TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: AM watch, 2nd Thursday post-Viaduct

(SDOT MAP with travel times / WS-relevant traffic cams / Water Taxi schedule, other helpful info HERE)

5:30 AM: Good morning! Traffic watch is on for your Thursday.

5:36 AM: WSDOT reports a crash blocking the two left lanes on the NB First Avenue S. Bridge.

5:46 AM: This is about when the high bridge starts to get busy. Note it’s another wet morning.

6:02 AM: Tow and Incident Response are at the 1st Ave. S. Bridge scene – but now there’s an SFD medical callout, so that scene isn’t going to clear immediately.

6:25 AM: The first 1st Ave. S. Bridge scene is clear – the second one, further south, has not.

6:29 AM: A texter says this is backing this up all the way to Roxbury.

6:50 AM: Checking out the (high) West Seattle Bridge, as has been the case by this point in the morning, it’s filling up.

7:09 AM: Via RBWS, in comments: “2 car accident on Fauntleroy expressway in right lane before the Nucor plant. Drivers are standing around talking. Starting to back up toward 35th.”

7:19 AM: SDOT says that cleared quickly.

7:29 AM: The Fauntleroy curve is now backed up. Meantime, a South Park alert – in case you’re going that way to get around residual 509 backups – crash reported at 14th Ave. S./S. Henderson.

7:44 AM: Travel speeds via the city map show Delridge is particularly slow going right now just north of Genesee.

8:04 AM: Brenda tweeted, “On Upper bridge just saw unmarked police car pull into bus lane and put on his lights. All the bus lane violators immediately merged into lanes. No tickets but effective.”

8:17 AM: No new issues. Two notes for today:
-Our daily progress-report media briefing is back to a late-morning conference call, if anyone has questions.
-Tonight, King County Executive Dow Constantine is the scheduled guest at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting, talking transit and more. All welcome. 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way).

8:42 AM: New trouble on the northbound 1st Avenue South Bridge – one lane blocked.

8:55 AM: WSDOT says that’s now clear.

9:22 AM: Still watching for incidents, but otherwise it’s off to the rest of the day’s news. If you see something, our 24/7 hotline is 206-293-6302 – text or voice – when you can use your phone safely/legally (after you get to where you’re going, if you’re not a passenger) – thanks!

10:31 AM: SFD response for a natural-gas leak at 14th/Roxbury. Not sure how/if it’s affecting traffic, but heads up.

29 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: AM watch, 2nd Thursday post-Viaduct"

  • Susan January 24, 2019 (6:31 am)

    6:30: Northbound 509 traffic is backed up almost to 128th. (Fortunately we’re going in the opposite direction.)

  • Sam-c January 24, 2019 (6:36 am)

    What’s the ‘scene further south’?

    • WSB January 24, 2019 (6:49 am)

      Ultimately it was 2 separate scenes per WSDOT. Hard to verify re: cameras pre-dawn.

  • JCW January 24, 2019 (6:36 am)

    I’m on the 113 and we’re routing off 509/Bridge and onto 1st Ave instead. NB Traffic is pretty heavy, even going toward Cloverdale. Spotted flashing lights in the middle lane of 509 as we passed, but I couldn’t clearly see the accident. 

  • JCW January 24, 2019 (6:40 am)

    From the 113 again – we looped back around towards the Transfer Station and got back on 509 NB after the crash. Quick & easy detour h until the crash is cleared!

  • RBWS January 24, 2019 (7:08 am)

    2 car accident on Fauntleroy expressway eastbound in right lane before the Nucor plant. Drivers are standing around talking. Starting to back up towards 35th as cars are having to squeeze into one lane to get by.

    • WSB January 24, 2019 (7:18 am)

      Thanks. Flagged SDOT to it on Twitter and they say the vehicle cleared as soon as they got the camera pointed that way.

  • Lisa January 24, 2019 (7:26 am)

    Is it my imagination or are there A LOT more minor incidents in the past two weeks? Can’t tell if everything is just be reported or if more is happening. Seems strange given there are actually fewer cars on the road.

    • WSB January 24, 2019 (7:30 am)

      In a situation like this, even a “minor” incident has snafu potential, so we’ve stepped up our reporting, earlier and more detailed. Otherwise – while there are fewer cars out there, they have one less major thoroughfare, so they’re in closer quarters …

  • MrsL January 24, 2019 (7:32 am)

    Is the Lower Bridge cam working? I don’t see it on the WS traffic camera page on the WSB.

    • WSB January 24, 2019 (7:42 am)

      Yes, it’s also one of the four featured above as always. Labeled 11th/Spokane. SDOT controls where it’s turned and right now they have it turned elsewhere.

      • MrsL January 24, 2019 (8:25 am)

        Thanks WSB for clarifying that the camera is turned facing east instead of the typical view of the Lower Bridge.

  • MD January 24, 2019 (8:20 am)

    Longest commute yet for me. 45 min from Kitty Harbor on Harbor Ave to 6th and Orcas in Georgetown. I feel bad for those commuting further. 

  • Blinkyjoe January 24, 2019 (9:12 am)

    Still not bad at all for me. 23 minutes from Fairmont Park to the I90 eastbound onramp at 4th ave. Left the house at 0615. And commute back has been almost exactly the same as pre-shutdown. (Factoria -> Fairmont Park.)

