FOLLOWUP: What SDOT says it’ll do about the homeward-bound slowness

(Screengrab from SDOT traffic camera at 1st/Madison a few minutes ago)

ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: If you travel home from downtown on 1st Avenue – especially by bus – you know it’s been agonizingly sluggish, increasingly often. People have been begging Metro and SDOT to figure out something. Just forwarded from the office of City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who’s been talking with SDOT too, a new reply from SDOT:

We recognize that traffic conditions are constrained on 1st Ave, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate the Seattle Squeeze, Seattle’s period of tough traffic as construction projects change how we get around downtown. 1st Ave is not a long-term plan for buses; this was a temporary relocation due to Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition work. Buses will move off 1st Ave onto Alaskan Way entirely once the two-way Columbia St transit corridor is built. In the meantime, we know there have been impacts to bus riders.

1st Ave is operating at capacity, meaning that an unforeseen event such as a disabled vehicle, or a planned mid-day event in the stadium, can quickly tip the system to failure. Additionally, it takes quite a while for the system to resume normal operation once the problem is resolved. Construction activity along Alaskan Way to demolish the Viaduct at the south end of the corridor is causing additional trips to detour to 1st Ave causing further delay. SDOT and Metro have also been working to make sure buses use the center lane due to the weight restrictions along the curb lanes in Pioneer Square, which causes some additional friction as buses try to access the southbound stop at Railroad Way. Last week, the confluence of these new traffic patterns and evening events at T-Mobile Park resulted in some very long travel times along 1st Ave.

In response, SDOT will implement the following changes in an effort to provide a more reliable experience for all modes, with a special focus for transit and pedestrian users. These changes include:

-Revising signal timing at 1st Ave S & S Dearborn St and Alaskan Way S & S Dearborn St to further aid transit operation
-Further optimizing the signal timing plan for the 1st Ave corridor through Pioneer Square while emphasizing the north and south movements
-Implementing pre-game event timing to support the last two midday baseball games for the season
-Working to ensure high priority for incident management during the morning and afternoon commute time

In the meantime, we’re working closely with WSDOT and Metro to monitor traffic conditions and consider what can be done to keep people and goods moving.

That reply also was sent directly to some of the frustrated commuters who contacted SDOT. Two weeks ago, we had followed up with Metro, which at the time indicated no immediate action was likely.

ADDED MONDAY: Metro says, no reroute:

Some have asked if we could return to the pathway used during the viaduct closure. That pathway worked in January because many commuters changed their travel times and patterns for a month and also because of several temporary bus lanes and uniformed traffic control officers at key intersections. These measures would be difficult and costly to renew and maintain for an extended time.

117 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What SDOT says it'll do about the homeward-bound slowness"

  • Andy August 2, 2019 (6:05 pm)

    While it’s nice to hear SDOT is acknowledging there is a problem it is not just the stadium schedule.  I have not had a commute from downtown to Admiral that has taken less than one hour in the past several weeks in the 5:30-6:30 time frame.  That is 5.9 miles. As I type this, my bus has not moved in 11 minutes and was 29 minutes late and I will be over an hour late for a very important dinner.  Something more HAS to be done, this is not feasible. 

  • Jeremy August 2, 2019 (6:05 pm)

    Yep. Been on the 120 for an hour. Got all the way from 3rd and Spring to 1st and Cherry. 

  • AMD August 2, 2019 (6:06 pm)

    My bus driver broke route to avoid Pioneer Square and I was so happy I almost cried.  I have started talking to other riders about pooling our money to bribe the drivers into doing the same on future commutes.  Nothing contained in this statement from SDoT/Herbold/whoever is satisfactory.  The bus stop on King St. was a BAD DECISION.  Most of the buses stopping there now never had a stop in Pioneer Square before and they were fine.  Now they’re trapped on a crappy route for a stop they shouldn’t have.  Keeping all of the curb lane parking AND allowing unlimited access for SOVs during rush hours is also a bad decision.  The only answer anyone seems to be able to come up with is “deal with it”?  Each time they’re asked about it, we hear about how this one day or this one week was the exception.  It’s every day.  It’s been every week for a long time.  These are not exceptions or else you wouldn’t be hearing about it over and over.  CLOSE THE STREET TO CARS DURING RUSH HOUR.  They can go on another street to get through Pioneer Square.  The buses can’t because they’re limited by that stupid, unnecessary bus stop.  Yes, I’m mad about this.

    • Soup Ninja August 5, 2019 (10:15 am)

      So kind of you to think of the disabled people who use King St. stop to connect to the streetcar to access Harborview Hospital. See, because I use a wheelchair, I plan ahead, leaving home often a couple hours in advance and then take a book to read. That’s the way some people have to do it. I know I need more time to get to point B so I plan ahead. Maybe you could burn off some of that rage and stop thinking only of yourself for once? 

