TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday watch, first morning for new 99 exit ramp, with bus changes

5:59 AM: Good morning! As announced late Monday, the new exit ramp from NB 99 to the south end of downtown – taking you to Alaskan Way or Dearborn to 1st Ave. – opened overnight. It’s on the right side of the “live” WSDOT camera above. Its opening means Metro buses are moving to their “interim” routes too. Meantime, here are other cameras we usually feature:

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

One incident to report so far: A crash blocking one lane of NB 5 on the south side of downtown, parallel with 4th/Dearborn.

6:09 AM: That’s clear. Back to the new ramp; one Route 56 rider says her bus did NOT shift over this morning.

6:50 AM: That may have been a “one-off,” as Metro suggests, as it’s even sent an advisory that the former Alaskan Way Viaduct routes will switch over. Meantime, the availability of the new NB 99 ramp has not yet led to the old pre-Viaduct-closure backup on the EB West Seattle Bridge exit, but traffic flow isn’t quite at the “new normal” level yet since this is a break week for Seattle Public Schools.

6:55 AM: Via scanner, we’re hearing that traffic police are assigned to the newly busy 1st/Dearborn intersection.

7:30 AM: The bridge ramp to NB 99 is still flowing well, on this first morning of increased 99 usability; the new exit ramp downtown remains wide open too.

8:59 AM: We noted on Twitter that bridge backups were visible around 8 am. By 8:30, that seemed to have eased. Also of note, this Metro update with more details on the bus changes facilitated by the opening of the new NB 99 exit ramp to Alaskan Way/Dearborn/1st. One commenter asked about the earlier mention that this still isn’t permanent – if you’ve missed previous reports on that, this “pathways” map explains the long-term plan.

9:31 AM: One more transportation note – the new carshares we mentioned after a West Seattle sighting back in December, LimePods, are available to all in Seattle as of today, per email we just received from the company’s PR firm.

39 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday watch, first morning for new 99 exit ramp, with bus changes"

  • Laura February 19, 2019 (7:11 am)

    On the second 57 of the morning and we took the fresh Dearborn exit. Smooth sailing into Pioneer Square. I’m looking forward to new views on my commute. 

    • G February 19, 2019 (7:38 am)

      Are there any bus stops in Pioneer Square?

      • West Seattle since 1979 February 19, 2019 (10:03 am)

        Not on 1st, sadly.

        • Austin February 19, 2019 (1:26 pm)

          I tweeted Metro about wanting a stop in Pioneer square. They are receptive to input, so if you want a stop there, let them know!

          • East Coast Cynic February 19, 2019 (6:56 pm)

            You could get off a metro bus near University St and take link southbound to pioneer square.

          • Delridge Resident February 20, 2019 (7:03 am)

            What is their twitter handle? I would also love a stop in Pioneer Square.

      • momof3boys February 21, 2019 (11:59 am)

        I tweeted & emailed a suggestion to add stops south of Seneca for the C line too.  Those of us that spend as much time walking south, as we do riding into downtown, would appreciate it :-)

  • Kyle February 19, 2019 (7:17 am)

    Does this mean the 4th Ave off ramp is now open to general traffic? Or is the painted bus lanes still enforced?

    • WSB February 19, 2019 (7:22 am)

      We will be checking with SDOT today on when the signage/striping is to be removed (assuming it hasn’t been already – can’t tell from the cameras; firsthand reports welcome).

      • Rasulga February 19, 2019 (8:13 am)

        It is still there and causing the same backup it has been. 

  • MB February 19, 2019 (7:31 am)

    Buses just announced the start of the new routing.

  • newnative February 19, 2019 (7:44 am)

    The 56 didn’t take 99, but the 4th Ave to busway route. Oh well. 

  • BW February 19, 2019 (7:47 am)

    What do you mean by “interim” routes in your post?

  • CD February 19, 2019 (7:52 am)

    Ramp easy peasy. All the traffic lights along First Ave make the #56 slower than when the bus had the Seneca Street exit.

    • East Coast Cynic February 19, 2019 (6:59 pm)

      The lights certainly made 1st Ave slower than Seneca.  Tuesday morning was like a Monday due to the holiday.  Can you imagine Wednesday and Thursday when more cars come to the streets in Pioneer Square on top of the traffic lights?

  • Hpdp February 19, 2019 (7:54 am)

    At 7 am bus lane striping and signage was still on 4th ave exit. 

  • dq February 19, 2019 (7:55 am)

    On the 37 right now and although Metro’s email states the 37 would be taking the new ramp we did not. 

  • ktrapp February 19, 2019 (8:01 am)

    Was on a 21X for the first time in at least a couple weeks (they weren’t showing up in the snow).  Zipped right in to work via the new (temporary) route.  Fastest I’ve arrived at work since at least the viaduct closure, if not longer.  Of course, with schools closed, and a lot of people probably not realizing the new off ramp is open, I’m assuming this won’t last.  But it was bliss this morning.

  • MQ February 19, 2019 (8:07 am)

    Drove the 4th ave off-ramp this morning around 7, bus signage and striping def. not removed yet. Not that it stopped a few folks from caring.

  • momosmom February 19, 2019 (8:26 am)

    Wondering who I can get in touch with about a speeding enforcement on 1st Ave in the SODO area? I have worked and parked in this area for 22 +years and ever since the “viaduct” thing the cars are now driving in excess of 45 MPH on a 35 MPH roadway, I’d say more like 50 MPH but I am giving them the benefit of doubt and there are so many bicyclists and walkers it scares me to think of what could happen, let alone the 2 rock dings in my drivers side door!

