Worried about Viaductlessness? Special chance to talk about it

(WSDOT photo of the new southbound 99 SODO offramp that will open after the 10/21-31 closure)
Concerned about the October 21st-31st Alaskan Way Viaduct closure and how we’re all going to get around, considering how just one incident like this morning’s bridge crash can snarl the system? You’ll get a chance to sort it out in person with city, county and state transportation experts and others, in a special meeting that’s just about to be formally announced. We heard about it while tracking this morning’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting; it’s tentatively set for 5:30-8 pm October 10th at West Seattle High School. Besides the short-term issues of how to get around during the shutdown, we’re told City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and County Councilmember Joe McDermott will want to hear from you on big-picture issues of how the Viaduct project overall will affect area traffic for years to come. A similar meeting is in the works for northwest Seattle, likely October 12th.

27 Replies to "Worried about Viaductlessness? Special chance to talk about it"

  • JayDee September 27, 2011 (6:24 pm)

    These sounds like a terminal medical condition. With palliative care the only option.

  • Jack Loblaw September 27, 2011 (7:22 pm)

    I am going on vacation. Once “Carmagedon” is over I shall return to work.

  • Norah September 27, 2011 (7:41 pm)

    It’ll be difficult to get there by 5:30 on a weekday for people who work downtown, get off at 5 pm, and take the bus. I hope they realize this if people come in late.

  • JN September 27, 2011 (7:51 pm)

    Um, maybe stop driving your car and take transit, or something? (Obviously if you can. Considering the laughable investment so far in alternatives, however, that may be unlikely.)

  • LivesinWS September 27, 2011 (9:04 pm)

    Yeah, how is transit going to handle staying on schedule without the viaduct?

  • k September 27, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    so much talking, but no one will know until it all happens.

  • JN September 27, 2011 (9:50 pm)

    Considering Seattle’s drivers, it will probably be a huge mess.

  • redblack September 28, 2011 (6:20 am)

    City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and County Councilmember Joe McDermott will want to hear from you on big-picture issues of how the Viaduct project overall will affect area traffic for years to come.
    a little late for them to feign concern now, isn’t it?
    oh, right. elections are coming.

  • Rick September 28, 2011 (6:27 am)

    If we just dug a trench across our peninsula we would then be an island and might then be eligible for real transit options! WooHoo!

  • CE September 28, 2011 (8:30 am)

    They have already said to expect bus transit times to DT to double during the closure. In my case, on a normal day transit is not an option. I commute to Bellevue from WS; when traffic is moving smoothly, it takes an hour & a half to get from WS to Bellevue w/ current bus options. It would be over 2 hours to travel 15 miles via bus during viaduct closure with the increase in time to get downtown to transfer.

  • redblack September 28, 2011 (8:31 am)

    looking at that picture, i’m guessing the blacktop in the foreground is construction access.
    i’m not brave enough to attempt to drive near there; so is the bike path visible to the left of the chain link and the train tracks? and is east marginal/alaskan beyond that, even farther to the left?

  • bridge to somewhere September 28, 2011 (8:48 am)

    @CE: just for reference, i commute to bellevue (148th) from WS every morning by car, and it takes about 40 minutes on a smooth flowing day around 6:45. about 1.25 hours on a heavy traffic day. so, to your point, taking a bus to bellevue from WS on a smooth traffic day is about double the commute time than driving in (depending on a bunch of factors i suppose).

  • Al September 28, 2011 (9:56 am)

    redblack – there are bike lanes on either side of E. Marginal/Alaskan up to Massachusetts – then the new bike path starts on the west side of Alaskan between Atlantic/King where you can cross (not against the red light please) and join the shared use path along the east side of Alaskan.

    If you are interested in riding, I wouldn’t mind showing you the route sometime. I commute by bike all year and even with all the construction and bluster on (pretty much any) blogs is a bit of hyperbole. Bicycling will be a bit trickier due to traffic backups but will be a good choice for those that want to/can do it.

  • carole September 28, 2011 (10:24 am)

    Where’s that monorail I paid for FOUR times?

  • LB September 28, 2011 (10:32 am)

    @redblack: the blacktop is for the offramp to Atlantic Street (it’s mentioned in the caption). The train tracks are to the left and what is left of Alaskan Way S (now closed between Atlantic and King) is to the left of the train tracks and the bike/pedestrian trail (not visible in the picture) would be to the left of Alaskan Way S.

    I’ve noticed cars heading west on Atlantic entering the container ship terminal by mistake and end up turning around (I’m guessing they were trying to head north and didn’t realize that you have to turn left unless you’re going into the terminal).