  • Shane August 2, 2019 (6:08 pm)

    Little over an hour from 3rd and Pike to First and Columbia.  Seriously considering getting off at the next stop and walking.

  • Mike August 2, 2019 (6:10 pm)

    I left work at 4:48, its Now 6:10 and we’re just now getting on 1st Ave

  • StoutCat August 2, 2019 (6:14 pm)

    Wow. I’ve only read about how bad this is on the WSB but now I am IN IT. My 120 has moved 3 blocks in 50 minutes, from 3rd and Columbia to 1st and Columbia. There are 3 other 120s stacked up around us. This gridlock is no joke.

  • G August 2, 2019 (6:16 pm)

    I boarded a bus over a half hour ago on 3rd and haven’t even made it 5 blocks. Another lost night with my children. Im reading the list above thinking “these things should have been done since day 1.” I had patience for the Seattle squeeze when the commute increased 20 minutes, but any patience is long gone now that it REGULARLY takes over an hour to commute 6 miles each day. This is absolutely unacceptable and our city needs to come up with a better solution. 

  • Jay August 2, 2019 (6:18 pm)

    I know that Metro and the city are in a tough situation but this seems like a pathetic effort to solve the problem. This afternoon I watched a 120 take 12 minutes to go half a block. Once I got on, it took another 7 minutes before we were actually moving. That’s 19 minutes to go one block at 4pm on a day when I don’t think there were any events. At least in the summer it’s pleasant to stand outside. In a couple of months….ugh.

  • Lacey August 2, 2019 (6:18 pm)

    Two hours now. Waterfront. There are no words for this insanity.

  • Irishlady August 2, 2019 (6:19 pm)

    My sis got on the 1st stop for the 120, 3rd and Virginia, at 430.  Still hasn’t made it to Delridge C.C.

  • Kyle August 2, 2019 (6:27 pm)

    When does the construction end and buses get off 1st? Whatever, the estimate is, I bet it takes an extra 6 months before it actually happens.I’m also skeptical signal changes will make more than a very small dent. Real measures, like dedicated bus lanes are needed for this “temporary” time. People on the peninsula need to get to and from work for the next year.

    • J August 2, 2019 (8:28 pm)

      Yea it’s irritating that they keep highlighting that it’s “temporary” but can’t give a firm timeline to completion. If “temporary” means anything more than a couple months, these solutions they’ve come up with aren’t enough.

    • David August 4, 2019 (7:37 am)

      The WSDOT timeframe currently has Columbia St opening in February 2020, at which point the buses will still run down 3rd to Columbia but instead of turning left on 1st they will continue down the hill and turn left on Alaskan Way. This will present new problems but probably not as bad as 1st Ave

  • W.H. Jamison, Jr. August 2, 2019 (6:43 pm)

    The Metro staffers who decided to route everything down 1st avenue should be fired. This was a stupid decision that makes public transit unusable between 4 and 7 pm, unless of course you like sitting on a bus that moves through Pioneer Square slower than the walking speed of a one-legged man. Whoever made this decision deserves to lose their job and end up out on the streets for the way they screwed over commuters.

  • Seriously? August 2, 2019 (6:44 pm)

    Had time to ditch the bus after not making 2 blocks in 45 minutes. Walked back to the office, then to 1st and King, passed the bus I was on, got a 56 at 6:40 and now on the WS bridge. The bus I was on was still a good 3 blocks behind. Originally left the office at 5 and got on a bus at 5:05. So, basically in an hour’s time, I walked over a mile, and still passed the original bus I was on. Total BS! 

  • Kravitz August 2, 2019 (6:44 pm)

    After just having another one of these NIGHTMARE commutes home, I find SDOT’s response typical and ill-informed, with no real action plan. I boarded a C-Line today at 3rd and Pike and made it only to Madison, where we sat in the inside lane blocking all traffic behind us for 4 lights. The right lane, also sat there waiting to inch forward and eventually turn onto Columbia. Our driver opened his door and begged the driver occupying the right lane to let him in, so he could unblock our lane for traffic wanting to continue down 3rd. It was a complete cluster, and myself and a few other riders begged to get off.  We walked the rest of the way to the 1st Ave. stop at Railroad Ave., where I was able to board a 55 to the Junction. I’m grateful to have the ability to do this – and I feel for those that are disabled and can’t. To say that an unforeseen event like a disabled vehicle or a stadium event can lead to system failure is the understatement of the year. This is a DAILY failure, regardless of ballgames. And I have yet to see a disabled vehicle during my commutes down 1st Ave — but I do see countless jerks that block the box at every intersection, which keeps anyone from moving forward. The SDOT, WSDOT, Metro and Seattle City Council all need to own up to their poor planning and complete failure of moving this city forward. Who needs a gym membership when your new fitness routine is the result of poor city planning?

  • Shane August 2, 2019 (6:44 pm)

    95 minutes from third and Pike to 99 on the 120

  • 42nd Mom August 2, 2019 (6:45 pm)

    Left work at 5:15. Buses backed way up. Still on 1st at 6:44 pm. I could walk home quicker. This is really getting old. 