    • dunnkld February 19, 2019 (3:20 pm)

      Remembering Celso Diaz, who was killed biking on 1st Avenue South by a person (never apprehended) driving  about 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. Every mile you drive over the speed limit increases the chances that in case of a collision a death will result. could write to  City Council and explain the problem requesting that SPD put some enforcement focus on the area. Since it is in District 2, I would send it to all of them.

      • momosmom February 20, 2019 (5:03 am)

        @Dunnkld, Thank you for the info I will write the letter today.And I remember that accident very well, I came up to it right after it happened, a box truck driver was protecting Mr. Diaz’s body until the Police and EMT could get there andI believe  it was my jobs security cameras that the police used for that footage on your link. 

  • Trickycoolj February 19, 2019 (8:30 am)

    Hey @WSB any chance you can add the South Park Bridge cameras on the “relevant traffic cams to West Seattle” page? Didn’t know there were any in that area until playing with the travelers map during the snow storm. My daily commute out of WS takes the SP bridge and it can occasionally really get jammed up. Especially when there’s trouble on I-5. 

    • WSB February 19, 2019 (8:38 am)

      Yes, will be adding more 99 cams today and can add that too.

  • Railroaded February 19, 2019 (8:54 am)

    Looks pretty smooth, actually.

  • Jim P. February 19, 2019 (11:53 am)

    Coming hone last night from  downtown, the driver was on the P.A. griping heavily about having to use different reroutes and how she got lost the day before so we’d better be patient.I’m used to “quaint and curious” people on that route but when the driver starts acting oddly, it is worrisome.  Perhaps if she spent full time concentrating on the drive instead of chatting with someone, either a friend or a guy trying to pick her up, for the entire trip she might not get lost  As was, she almost missed a couple of stops where people wanted to get off because she was too busy chatting/flirting.

  • CAM February 19, 2019 (12:40 pm)

    I don’t know about anyone else but my bus driver decided to skip the Madison stop this morning on the C line which was pretty frustrating. It was also really frustrating to sit in gridlock on 1st Ave after several weeks of rapid movement down the busway. I’m not sure if it was faster or slower but it definitely felt a lot longer and the added few blocks to walk to work were not appreciated. Hopefully these are just day one kinks that have to get worked out. 

    • Chuck February 19, 2019 (1:40 pm)

      Cam, what time was your bus? I took the C line at 9:00 and it zipped right in, including First ave. I was pleasantly surprised. What was REALLY surprising was that our driver thought he was running his own  nightclub act, and “serenaded” us with the theme song to the Jeffersons (Moving on up to the Eastside), as well singing out coming stops. He was not nearly as entertaining as he thought, but his levity was (mostly) appreciated all the same. 

      • newnative February 19, 2019 (3:40 pm)

        I have had that bus driver, he is actually pretty entertaining. 

      • CAM February 19, 2019 (4:03 pm)

        I departed 35th and Avalon at about 8:30 or 8:45 so probably right before you. The bus was so full I couldn’t see anything in any direction so it is possible there was an obstruction. I just know that I was standing in one position long enough, and unable to adjust or move at all, that I ended up being in pain by the time we got to Seneca. I think I know which driver you are referring to and I’m used to him doing the C line in the evening. I’ve always appreciated the positive attitude he brings to the job even if the entertainment value may be less than ideal. 

  • Quora February 19, 2019 (1:39 pm)

    I too don’t understand the idea of routing all of those busses through Pioneer Square considering how congested Pioneer Square is these days. I’d expect to sit in traffic there every single morning.Is it not possible to route the busses differently so they can connect with 3rd Ave further south? Seems silly to not take advantage of the traffic restrictions on 3rd Ave as soon as feasibly possible.

    • CAM February 19, 2019 (4:07 pm)

      They east up Cherry which is probably the earliest they could. I’m not sure they could handle the degree of the left turn from Yesler which is the next closest option. I believe the plan is to eventually have them take Alaskan Way to Columbia but I could be wrong. I’d love a stop in Pioneer Square. Ideally somewhere around Main or Yesler. I think that would ease the pressure a lot. I did report the missed stop to Metro earlier today but I haven’t heard anything back yet. 

  • Jamie Williams February 19, 2019 (2:57 pm)

    Like it was mentioned earlier, we have light traffic because of winter break. I’m a little concerned about the gridlock next week given how long it took to get from the 99 exit to Madison. 1st really doesn’t seem like the best choice as pioneer square seems more pedestrian friendly than commuter friendly (on of the nice things about the area).
    New 99 = hurry up
    Off ramp = and wait

  • quora February 19, 2019 (7:01 pm)

    Also w/r/t the Pioneer Square routing, imagine how congested it is going to be going through there if the sounders have a 6pm match, or a Seahawks game on a Monday evening. Makes no sense to be routing busses through there.

    • Jon Wright February 19, 2019 (7:51 pm)

      The 1st Ave routing is temporary.

      • Kevin February 19, 2019 (10:12 pm)

        Nine months to a year is temporary, you are right. However, this poor routing is negatively impacting people for a long time (especially those that actually go to a job downtown.) 

  • John February 20, 2019 (6:05 am)

    C-line took 4th this morning.  Yesterday we took the Dearborn exit which is great. Not sure why they switched back…

  • Meyer February 20, 2019 (8:23 am)

    This new route has made my C Line commute go from 40 minutes down to 30 minutes. I took it both today and yesterday and am quite happy to have my original commute times back

Sorry, comment time is over.