ceases to amaze me how flustered west seattlites get when there is a little extra traffic.

  • bolo June 29, 2011 (1:03 pm)

    From the above link:

    “Why: Economic impact for the city and region
    The Lions Clubs International annual convention will stimulate an estimated $30 million for Seattle and the region:

    This impact will be felt by hotels, meeting venues, transportation companies, retail establishments, restaurants, visitor attractions, cultural attractions and other tourism businesses.
    Additionally, many businesses that are not typically associated with conventions will be needed for provisioning and other services.
    Because the Lions Clubs International Convention does not have official meal and evening functions, attendee patronage of surrounding restaurants and entertainment and cultural venues will be heavy throughout the core convention dates, July 4-8.”

    Seems like a good deal— $30 million for a few hours of increased traffic inconvenience! Book a couple of these a month and the city’s budget problems soon evaporate!

  • 44th Neighbor June 29, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    Thanks, WSB! My biggest gripe last time was the lack of warning…

  • Hoyne June 29, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    WSSpartan – To be fair, I wouldn’t consider the backups we had in “The Key Arena Incident” a little extra traffic. I hopped on my bus at 8:15am that morning and didn’t make it into downtown until after 10:00am. I’m normally off the bus at 8:45am. And that “incident” didn’t involve road closures.

  • Magpie June 29, 2011 (2:19 pm)

    Even the Rock n Roll marathon contributes to our local economy. The majority of the people who come to these kind of events stay in hotels and eat here…and often bring a cheering section. That said, I’m glad I’m on vacation next week, but I do love a good parade.

  • westseattlegrl June 29, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    margaritaville and bolo: YES! This convention is HUGE for Seattle. The Lions could have picked any city in the WORLD for this convention and they picked us. I work in the hotel industry and this is so great for business (for hotels and every other tourism related industry). The added traffic will be a small price to pay.

    Plus, I think a lot of people will be off next week anyway.

  • Mack June 29, 2011 (7:16 pm)

    You are right about the Rock & Roll Marathon, Magpie. The economic impact of this race is also $30 million according to a study of the inaugural race. Participation has increased a little.;s=3_7;site=1

  • DmA June 30, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    I get that it’s bringing revenue into the city; but our small business will be losing at least a few thousand dollars due to patients cancelling their appointments. I’m not opposed to the Lyons Club or their convention, but have your parade on the weekend! This really is a major inconvenience at best for those who really need to get in and around downtown that day.

  • WSSpartan June 30, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    DmA…If your daily revenues are in the vicinity of a few thousand dollars, then one slow day probably won’t hurt. In addition, if your business is so fragile that you’ll complain about a parade which is going to bring tons of money to the city, you might want to look at your business model. We live in a large city with lots of disruptive events. Deal with it or move to a small town.

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