  • Quora August 2, 2019 (7:01 pm)

    Heard about a friend of mine who is looking at 2 hours to get home tonight. This is an abomination. Metro is run by a bunch of idiots and they should have implemented these changes weeks ago. Oh, and if it is August 1st and the Mariners are 20 games out of first place, which is basically every year now, then just cancel the rest of the mid day games. Not worth anyone’s time or frustration.

  • Yma August 2, 2019 (7:07 pm)

    1st, 2nd, (south bound) – metro bus completely blocking a major intersection – for more than 2 light cycles. I wait before I enter an intersection – because I will be FINED if I’m blocking and I like to be a good neighbor driver.  Hey – bus – please abide by the same rules of the road.

  • Sunuva August 2, 2019 (7:15 pm)

    Glad to hear they are making some changes. Today was another absolutely terrible day, both in and out of downtown. I spent over 3 hours on buses today just getting from Arbor Heights to downtown and back. My work day is exhausting enough but sitting on a hot bus that isn’t moving at the end of the day is beyond rough. I hope these changes help, I really do.

  • Swede. August 2, 2019 (7:30 pm)

    To throw some gasoline on the fire Metro also bust and fine the drivers if they drive in the righthand lane down on 1st Ave. Due to weight restrictions (10000lbs) in that lane. Effectivelly making it a one lane only! That issue WAS known before the decision to route it that way…

  • aa August 2, 2019 (7:37 pm)

    I know what I am about to suggest is not a solution, and maybe only work for some people.Have you considered driving or taking a bus to a location where you can get on light rail?  

    • Mike August 2, 2019 (9:42 pm)

      Last I checked, lightrail isn’t coming to West Seattle until the year 2035

      • WSB August 2, 2019 (9:47 pm)

        2030.
        https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/west-seattle-ballard-link-extensions (and dozens of reports on WSB since before the ST3 vote, when the date was set)

      • aa August 3, 2019 (1:26 am)

        Yes, you have to leave WS to get to a light rail station.  And for some people it still might be a good option.  

        • Mike August 3, 2019 (9:25 am)

          Oddly enough, I often drive to Beacon Hill and hop on lightrail there.  For many, that’s not a viable option.  Unfortunately the vehicle I’d use to drive there is being worked on, so I took the bus yesterday.  Wish I had just rode my bike, same time to get to work as taking the bus, would have saved me almost 1.5 hours getting home.  Seattle to Seattle in 2 hours and 15 min getting home yesterday, most just sitting in bumper to bumper bus traffic, cars driving by.  Metro planners need to reevaluate these routes.

  • Shane August 2, 2019 (7:52 pm)

    AA,  I’m gonna look into that….

    • KM August 2, 2019 (10:02 pm)

      You can take the light rail to the 50 and then take the 50 to 35th and Avalon or the Junction 👍🏻 I’m so mad on behalf of everyone going through this. It’s it completely unacceptable!

      • West Seattle since 1979 August 2, 2019 (10:21 pm)

        The 50 doesn’t hold that many passengers and is less frequent. 

        • K Anderson August 2, 2019 (11:39 pm)

          I got off the 120 at 3rd and Columbia at 5:20  to make it to the link to take the 50 home even though the 50 was running behind and made it to WS before 6pm. So far it has been the fastest option these last few weeks. Not perfect but better. 

          • Kathy August 3, 2019 (1:56 pm)

            If we increase ridership on 50 bus, maybe we will get more frequency on this route. Fifteen minute headways would be nice as opposed to current half hour.  At least part of the day. It’s a great route that serves 3 light rail stations.

  • Some bus options August 2, 2019 (7:53 pm)

    Hello, I work by 3rd and Seneca and live by 35th and Avalon and I have experienced the same problems. Fridays and game days are the worst.I have a few suggestions for getting to West Seattle by bus.Walk to 1st and Railroad and get on a West Seattle bus.  If the buses are really backed up at that location, walk to 1st and Edgar Martinez drive and catch the bus there.  This may not be an option for everybody, but for those able to walk for about 20 minutes it’s much more pleasant than being on the bus through downtown/Pioneer Square.Another option is to take the light rail to SoDo and then catch the 50 to West Seattle.  There is a bus stop right next to the light rail station.  You could also take the light rail to Othello Station and catch the 50 to West Seattle.For those taking the water taxi, I’m curious how that commute to West Seattle is going during evening peak time.

    • Shane August 2, 2019 (8:42 pm)

      I like the rail/bus idea.  Thanks!

    • StoutCat August 2, 2019 (9:08 pm)

      Thanks for posting these suggestions. I’m definitely going to try some of these out.

