TRAFFIC/TRANSIT/WEATHER: Thursday AM watch, including shortlived Westwood fire call, plus newest snowstorm alert

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

6:27 AM: Good morning. This is the one semi-normal day before the next threat of snow tomorrow; the weather alert was upgraded overnight to a Winter Storm Watch in effect starting Friday afternoon.

METRO ALERTS: Route 37 did not run at 6:16 am
Route 55 is not running at 6:31 AM, 6:48 AM & 7:30 AM .. also 8:34 am
Route 116 is not running at 6:33 AM, 7:13 AM & 8:00 AM …
Route 56 is not running at 6:43 AM & 7:33 AM … also 8:41 am
Route 57 won’t run at 7:20 am …
Route 113 is not running at 7:34 am …

6:33 AM: Seattle Fire “full response” headed to Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor) across from the south side of Westwood Village. It’s a reported electrical fire. First crews on scene aren’t finding anything.

6:40 AM: The response is being downsized, “no sign of smoke or fire.”

6:55 AM: All SFD units dismissed. Back to the rest of weather/traffic watch.

7:07 AM: Updating the list of announced Metro cancellations above. In all, more than 30 routes around the greater Metro service area have had cancellation announcements so far this morning.

7:25 AM: One SFD unit is being dispatched to Roxbury/Olson for a reported crash. (added) It was called in as driver hitting a tree.

7:33 AM: Location has been updated (by first-arriving SFD crew) to 3rd/Olson [map].

8:10 AM: Two more north West Seattle bus runs have added cancellations – 8:34 am Route 55, 8:41 am Route 56. Adding to the list above. In comments, Metro’s Jeff Switzer says a factor in cancellations here and elsewhere is buses in the shop for repairs.

8:28 AM: Tunnel’s backed up on its second non-snow day- here’s a screengrab from a few minutes ago, looking at the south entrance to the NB deck:

Still awaiting that south-side exit ramp to handle some of the traffic – here’s our report from Wednesday. P.S. We’ll be adding tunnel cameras today to our traffic-cams page. (Here’s the “live” link to the one screengrabbed above.)

46 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT/WEATHER: Thursday AM watch, including shortlived Westwood fire call, plus newest snowstorm alert"

  • Laura February 7, 2019 (6:38 am)

    Metro keeps canceling 55s, 56s and 57s saying it’s due to snowy and icy conditions. I live deep in the heart of 57 country and know that’s not true. Also, they’re not canceling ALL the buses on those routes, so that’s pretty shady. Do you have any idea what’s actually up?

    • David February 7, 2019 (6:47 am)

      I suspect it is not about whether the bus can handle the conditions but more about resource and driver shortages. If a driver can’t get to work due to snow, they have to cancel some routes. Other resources (like bus availability) can be impacted as well.

      • East Coast Cynic February 7, 2019 (8:01 am)

        If Drivers are still not getting to work four days later with the main arterials clear, in the city at least, then, imo, this speaks to a problem of the WSDOT not getting the job done in the outlying areas of the city where many of the Drivers live.

    • Sue H February 7, 2019 (6:47 am)

      Laura, in the past they have admitted that they “steal” the shorter buses from our route to put on other ones that would normally be articulated, I think they figure that the routes are shorter than some others, and there are other bus options they consider reasonable, so we don’t really need those buses. I’m a 55 rider and I disagree. 

      • WSB February 7, 2019 (6:59 am)

        I’ll ask Metro later this morning but in the meantime FWIW this is far from the only area that’s had cancellations. Text alerts are replicated on the Metro Twitter account (which you can see without being a Twitter user) and just scrolling through the past hour, more than 30 routes around Metro’s service area are affected.

