(What follows is our as-it-happened morning-commute coverage. PM-commute updates later!)
(More cams on the WSB Traffic page; travel times on the city Travelers’ Info map)
It’s here – the first of five weekdays without the Alaskan Way Viaduct. We’re covering the commute with any and all information you need to know, regarding the bridges, the West Seattle Water Taxi (this week’s special schedule is here), I-5, and more.
FIRST PROBLEM OF THE MORNING: A crash on I-5 northbound at Mercer, and a thunderstorm that dumped a lot of rain in a short period of time – it’s dried out now but there’s standing water in spots. Suggested alternate route: West Seattle Bridge east to 4th Avenue South, get off and head north into downtown.
Our “Viaduct Crunch” partners at KING 5 are also posting minute-by-minute updates for the wider region, here.
6:06 AM UPDATE: Eastbound West Seattle Bridge still in good shape; a KING crew just reported live, driving onto it from the Avalon/Admiral/etc. access point, no backups. IMPORTANT WATER TAXI NOTE: If you’re parking on Harbor don’t let the “NO PARKING” signs scare you – they are meant to restrict overnight parking just this week, so that more street spaces on Harbor are clear (in addition to those 100+ extra spaces at Don Armeni.
6:18 AM UPDATE: The bridge backup has begun. (added – photo Tony Welch sent in the 6 am hour)
Meantime, from the Water Taxi dock: First run, 6:15 am just left, and we’re told 106 paid passengers were on board – “easily quadruple” the usual load for first thing in the morning.
(***the rest of our as-it-happened coverage is archived after the jump***)
6:30 AM UPDATE: The I-5 northbound Mercer crash is cleared, per WSDOT. From the West Seattle Bridge: Kate, via Facebook, tells us police are in place to bust bus-lane violators – so don’t bother trying. KING’s chopper just flew live over the 1st Avenue South Bridge – flowing well right now. You can get there by taking Highland Park Way or Roxbury.
6:43 AM UPDATE: Bridge still sluggish – that’s not likely to change, so we’ll just update the high bridge if there is a MAJOR problem (or if somehow it clears out). From the Water Taxi dock, good turnout for the 6:45 am run too, which is about to leave. We’ll add the official count when we get it. (added) 129 passengers; this run is leaving a few minutes late.
7:02 AM UPDATE: Regarding Water Taxi parking – our crew took a look. The special area at Don Armeni (marked by A-boards) is just about half full. If you’re parking on Harbor, it’s full until you get WEST of the Alki Tavern. Take the shuttles if you can! Via Twitter, @shermanscorner says 1st Avenue South heading north downtown is full, “like a game day.” (Added a few mins later) KING just drove the “low bridge” live – it’s NOT backed up at this point, so it’s a viable alternative, at least at the moment. We have a crew heading there too. P.S. Our “tweets” are part of the live minute-to-minute updates on KING’s special page (click the “play” button in the chat window to open it).
7:17 AM UPDATE: The 7:15 am Water Taxi run was a full house – they had to cut off the boarding with at least 20 people left in line. (Capacity is 150.) Usual load for this run, we’re told, is about 50.
7:35 AM UPDATE: We have a crew on the west side of the low bridge now. Still light, they report. Back at the Water Taxi dock – the Don Armeni parking area is FULL. Still some street parking but it’s further west than before, so you’ll have some walking to do. Meantime, a commute report from City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen:
Carpooled in this morning. Left the house at 6:20 AM. It took about a 1/2 an hour to be dropped off at City Hall. Not bad but traffic was building. Four cars passed us on the right in the bus only lane. ALL WERE PULLED OVER BY SPD!!! I have sent a message to Police Chief Diaz thanking our officers for being there and stopping the drivers in those vehicles. I am monitoring this closely with SDOT and METRO and SPD .
7:49 AM UPDATE: The high bridge has now loosened up significantly, as shown by both the SDOT “live video” cams and KING’s chopper.
8 AM: High bridge still looks a lot better than usual for this time of morning. The low bridge, meantime, is slowing down. So if you have to leave now, take the high bridge! Water Taxi’s 7:45 am run, meantime, was full again (150 people) and a couple dozen had to wait for the next one:
Parking in Water Taxi area now appears to be completely full, street and lots – people are starting to park up California Way hill. One more note – our low-bridge crew still seeing lots of bicyclists (photo added, by WSB contributor Katie Meyer):
8:17 AM UPDATE: Both bridges look good. The 8:15 am Water Taxi was also at capacity, about two dozen people left to wait for the next one.
8:26 AM UPDATE: There is a crash at the east end of the low bridge – Cheryl via Twitter says it’s a bicyclist – we’re checking with SFD, and sending our low-bridge crew that way. (UPDATE) Not a bicyclist. Medical communication on the scanner says it’s a 35-year-old man, described as a jogger, hit by a semi-truck, being taken to Harborview Medical Center. Photo courtesy Mark:
(added) His injuries are described as non-life-threatening.
8:44 AM UPDATE: One last Water Taxi update: The 8:45 run will NOT be capacity, but will be “pretty full.” Among those taking it – County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who had said at the time of last Friday’s “viarace” that he planned to be back on board today. We asked him what if anything they might do to address today’s overflows (he chairs the Ferry District board) and he said that it’s hard to add boats for a short period of time on short notice, but they’ll be discussing how this morning went. (added – video of his quick interview with WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand):
And of course we have the evening commute ahead!
9:02 AM NOTE: That’s it for this morning’s comprehensive commute coverage. We’ll be following up with some of the agencies – and also adding a few visuals to this report that are just now arriving at HQ. What you’ll probably hear today is: Don’t just go back to normal tomorrow – what made the difference today was many people changing their commute times, changing their commute methods. Thanks for all the commute reports! We’ll have a separate report launched by 4 pm (sooner if needed) covering the evening commute, which of course has its own challenges even on a good day …