    • Squeeze THIS, Seattle :) August 3, 2019 (1:21 pm)

      I actually thought AA meant something like this in their original light rail suggestion. For commuting to the UW, my husband gets off the bus at King then walks to the light rail. I, too, walk between King street stop and wherever I need to go downtown. Even at 3:30, I’ll see a C pass me at 2nd & Columbia, and then I pass it on 1st as I’m walking to the King St. stop. @Kravitz, I know, I thought it was hilarious in the SDOT bit that they’re saying 1st is “at” capacity. That’s like an airline saying a flight is at capacity when everyone in a seat has someone sitting on their lap and people are standing in the aisles. (shh, don’t be reading this and getting ideas, airlines!)I wonder if Metro could try rerouting as they did for viadoom. I thought that worked ok, or at least seemingly better than this.

  • KC August 2, 2019 (7:55 pm)

    SDOT and Metro have no solutions, and it is maddening. Not everyone can hop off a bus and walk, or grab a lime bus; we pay to ride the bus; we should be able to reach our destinations in a reasonable amount of time, all the time. I’m tired of being held hostage by SDOT and Metro and their flagrant disregard for commuters. Take cars out of the chronically congested areas during rush hour. It’s that easy. Reviving signal timing will do nothing. Try harder SDOT and Metro. 

  • AlkiResident August 2, 2019 (7:56 pm)

    Is there a way to make sure no cars can park on first during rush hour so that the buses/cars have two lanes?  Or is this already in place?

    • KM August 3, 2019 (7:46 am)

      That’s in place during rush hour, but you can still park mid-day. I took a C line home slightly earlier than rush hour after parking hours, and one tow truck was working on the 8 cars that had to be moved. Parking should really be banned on 1st while busses are rerouted there if the city doesn’t have the resources to address their removal right away.

  • KC August 2, 2019 (7:58 pm)

    SDOT and Metro have no solutions, and it is maddening. Not everyone can hop off a bus and walk, or grab a lime bus; we pay to ride the bus; we should be able to reach our destinations in a reasonable amount of time, all the time. I’m tired of being held hostage by SDOT and Metro and their flagrant disregard for commuters. Take cars out of the chronically congested areas during rush hour. It’s that easy. Reviving signal timing will do nothing. Try harder SDOT and Metro. 

  • Curious August 2, 2019 (7:59 pm)

    Who is the best contact to complain about these horrid commutes to? I would love it if everyone affected by these double/triple drive times would bombard officials to get a better solution. We need traffic cops directing at these overwhelmed intersections on first and Alaskan way. We need parked vehicles off the street starting at 3pm and towing of offenders. The solution can’t be “just be patient”- we need better planning and we need NOW. 

  • Gary August 2, 2019 (8:09 pm)

    During the period last winter when the viaduct was closed and the tunnel wasn’t open yet, Metro routed the C Line from the WS Bridge to 4th Ave north, then it jumped onto the busway next to the light rail (nowhere near 1st Ave). It worked great. Don’t know why they didn’t keep it that way.

  • Quora August 2, 2019 (8:16 pm)

    Remember when we were all blown away by how moderate the commute was during Viadoom? Essentially, the 4th Ave re-route was a great idea and only extended people’s commute times by 10-20 minutes. Fast forward to now, when our beautiful $13 Billion dollar tunnel is WIDE open and the state is licking their chops to start tolling the ever living hell out of us, and our commutes have increased SIX FOLD in terms of transit time! This is absolute madness and people should be held accountable for this. How in the hell the idea that, using 1st Avenue during the summer months, when buses can only use 1 single lane and people regularly violate the parking rules down there, was APPROVED by people likely making a pretty good living to sort this crap out is beyond me. Complete and total $?!& show.

    • Yma August 2, 2019 (9:10 pm)

      @quora not sure what commute you’re doing. Tunnel/99 is horrific. We had the chance to do this better & we opted for cheap .

  • J August 2, 2019 (8:20 pm)

    I quit the bus and started driving my car to work! The reroutes were physically and mentally agonizing. My back was killing me after a few weeks of 2 hour evening bus commutes.I drove my car to work the past 2 weeks and made it from 6th and Pike to Thistle in 20-25 minutes everyday! It has been such a relief. I hate to be another car on the road downtown, but I’ve been commuting by bus for years and have never seen it this bad!

    • JCW August 3, 2019 (8:53 am)

      I’ve done this too. It hurts my heart, because I want to see transit grow and expand in Seattle, but I couldn’t take the 2 hour trek any more. My commute used to be 40 min, and has tripled to nearly 2 hours, even on an express route. Yesterday, I was home in 20 min, despite drivers making their own addition turn lane into the 99-SB tunnel. 

  • carole August 2, 2019 (8:20 pm)

    Take light rail to the Lander station, transfer to the 50 to the Junction, then north on California. It shows stops on Delridge and also on 35th for connections. If you can connect from the 50 it has to be faster than sitting and not moving.  Why have they not considered using the Busway?  Do any routes use it? 