        • Jeff Switzer, Metro February 7, 2019 (7:44 am)

          While snow conditions still mean chains on buses in some parts of King County, our vehicle maintenance crews are working hard in recovery mode to troubleshoot and redeploy buses. Some peak commute trips had to be canceled due to coach availability. For routes with infrequent peak service, customer information issued transit alerts via email, text and tweet. For other routes staff manually entered the canceled info into the Puget Sound Trip Planner app and via Text for Departures (available at 62550). It’s not yet available through downstream real-time data products, but we are working to sort that out. In the meantime please use these tools and we apologize for the inconvenience. We are hoping to get back to full strength in time for the next storm, and our crews have been working long, hard hours to keep buses moving. 

          • Laura February 7, 2019 (8:06 am)

            Thanks so much for all the replies, David, Sue H, WSB and Jeff. And thanks for the explanation, Jeff. I’m overly quick to get cranky and do appreciate all the hard work you guys are doing.

          • NH February 7, 2019 (8:08 am)

            Jeff, 8 buses were canceled from Admiral this morning. I understand this week was challenging, but 8 buses out of an already limited commuter run is a bit hard to swallow. 

          • Alki commuter February 7, 2019 (5:27 pm)

            We appreciate you engaging with the WS community but cancelling the 55, 37, and 56 is a complete nightmare! The roads are clear and it does not seem believeable due to maintenance issues. The C line buses were SO full it’s almost unsafe. When they’re so packed, they just fly by and leave people waiting. I suggest Metro try getting out into the field to see what’s really going on. 

    • John February 7, 2019 (6:52 am)

      Yeah it makes no sense. ..37 keeps getting cancelled to.  Ride2 is a joke at this point.   But I got to drive my first LimePod to the water taxi today…so…bonus?  Can’t wait to see how the next week goes. 

      • Zoey February 7, 2019 (8:49 am)

        Really?! I love Ride2 and find it so useful! Whenever the 57 is cancelled or I sleep through my alarm 😬 I Ride2 to the Junction for the C Line.

        • newnative February 7, 2019 (1:13 pm)

          I don’t know how you could be using it reliably when I’m getting alerts that it’s inoperable. 

    • Buriener February 7, 2019 (4:15 pm)

      Yep the rt 113 I take to and from work has been cancelled all week. The alternative is to take the 120 and that means a long trek up and down a very icy hill for me. 

  • newnative February 7, 2019 (6:42 am)

    Once more, before my alarm went off, I received Metro text alerts about cancelled 55s and 56. Hopefully there will be a 57 to take us to work. 

  • Sue H February 7, 2019 (6:45 am)

    More Metro alerts on the 55:”Metro Transit Alert – Route 55 to downtown Seattle due to leave the Admiral District at 6:31 AM, 6:48 AM & 7:30 AM will not operate this morning.”I am so tired of them gutting the 55 on a regular basis in inclement weather. They want us to take transit instead of driving, but then put up constant barriers to that. I guess with the coming storm(s) that I should expect to not see half the 55s for the next week and a half.

  • Alki commuter February 7, 2019 (7:02 am)

    I also got notifications about the 37 and 56 not running again on Alki. Super frustrated as well. Both buses have been extremely unreliable after work as well (multiple no shows/no alerts in evenings). More transparency from Metro of what is going on would be nice as the roads are not as icy as days ago. 

    • Zoe February 7, 2019 (4:37 pm)

      Where are you getting these notifications? I have hopelessly waited on a never coming 37 bus so many times this week it makes me furious. How do you know when it isnt coming?

  • Ktrapp February 7, 2019 (7:22 am)

    At least you can plan around the cancellations.  On 35th, on Tuesday I had a 50 minute wait for any bus.  Yesterday and today was 30 minutes.  Each day the bus gets packed well before we get near Avalon.  I’m not sure why I don’t just give up and drive in on my own. 

  • JayDee February 7, 2019 (7:23 am)

    This is not inclement weather. There is no ice or snow in Alki and Admiral and the West Seattle Bridge is clear. Granted there are still idiots driving like they never heard of black ice.  But METRO is incompetent and we need to let our County representatives know. I wonder if Dow rides the bus? But apparently not the 55, 56, or 57.

