Viaduct closure countdown: Bus, Water Taxi infoblitz ahead

(Among those in our photo from the 6th Ave. S. bus yard: King Co. Marine Div. Dir. Scott Davis, far left; Seattle Times [WSB partner] transportation reporter Mike Lindblom, a West Seattleite, at center)
Just back from a briefing this afternoon by King County Metro and Water Taxi officials, with yet more information to share about the looming Alaskan Way Viaduct closure (7:30 pm Friday, October 21, to 5 am Monday, October 31st). Some of the newest toplines include an infoblitz headed your way:

*70,000 mailers are going out, including free bus tickets

*Posters will be going up, distributed in West Seattle and elsewhere

*Metro has a special web section at

*Metro runs that take the Viaduct now will take 4th or 3rd Avenue that week. Coming off the West Seattle Bridge, buses will take the 1st Avenue South exit, and will travel up eastbound lower Spokane Street to turn left onto 4th – cars will not be able to turn left there, only buses, and a uniformed officer will be there to facilitate this.

*The West Seattle Water Taxi has a brochure about the extra runs it’s adding that week (the special schedule is linked from this infopage).

*Water Taxi managers will be at the dock that first commute morning (Monday 10/24) and as many other mornings as needed to help out

A few other notes, some of which we have reported here before:

*Extra Water Taxi parking along Harbor – overnight parking will be prohibited those days, in hopes of opening more spaces for commuters – and at half of Don Armeni Boat Ramp (no special WT shuttle stop there, though), for about 200 total potential all-day spaces.

*The Water Taxi shuttles will include larger – though nonbranded – vehicles that week. Note that the larger shuttles can carry up to two bicycles each; current shuttles have no bike rack. The Water Taxi vessel has an 18-bicycle capacity.

*If you plan to try different commute methods on for size, considering entering the West Seattle Commute Choice Challenge.

ADDED 4:21 PM: The official news release related to this afternoon’s briefing is here.

16 Replies to "Viaduct closure countdown: Bus, Water Taxi infoblitz ahead"

  • EricL October 7, 2011 (3:23 pm)

    The current water taxi shuttles definitely have a bike rack. There’s a bike rider on about half the shuttles I take up california.

  • Robert2715 October 7, 2011 (4:06 pm)

    How about portable toilets every 2 blocks along all major routes leading to the Bridge? :-)

  • Colleen October 7, 2011 (4:37 pm)

    Are they sending bus tickets to everyone?

    • WSB October 7, 2011 (4:46 pm)

      70,000 addresses – but I don’t have the boundaries. That would be MORE than the total number of addresses in WS, by the way. – TR

  • DM October 7, 2011 (7:31 pm)

    If you work downtown, and it isn’t snowing by then, I would suggest walking. By November your thighs will look and feel fantastic!

  • raincity October 7, 2011 (8:03 pm)

    Yes- the current shuttle has two bike racks – wish there were more.

    • WSB October 7, 2011 (8:11 pm)

      Sorry, I had posed the question about the bike racks to the county earlier this week in response to a question I got via Twitter, and the reply was no racks on the current shuttle, room for two bikes on the ones that’ll be used temporarily. Will excise that part entirely. – TR

  • metrognome October 7, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    the mailing is 70,000 because, believe it or not, other parts of the city are affected by the closure as well. Communities at either end of the viaduct will be facing the same issues … and they don’t have water taxis.
    As far as alternate routes, if you live in the south end of WS, you might want to try using Highland Park Way S to get to 1st South (the ‘other’ bridge) and then take Michigan Ave S to Airport Way S (its a little more complicated than that, so check a map.)