  • Will S. August 2, 2019 (8:38 pm)

    I have been walking from work at 2nd & Seneca (1 block from my usual bus stop) all the way through Pioneer Square to the temporary bus stop at 1st & Dearborn. I usually pass 5-7 buses (C, 55 or 21X) I would normally take and then get on a bus that is nearly done with the excruciating slog to 99. Definitely faster than sitting in traffic. Last week on this walk I passed our county councilmember, Joe McDermott (who is generally very good on transit issues) and I shouted to him “Councilmember the bus isn’t working!” to which he replied “I know!” Anyway, what’s troubling about SDOT’s statement is that they give themselves and us no timetable for implementation and so we can’t provide feedback on how they’re working. When exactly are these signal timing changes going to be made—Monday, or a week from now, or several weeks later? What is SDOT going to do if these things are not effective?—no answer or even whiff of a backup plan. For me, it’s another episode of Too Little, Too Late starring Councilmember Herbold and the Seattle Department of Transportation.

    • Raised in WS August 2, 2019 (11:08 pm)

      Same. I mean I already have to walk down from 9th to 3rd to be in range of catching a bus that will take me home, and after catching a C on 3rd and slogging along I said never again and now I walk down to 1st and make my way down to the last stop in pioneer square. Having said that it adds extra time that it takes to get home but it beats sitting around on a bus. You also never have to worry about missing your bus since you can literally outwalk the bus LOL.

  • JJA August 2, 2019 (8:44 pm)

    Adding insult to injury, the water taxi is maxing out and leaving people at the dock. Trying to avoid the bus slog, I arrived 15 minutes before the 6:05 sailing and was eight people back when they cut off the line. Forty minutes is a long time to wait for the next boat, so I walked to King Street (passing a dozen buses or so on First) and managed to catch the last 37 since it was running 29 minutes late.  This isn’t fun at all in work clothes on an 88 degree day, but at least I am physically capable of walking all over town just to get home. Many people aren’t. Their only realistic choice is to drive. 

  • Admiral Gal August 2, 2019 (8:46 pm)

    I’d recently started doing the light rail-to-50 routine on the commute home b/c of the craziness of the C–it takes about an hour (I think partly b/c of the Lander construction) but it’s super predictable and so much less stressful. Today I’d decided to try the C again. Holy crap it was awful. Got on a C at 4:30 at 3rd/Pike, made it to Pio. Square by 5, and around 1st/Yesler/James at around 5:20 I asked the driver to let me off (he was very kind to do it as we were in the middle of traffic)–I walked up to the light rail station at 3rd and James and took it to SoDo and took the 50 back. I was home by 6. Reading here, I’m glad to confirm that jumping off when I did was the right choice. I will never understand why Metro hasn’t increased the frequency of the 50…they could lure more riders over to light rail during this construction period, which is hideous.

  • Greg August 2, 2019 (9:01 pm)

    Today it was ferry traffic moving west, blocking the South Lanes on Alaskan, 1st ave, and 2nd Ave.  Alaskan was absolutely gridlocked.  I watched a vehicle move 5 car lengths in 20 minutes.  I couldn’t take it and moved to 2nd.  After another 30 minutes in the left lane we finally reach the culprit.  5 vehicles trying to squeeze across the intersection blocking the right two lanes, one of which was the express bus lane.  This is ridiculous people!  Don’t block the box!

  • Ktrapp August 2, 2019 (9:06 pm)

    Is there any estimate as to when Columbia to Alaska Way will be ready?  A single lane already goes to the waterfront now.  If that road is going to be bus-only eventually, why not just do it now for the evening commute?  Waiting until they can make it two-way seems pointless, since the morning commute on 1st ave isn’t bad at all.

  • flimflam August 2, 2019 (9:12 pm)

    yeah but Rapid Ride! right?

  • flimflam August 2, 2019 (9:15 pm)

    also – most big cities do indeed have traffic police controlling intersections whereas here we are lucky to have police open a case when you are robbed.

  • Time I will never get back August 2, 2019 (9:21 pm)

    Today I could not handle the thought of spending 3 hours of my day commuting on the ‘C-Line Anything but Rapid Ride’. I drove to work and paid for parking. It was such a treat and a relief ! Seriously considering paying through the nose for a parking pass at my office and driving in so I don’t lose my sanity. When will the city, SDOT and Metro listen and stop this madness????? If they should all be required to compute by bus on this ridiculous route to experience the hell we are all going through…..

    • Kc August 3, 2019 (7:38 am)

      Funny thing the Director of downtown (In) mobility lives in West Seattle wonder what her commute or secret is

      • WSB August 3, 2019 (1:06 pm)

        So does the new SDOT director. Doesn’t mean they have it any easier.

  • TJ August 2, 2019 (9:32 pm)

    I never go downtown, but was st Pacific Place and left at 5:30. Took me 32 minutes exactly to get home in my car. But don’t worry, light rail will be here in 2030, unless people keep pushing for a tunnel, then it will be 2035. And people think we need more density? Anybody wanting more “neighbors” shouldn’the complaining about commute times as its only going to get worse. 