  • Tracey February 7, 2019 (7:29 am)

    I work in an industry (healthcare) in which it is completely frowned upon to call out from work.  When there is a threat of snow, we are offered (at no charge) hotel rooms close to work to insure we can serve our customers.  Perhaps Metro and SPU need to consider similar options for their staff.  Can you imagine what would happen if the SFD all called out due to snow?  Certain jobs have different expectations of service.  Not sure where to draw the line.  

    • Zoey February 7, 2019 (8:52 am)

      That would be amazing. Some drivers have been sleeping at the base to be able to be there for work. Others are risking life and limb driving in! And those that do make it in often don’t get their breaks due to delays (my dad was one).

    • Q February 7, 2019 (11:34 am)

      I for one am thankful that they don’t overcharge as egregiously for mass transit as they do for healthcare. It’s nice that this allows you to rent hotels though.

      • NH February 7, 2019 (5:27 pm)

        How do you expect there to be staff to care for patients if they don’t have some sort of plan? Yes, they occasionally rent rooms. This is for staff that ends up staying, working double shifts, not seeing their families in days because they are the few that can make it in when buses aren’t running and most other people are staying safe at home.

  • WSB February 7, 2019 (7:54 am)

    Thanks to Jeff from Metro (who I would have been pinging shortly to ask the question anyway) for the mention of bus repairs. It was just mentioned in the Metro Twitter account too:
    https://twitter.com/kcmetrobus/status/1093532435118141442

  • KT February 7, 2019 (8:04 am)

    “In all, more than 30 routes around the greater Metro service area have had cancellation announcements so far this morning.”  When you need Metro most they cannot be counted on.  Their slogan “We’ll Get You There” remains true, you just don’t know when they’ll get you there.  

    • 35th & Avalon rider February 7, 2019 (8:19 am)

        Or if Metro will get you back home!  In 2008, buses ran into town in the morning.  NOTHING came to W. Seattle after about noon – no bus, no taxi, no town car!

  • Qwerty February 7, 2019 (8:22 am)

    It doesn’t look like there were any formal cancellations, but having stood outside for almost an hour I can tell you the 120 is effectively not running in North Delridge. The three buses that made it to Delridge and Brandon were too full to stop. I’m fortunate that I can work from home – once I get the feeling back in my fingers. 

  • Jennifer February 7, 2019 (8:27 am)

    I can appreciate that metro has to cancel routes occasionally due to driver shortages or maintenance issues but it is crazy to cancel most of the 55, 56 and 57 routes every day since the first snowfall. How can we rely on metro if they never show up? I have been a bus rider for over 30 years in the Admiral area of WS to DT and this is the WORST metro response I’ve ever seen. There is really no excuse for this kind of non service.

  • smittytheclown February 7, 2019 (8:43 am)

    Once the “stadium exit” opens I think traffic will get even worse.I envision people cutting in late from the middle lane rather than wait in a line.I hope they have plans (ala Spokane Street Viaduct to NB I-5) making it illegal to cross lanes too close to the exit.

  • Busrider February 7, 2019 (8:47 am)

    C lines are missing last two stops this am

  • 98126res February 7, 2019 (9:13 am)

    So appreciate your awesome excellent work on this blog. Cannot thank you often enough!  have a wonderful day 😊

    • WSB February 7, 2019 (9:47 am)

      Thanks for the kind words.

      And sorry for the late launch this morning; guessed that this would be the one “almost normal” day but clearly it wasn’t. Back on 5 am launch tomorrow!

  • Joe Z February 7, 2019 (9:18 am)

    It’s not just the 50s buses, the 21 and C-line were both disasters this morning. Three Cs in a row bunched at Avalon, the first two completely full and the last one just barely fit everyone. What happened to the excellent transit that we had for the Viaduct closure? 

  • Route 21 Hostage February 7, 2019 (10:21 am)

    The 21 is unreliable at the best of times, and it’s been even worse this week. The 21’s through-routing with the 5 means several runs of the 21 are late or no-show whenever anything happens anywhere in the city, so it’s a daily nightmare. Extremely bad planning on Metro’s part. But I love the earth more than I hate the 21, so I have to keep riding.