  • SP January 24, 2019 (9:23 am)

    How can we get a permanent cop ticketing the main bus lane on the WSB? The one at 4th ave is nice but there are so many people driving all the way down to the entrance for north 99. It’s beyond!

    • KEM January 24, 2019 (9:42 am)

      Hear hear!

    • Delridger January 24, 2019 (9:45 am)

      The legislature is considering amending state law to allow automated enforcement of bus lane violations and box-blocking. This would free up our police for more pressing matters. Please contact your legislators to express your support. For those of us in District 34, That would be,, Mike O’Brien’s email news letter yesterday:As the Washington State Legislature gets back in session, one of my top priorities for their consideration is state authorization for Seattle to use cameras to enforce “block the box” and transit lane violations. As SDOT reported to Committee last week, when cities have addressed these types of traffic violations they’ve seen impressive results:

      • Boston: Focused on block the box and double parking. Resulted in 18% reduction in congestion and 20% reduction in travel delays
      • San Francisco: Transit lane safety cameras resulted in a 55% reduction in violations and a 16% drop in collisions
      • London: A 2007 report on longstanding transit lane safety cameras found a 5% increase in transit speed

      If Seattle got close to these results, we’d see a noticeable improvement in transit speed and reliability, as well as safety. I urge you to contact your state legislator to get their support.

    • KM January 24, 2019 (9:46 am)

      Pressure the state legislature to allow for regional authorities to install cameras. SPD doesn’t have the manpower and/or sparingly enforces laws on the roadway. Cameras are our only shot at getting consistent enforcement. I think this 4th Avenue lane might be temporary (I hope not), so not sure it would have helped in this situation, but having these types of cameras banned by our state is holding us back from solving this problem across the region.

    • 98126res January 24, 2019 (10:28 am)


  • Lola January 24, 2019 (9:39 am)

    SP, I see it on my commute as well.  Everyone getting on from Delridge just keep crusing up the far right lane for 99 and then at the bottom of the bridge they try to merge over.  They need to have cops pulling these !@#$% over and ticketing them.  They will also do it just after the 1st ave exit and hop over into the bus lane and cruise till they get to the first cop car which I see today they have him just before the exit instead of just after the exit. 

    • KEM January 24, 2019 (1:26 pm)

      Not everyone! 

    • Zipper January 24, 2019 (5:45 pm)

      When getting on the high bridge at Delridge, what is the law and expectation? The lane is open all the way to the 99 exit, so it seems logical that traffic entering there would stay in the moving lane, treating it like a zipper merge, instead of getting over right away to get in the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Is it illegal to cross the bus lane to merge from the open 99 lane? Why is that lane open all the way if not for drivers to use it? I use that on ramp and have stayed moving in the lane until just before the bus lane starts, then I get in the queue. 

      • CAM January 24, 2019 (7:11 pm)

        It is illegal to enter or cross a transit only lane. The following is from SDOT (Long story short: crossing a bus lane other than for the purpose of turning right is illegal, therefore the moment you leave the 99 exit only lane and cross the bus lane you are not complying with the law):”What is a BAT lane?The purpose of “Bus Only” and BAT lanes is to allow buses to travel along the corridor with minimum delay, increasing transit speed and reliability while maintaining access to local businesses and residents.BAT lanes are for transit only, but other drivers may use them long enough to turn right at the next intersection.Why are BAT lanes important?• 45% of downtown commuters use transit• Best use of limited street space to move more people• Help the larger transit system operate efficiently• Provide more reliable transit serviceHow do I avoid travelling in a Bus Only or BAT lane?Posted signs and pavement markings indicate where Bus Only or BAT lanes begin. Drivers should merge into general purpose lanes or make right turns at the next intersection. Drivers may use Bus Only or BAT lanes to enter and leave driveways and alleys along the corridor.What is the fine for driving in a BAT lane?For cars, travelling in a Bus Only or BAT lane is a moving traffic violation that comes with a $136 fine. It is enforceable by the Seattle Municipal Code, section SMC11.53.230.Bicyclists are allowed to ride in most Bus Only and BAT lanes, but need to yield to merging buses, just as all vehicles are required.”

      • CAM January 24, 2019 (7:13 pm)

        I would also presume that lane is only open that far for emergency reasons and to allow buses to get around cars blocking what will become the bus only lane by trying to merge. I don’t work for SDOT though so I have no idea if that’s correct. 

  • Trickycoolj January 24, 2019 (10:08 am)

    Commercial Vehicle Enforcement is my hero today!  They were out enforcing at the 1st Ave Bridge-599-Holden-West Marginal  interchange and sure enough the bridge went up and a trucker turned left and blocked the whole box while southbound traffic started chaotically weaving around him. Once the light changed Commercial Vehicle Enforcement hopped out of his truck and walked up to the blocking semi made tons of gestures and then guided him to backup out of the intersection and go north. I hope to get a ticket. I was applauding and cheering from my car! My new hero!

  • junctioneer January 24, 2019 (10:11 am)

    Are there any released statistics about Ride2? Curious about # of riders, whether its used enough for them to keep it, average wait time, people’s experiences with it, whether they’ll expand, etc.

  • 98126res January 24, 2019 (10:31 am)

    Thank you wsb for helping us during this challenging commute, communicating so well!

  • T January 24, 2019 (6:57 pm)

    Westbound bridge backed up from I5. Accident. Sea of headlights eastbound.

  • T January 24, 2019 (7:01 pm)

    3 car accident. Left lane blocked eastbound. Police there.

Sorry, comment time is over.