  • Lacey August 2, 2019 (9:43 pm)

    Is there an update on a reason for this?

  • Scott M August 2, 2019 (9:46 pm)

    Why is it taking so long to convert Columbia St into two-way?  Aren’t we talking about a couple blocks?  With the amount of people coming in and out of WS on weekdays, this should be a top priority.  With the water taxi shut down next week, the bus commutes are going to be even worse.  

    • wscommuter August 3, 2019 (8:46 am)

      The answer in part is because it doesn’t do any good to convert Columbia until the south end of the viaduct demolition is completed with two lanes open in each direction.  Fortunately, that part is only a few weeks from being done.  But until that milestone, the unavoidable bottleneck created by only one lane each way by the stadiums makes opening Columbia sooner impossible.  

  • Bus rider August 2, 2019 (10:00 pm)

    One reason Friday’s are particularly bad is all the cars going to Colman Dock. There is a long line of cars going north on 1st Avenue and turning left at Dearborn to catch the ferries. Once on Dearborn, the right lane is full but the left lane to Hwy 99 is much less crowded. One thing the city can do is to prohibit parking on 1st Ave between King Street and Dearborn. 

  • West Seattle since 1979 August 2, 2019 (10:19 pm)

    That’s awful! There wasn’t even a game today—the Mariners are in Houston. (Or was there another event there?) If it’s this bad when they aren’t there, it’ll be even worse when they are, even if they have low attendance due to being terrible. And what about if the Seahawks have a Monday night game at CenturyLink Field?

  • MoarBikes! August 2, 2019 (10:23 pm)

    I know it’s not for everyone, but I have no issues form downtown to Westwood everyday. If you can, give it a go! Bikes are fun!

    • J August 3, 2019 (3:14 pm)

      Any suggestions on safest route to ride from pioneer square to SLU? I’m thinking of buying an electric bike or conversion kit for my current bike. I was hit by car while walking across the street a year ago, so I’m really anxious about the risk of getting hit again. I gave up on the bus two weeks and started driving to work, but I’d prefer not to be another car on the road downtown. 

      • Kathy August 4, 2019 (10:06 am)

        My favorite route by e-bike to east part of SLU: from the Waterfront take the first possible street to Western which starts at Yesler Way. Turn left and take Western all the way up to Pike Place Market. From there you can go up Virginia all the way to turn left onto Fairview . If Virginia is too steep for you in the Market, I prefer to ride carefully on Pike Place against  traffic up to 1st.  From there you can bike on Pike St. to the 2nd Ave bike lane.The pedestrians treat Pike Place as a “woonerf” so I figure bikes can do it, too.  I prefer using Western to the 2nd Ave bike lanes because there are less traffic conflicts and the light timing forces bikes to stop every two blocks on 2nd Ave. At Fairview, I ride down to Mercer and stay out of the right two lanes because both become on ramps to I-5. The 3rd lane from the right on Fairview lets you cross Mercer riding with traffic. It’s a lot faster than pushing buttons and waiting for the crosswalk signals. If going to more westerly parts of SLU I think 9th and Dexter are the two bike lane streets through SLU. Avoid riding on Westlake because bikes and streetcar rails are a deadly combination..  

        • J August 4, 2019 (10:58 am)

          Thanks Kathy! I’ll check out these routes 

  • Mj August 2, 2019 (10:38 pm)

    Enhancing the existing no left turn signage is needed.  One violator can tie up a whole lane.  

  • KD August 2, 2019 (10:39 pm)

    Not the best suggestion, but if it helps to feel like you’re making moving progress.. how about taking any other bus that goes to West Seattle that is not via the 1st. Ave. congestion and once you arrive at Westwood, or WSea. Junction or on 35th. SW, then take your normal bus backwards, northbound. Take a bus that will move, overshoot and in WSea. transfer to your home route.. going the other way. Maybe less frustration? Even if not a huge time saver.

    • old timer August 3, 2019 (10:01 am)

      I’ve taken a 60 from First Hill to Westwood Village, and then transferred to a 21 to go back North on 35th.  It’s a long ride, but the scenery is different.  That might work for some.  

    • West Seattle since 1979 August 3, 2019 (12:24 pm)

      The 21 local goes down 3rd. It might be an option.

      • AMD August 3, 2019 (2:52 pm)

        The 21 Local is now faster than the 21 Express because it doesn’t go through Pioneer Square.  The 131 connects to the 128 to get to the Junction and Admiral District, as well as the 113 to Shorewood.  That bus also avoids Pioneer Square so it gets to WS faster.   The transfer at 8th and Roxbury for either bus is only a block walk on fairly level terrain, for those looking at other options that don’t require a crazy amount of walking.  