  • Mary T September 28, 2011 (11:10 am)

    How about a second water taxi drop-off that’s closer to where I actually work in Belltown? I have taken the water taxi but it is SO far away from work. And yes, I could take the bus once I get downtown but by the time I wait for a bus I figure I’d just as soon walk.

  • rob September 28, 2011 (1:27 pm)

    Mary: have you considered bringing a bike on the water taxi?
    Easy ride to Belltown from where it docks.

  • John September 28, 2011 (4:12 pm)

    I have a general question as I just moved to W. Seattle. My commute has been bad every day, including days when there have been no tragic accidents. The buses can’t even get onto the W. Seattle Bridge, but instead just sit there on Avalon for about 30 minutes. It is utterly ridiculous.

    My question is: is this normal and if so, is there any point in the future (maybe after the 10 day shutdown of the viaduct) when this will get better?

    Thanks a lot. I appreciate any responses.

    • WSB September 28, 2011 (4:31 pm)

      John, my inclination is to say “no” BUT there are some changes in the works. First: One small tweak is coming to Avalon – a transit-only lane from 6-10 am for the stretch from Bradford to the turn toward the bridge. We won’t know the effects till we see it in place … SDOT tells me that will be set up by mid-October. Second: The Spokane Street Viaduct widening will be done sometime next year. Still the one-lane bottlenecks to 99 and I-5, but there will be more traffic capacity to, for example, get to the 4th Avenue offramp, which I **highly** recommend. Anyway, I commuted downtown for most of 1991-2007, and during the times I had to work regular day shifts (I was in TV and worked odd hours more often), the traffic was always bad, dating back even into the early ’90s. Among the many things we love about being in business for ourselves (running WSB) is, not having to regularly commute (I went downtown almost daily in August for the Bushaw murder trial and that was an unpleasant flashback) … TR

  • John September 28, 2011 (5:11 pm)


    Thanks for the helpful response. My obliged.

    When I moved to W. Seattle, I was told that living at the W. Seattle Alaska Junction would be a relatively easy commute into downtown. That is not proving correct, mostly because (like I said) the buses get stuck trying to get onto the Bridge.

    • WSB September 28, 2011 (5:20 pm)

      It’s one of those “partly true” statements. When I worked nights, for example, getting to work around 2 or 2:30, it was awesome. I think I clocked Fauntleroy to Lake Union at something ridiculous like 13 minutes.

  • Michael Taylor-Judd September 28, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    @carole: Seattle voters (including MANY in West Seattle) voted down your monorail despite being warned what was coming for West Seattle with the Viaduct replacement, tall buildings along California and in The Triangle, and not another chance for rapid transit for at least thirty years.

    Perhaps folks will consider the consequences of their votes when they see Proposition 1 on their ballot this November…

  • redblack September 28, 2011 (8:23 pm)

    john: things will get better in the spring of 2012.
    but let me quantify that.
    things will get markedly worse after hallowe’en, when WSDOT severs the viaduct and traffic is reduced to 40 mph on hwy 99 into downtown.
    however, a lot of our current headaches derive from the port of seattle construction at spokane and east marginal, as well as the infrastructure for the new spokane street viaduct in the same area. the lower spokane street traffic is diverting to the viaduct(s).
    once that construction is complete, the lower roadway will be at full capacity, terminal 5 truck freight will have a new route, and spokane street viaduct will be 3 lanes each direction between I-5 and the high bridge, with better access to/from downtown avenues.
    hope that helps.
    remember: be patient, and use your turn signal. :)

  • John September 28, 2011 (10:14 pm)


    That makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the response. I will be patient, but it’s been tough with a new job and trying to get in on time. These hour plus commutes are not going well. I take the bus every day, but I will encourage the driver to signal:).

  • LyndaB September 28, 2011 (10:18 pm)

    john, i commute from here to uw. timing is everything. i take the local 21 (non-express) in the morning at 6:00ish and take it all the way to downtown. it’s about 20min (driver dependent and rider volume) but we’ll see how long that will be come that October day. i’d say traffic gets ugly starting at 7am. that’s about when i leave if i’m driving in. if you leave at 6:45am, it’s a breeze.

    uw has a pilot project, i think, where people can post saying they’re headed in “x” direction/destination and you can hitch a ride. something to look at if you work at uw. maybe i should…

  • The Hepcat September 29, 2011 (8:22 am)

    The HepCat also has a commuting tip for John. Leave WS BEFORE 7am, and you’ll usually be fine. Even on the bus, if it get on the WSB(ridge)before 7 you’ll get to where you need.

  • Pablo Loco September 30, 2011 (12:59 am)

    I have the solution…

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