  • metrognome October 8, 2011 (3:19 am)

    fyi; that’s Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit General Manager (2nd from left). The ‘6th Ave S bus yard’ is actually Central/Atlantic base. Central is the diesel side and Atlantic is the trolley side (so, if one is a trolley jockey, it is Atlantic/Central base.) The buildings on the west side of the street include Transit Police and Service Quality (street supervisors) and Service Communications (the Operations Control Center) as well as the employee parking garage involved in the CenturyLink field parking lot swap for the new development. The diesel base on 4th is Ryerson Base. I know, TMI for this article …

    • WSB October 8, 2011 (3:58 am)

      For some reason he looks different from hearing situations in which I’ve seen him. Anyway, it was a crazy location to find (long story, if I had more time I would write a side site with all the goofy behind-the-scenes stuff, like today going downtown, home, back downtown, back home, etc. ) and they had started before I ambled over, so I missed intros. I could point out the cameraguys too, but just for fun, the Marine Division (Water Taxi) guy and Mike (who I’m always happy to see at stories because he asks great questions) went into the caption … TR

  • redblack October 8, 2011 (8:31 am)

    metrognome: it’s true that the viaduct cut affects the north end – somewhat. but only for through traffic on 99. for those headed into downtown from ballard, the commute will be a little heavier, but they won’t have to re-route like the south end will.
    we in west seattle just got the short end of the stick because of geography…
    that is, until DBT shifts the only entrance/exit to the north portal. then 99 will impact the north end – and it will probably be much worse for them than it will be for us.
    regarding the story above, it’s good to see the powers that be are trying to mitigate the impact for people seeking alternate modes of transportation.
    however, i think SDOT needs to be addressing signal priority in problem areas. most notably, fauntleroy through the triangle.
    during the heavier and earlier morning commute, i’ve noticed downtown-bound fauntleroy losing – in a big way – to traffic on oregon street, avalon way, and 35th ave, causing backups into the east end of the alaska junction.
    i understand that the lights along fauntleroy act as a governor for traffic entering the bridge, but it makes for a kludgy flow getting there, and i think it could be improved a great deal.

  • KD October 8, 2011 (10:29 am)

    It boggles me how state, county, city, etc. can allow ANY viaduct work until South Park Bridge is completed, Airport Way thru Georgetown,(down to one lane currently) 4th Ave. So. north of Michigan by St. VincentDePaul, the same. These are all other arteries, veins & backways that will clog with no movement (heart attack alert!) Why is viaduct work even proceeding until these alternates are complete, especially the SoParkBridge? Isn’t there some last minute injunction to be filed to save us all from “Carmegeddon 2?”

  • Heath October 8, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    Obviously the closure affects the entire city. The problem with West Seattle is that we have very limited routes off of our little peninsula and into downtown because of the sound and the duwamish river.

  • metrognome October 8, 2011 (1:40 pm)

    redblack — I was responding to the issue of the size of the mailing; based on my experiences with weekend viaduct closures, with our funnel-shaped geology channeling traffic to downtown, all roads into and out of downtown could be gridlocked. The weekday commute traffic just increases the chances that all the routes into downtown from the north (and the south) will be at a standstill. The only practical route from Ballard is 15th/Elliott which also picks up Magnolia and west QA. With all the new business development along Elliott, it clogs pretty quickly. So yes, there’s a good chance that people from Ballard will be as gridlocked as people from WS, esp if they typically use the viaduct entrance below Pike Market to head to points farther south. And, like WS, there are really no good alternate routes.
    A fully loaded 60 ft bus holds about 80 people (incl standees) and takes up as much lane space as 5 cars. Sending out the free tickets to a larger area is an effort to reduce the total number of cars feeding into downtown, thereby leaving more room for people who drive, commercial traffic, etc.

  • miws October 8, 2011 (10:34 pm)

    I know, TMI for this article …


    Nah, not for bus geeks such as myself…although I already knew most of that. Hell, I even know that Ryerson Base got it’s name from the old Ryerson Steel(?) Plant that occupied that site!



  • DL October 9, 2011 (2:05 am)

    Fauntleroy ferry should be limited to pedestrians only! Should help ease up traffic on the WS bridge. In fact, it’d be nice to keep it that way permanently. Ferry traffic is getting WAY out of hand! :)

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