        • JCW August 3, 2019 (3:53 pm)

          The 113 isn’t a faster option. It’s about 3x the normal commute right now. Regularly arrives at 2nd/Bell 10 min late (bc if traffic on second Ave) and goes straight into the heart of the mess in Pioneer Square. This used to be my 40 min commute that has tripled. Would not recommend until something is adjusted with the routing or street restrictions. 

          • AMD August 3, 2019 (4:22 pm)

            Indeed.  I was suggesting that those who need to take the 113 because they live in Shorewood consider taking the 131 to circumvent the Pioneer Square mess  and then transfer to the 113 at 8th & Roxbury to get the rest of the way home.  Sorry it was worded poorly.

  • Sue H August 2, 2019 (11:42 pm)

    I got out of work today at 5:30, an hour later than I normally do, and I could not believe how much worse the traffic was then when I usually go home. I stood there at 3rd and Seneca watching the C on the other side of the intersection, sitting through light after light for about 10 minutes before it could even cross the intersection because nothing was moving on 3rd Avenue. When we got to the next stop, the driver said that he was already 45 minutes behind schedule and he was going rogue  (off route) and that this would be the last stop in West Seattle. He knew he risked getting in trouble for doing it, but he just couldn’t stand it anymore, and I am very grateful that he did. the commute wasn’t that bad before they started demolishing the viaduct down there and closing King, one lane on Alaskan way, and whatever else they recently closed. The last stop on 1st is a giant bottleneck that never should have been allowed to happen. It’s one thing to have one or two buses stop there, but the Rapid Ride C, that never stopped anywhere near there before? And once we finally do fight our way out of downtown, then we have to contend with all the delays on Avalon and 35th from that construction. I’m at a point where if it didn’t cost me $20 a day to park my car downtown, I would be driving it on a regular basis because I know how to get around that bottleneck. The unpredictability of the commute has affected my personal life as well, since I can’t schedule appointments near home as early as I used to in the evening, which means it’s eating up more of my time, if I can even get later appointments, or I need to leave work early.I am especially concerned because I travel with oxygen, and I only have so much battery life to get home. While I do have an extra battery in my backpack, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to actually get my backpack off while seated on the bus, and then block half the aisle (that is already full with people standing) to tip over the concentrator to change the battery.Something has to change, and much faster than they seem to be proposing. Like next week.

  • West Seattle born and raised August 3, 2019 (1:08 am)

    Wow… glad I called an audible and got off the 56 while stuck on third and walked 5 minutes down to the water taxi. Luckily the 6:05pm run was able to fit the whole passenger line on the boat. City needs to dump the King St stop STAT and use 4th! Even if the bus still took the same route through Pioneer Square it would eliminate additional congestion from buses changing lanes, blocking intersections, and stopping/re-entering traffic in order to board a couple, if any, passengers. I work on Western and walk up to third to catch the bus, there’s no reason why people at the King St can’t walk up to third as well. Would save them and everyone else the headache.

  • Same boat August 3, 2019 (2:55 am)

    Keep in mind, the water taxi’s aren’t running next week while they move the pedestrian over pass. This is going to put more of us (including Vashon residents) on the buses. Next week will be even worse!! 

  • Brayton August 3, 2019 (3:32 am)

    Lisa Herbold’s office has responded to me a couple times regarding this disaster. Lisa was a big push to create the King St stop. Also, Metro doesn’t want to move because they feel that the route will eventually be one block over, so they like having the perma-temp route so close. (eye rolls.) Metro also claims they’re concerned about rail traffic disrupting the SoDo route. I don’t believe their concern for a minute now that they let everyone sit on parked buses for hours.I would love to see the C and / or the 55 continue down 3rd and make its way to the I-90 ramp to swing around I-5 and then to the bridge. It would be one left turn and then staying in the right lane alllllll the way to Avalon. I totally understand the issue of box blocking, but you can also see that if someone doesn’t block the box, no one really gets anywhere. Eventually someone is going to be more than a rogue bus driver. Tempers already flare enough. I’m waiting every day for someone to go crazy (aside from the crazy people that live on 3rd.)I thought a lot about this situation when filling out my ballot last week. 

  • Raywest August 3, 2019 (4:27 am)

    I work at Pier 91 and sometimes get off work at 2:30 pm. It has been taking me 2 1/2 hours to get to West Seattle by way of Alaskan Way! This is insane. Yesterday, I backtracked through Ballard to get onto 99, and it was just as bad, though at least I didn’t have to stop for so many traffic lights. Something has to change.

  • anonyme August 3, 2019 (6:53 am)

    Typical SDOT response.  They are masters of the lame excuse.  Anyone with a brain could have foreseen that channeling major bus routes down 1st Ave would be a disaster.  When will SDOT be made accountable for their terrible decisions?  I’m with Gary, the temporary re-route through the busway increased the travel time by a minimal amount and made much more sense overall.