    • NW February 7, 2019 (6:41 pm)

      Have you considered taking the 50 and transfering to get to your destination?

  • aa February 7, 2019 (10:23 am)

    Ok, I admit to knowing very little about the tunnel plans and I have read several times that there is an assumption that once the Dearborn exit is open traffic backups in the tunnel will lessen.  And I wonder if the people who will be using that exit in the future are actually in the tunnel now?  Why would they be?  Wouldn’t they be staying out of the tunnel because there is no exit to where they want to go and taking side streets instead?

    • WSB February 7, 2019 (11:06 am)

      Theoretically … for some people it might seem more convenient, now that the tunnel’s open, to exit at the north end and head south into downtown, than to head north from here via the eastbound bridge and 1st/4th/I-5. (Or at least to try that!) The tunnel’s north end is near Seattle Center and so not that far from the heart of downtown, depending on where you’e going.

  • anon February 7, 2019 (11:00 am)

    My husband has been using the tunnel and he said the main cause of the backups seems to be the north exit, there’s a 90 degree turn and then an immediate stop light so it’s backing up because of that. 

    • Chuck February 7, 2019 (2:24 pm)

      Sounds par for the course for Seattle…  The old exit to Western (and Seneca for that matter) had the same affect. You’d think the might have anticipated that a little better, but nothing surprises me in this town anymore. Now I’m actually glad my company has moved from SLU to downtown and I can enter from the south without having to suffer the tunnel. I think my claustrophobia would kick in huge if stalled underground. Yikes! 

  • Rider February 7, 2019 (11:49 am)

    One of the 57s that showed up today went the wrong way. Took the viaduct path  through the tunnel and started stopping at random bus stops till it made it to the return path of the route.

  • anonyme February 7, 2019 (1:17 pm)

    I’ve been on multiple buses lately that have broken down or had mechanical problems, way more than usual and unrelated to weather.   Also lots of cancellations and no-shows, one of which I reported – and Metro denied.  Bollocks.  Metro demands more and more money, adding additional runs to a few certain routes.  However, the service overall has just declined.  Arbor Heights is a transportation desert.  Fifty minute wait for the 21 Express this morning.   My #22 driver comes from Kent, and hasn’t missed a day, so that seems a lame excuse.

  • Route 56 traveler February 7, 2019 (5:20 pm)

    I got another notification that the 5:31 route (3rd and Bell) is not running. This is getting ridiculous! I do not accept Metro’s earlier response today that buses are broken down/maintenance issues. We need more accountability from Metro as this impacts many people on a daily basis. 

  • NW February 7, 2019 (6:23 pm)

    I suggest if you are waiting for long periods on time at a metro bus stop hoping your route arrives take the first bus that comes along that get you closer to your destination while traffic in general is building get to know routes along 4th ave and busway , sodo’s 5th ave, that are in route northbound into the city or whichever direction your destination is. Waiting day by day 30 or 40 minutes while other routes pass by with space for you bus riders and are going in the general direction you are going is not getting you to your destination as traffic builds. 

  • NW February 7, 2019 (6:33 pm)

    Sitting on the 50 as it stopped at 35th ave and Avalon I could see the frustration of bus commuters waiting in the cold while the 50 had plenty of seats and space to stand yet only 1 to 2 people boarded. The only other two routes that stop there are the c line and the 21 and the 50 goes in the same general direction, learn other routes and get use to making transfers for one bus to another until routes and weather get back to normal. 

  • Mj February 7, 2019 (7:28 pm)

    If the snow apacolipse happens I hope Seattle code enforcement start citing people for not keeping the sidewalk adjacent to their home and business clear.  This is a safety issue for pedestrians.

  • 1994 February 7, 2019 (9:20 pm)

    The north exit may need to have the traffic light removed. Or replaced with a roundabout to  get a better flow off the exit ramp and moved along?

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