  • Donna August 3, 2019 (7:21 am)

    Since at least some people are talking about abandoning the bus and driving personal vehicles, would it make sense to do some matching up and carpool downtown and split the high parking cost? Just like biking, walking long distances,  connecting with light rail, and catching the foot ferry (which I believe is out of  service this coming week) works for some people but not all, might this be one more option that would benefit at least some people?

    • ARPigeonPoint August 5, 2019 (12:00 pm)

      I now drive and have a space between 5th & 6th and Union & University.  I’d love to carpool (I live in Pigeon Point near the bridge).

  • SeattleSunburn August 3, 2019 (7:31 am)

    The bus commute has been a nightmare for some time now on both ends due to construction on both sides and now water taxi service will be suspended for a week, which will just impact the bus commute even more. It’s unbelievable the madness has continued for as long as it has. The congestion has worsened.I found the reroutes during the earlier Viadoom closure to the busway to be faster than the regular commute and don’t understand why that route can’t continue. The suggestion in the thread to add more frequent 50s is a great idea. If getting to light rail was simpler from WS I imagine more people would do that–I definitely would. A twice/hour bus isn’t frequent enough during peak commute times.I learned right away with the new WS routes through Pio. Sq. that getting on/off at King was quickest.  Part of the reasoning was also because the NB bus went all the way to Seneca with no stop at Columbia which was really annoying when there is a RR stop there and it could stop there as part of the reroute. I now walk to/from 3/James to 1/King M-F and my casual pace is always faster than the bus. Coming home I see WS-bound buses ahead of me yet know I will make one because the walk to King is faster than the bus can travel on First.There have been traffic police in the Dearborn/Alaskan/99 intersection this past week which helps some, but there’s just too many cars being funneled through there to flow efficiently. During the earlier Viadoom commute I witnessed police give priority to buses which was such a great idea. It’d be nice to see that happen again.One rant: This week during pm commute at 1/King a 120 didn’t stop. It wasn’t full. The driver kept going down First to the 99 turn. And albeit in the right-hand lane. It could’ve stopped. It just blew by. Well, maybe it didn’t blow by–but it did make the turn rather quickly and left many riders queued up to board at the curb. Fortunately there was another 120 that arrived about 10-12 minutes later. But, so annoying after waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. Rave: the 120 driver yesterday was so sweet and polite. She kept letting people on as the bus sat at the stop waiting and waiting and waiting to turn. She was so apologetic for the mess and for being late. It was her first time on the route and she was astounded at the gridlock. She said it took nearly an hour to arrive at 1/King from 3/Columbia.As a side note–I really hope the right turn off Alaskan/99 and left to First will improve for cars. It’s impossible to make that maneuver during peak times and especially when buses are already in that lane.

  • DH August 3, 2019 (7:42 am)

    Yes, Metro routed most the WS buses through Pioneer Square which is a problem and some traffic cops are needed to keep people from blocking intersections. This SDOT response seems unlikely to help. I agree that 4th worked pretty well but what we don’t know is how many complaints they received because the buses wouldn’t stop between downtown on 3rd and WS. I’d guess that they received quite a few from the people that want to get off/on at a more convenient location. I base this on the fact that there originally wasn’t a Pioneer Square stop but one was added because people complained that there wasn’t one. If Metro turned around and removed that stop and rerouted at least some of the WS buses I bet people would complain with whatever new problem came from that and that Metro was too easily influenced by a temporary traffic problem.  Part of the reason that 4th worked was because so many people took off, telecommuted or did something else. I’m not saying don’t complain but I’d encourage people to remember that there are likely to be problems and unintended consequences with whatever route out of downtown is used till they get the roads fixed. 

  • Parker August 3, 2019 (9:21 am)

    I’ve been taking the 21 local from Belltown to Avalon/Genessee and it’s only been taking about 35 minutes. Yesterday, I stupidly got on a C because I wanted to go to the Junction and it took well over an hour. Next time, I’ll take the 21 to Avalon/35th and transfer or walk the rest of the way.

  • 120rider August 3, 2019 (9:24 am)

    not good enough!  get the buses off 1st Avenue now! it doesn’t work.  it’s not working now, it won’t work in the future and tweaking stop lights does nothing with the hoarde of single car drivers clogging 1st Avenue.  we used the busway and we can do it again.  a bus lane on a 4 lane STREET is impossible so get us off 1st!

  • 120rider August 3, 2019 (10:34 am)

    email kcexec@kingcounty.gov now and tell them to change this ridiculous routing!

  • Jort August 3, 2019 (10:50 am)

    I know everybody is mad, but keep in mind this is caused entirely and solely because Jenny Durkan doesn’t want to hurt car drivers’ feelings. The solution to this “problem” is not at all difficult to comprehend or implement: ban the cars from transit corridors and force car drivers to ride the bus instead. Period. 

    • NH August 3, 2019 (12:06 pm)

      I drove in the last week because I’m pregnant and due any day, and the long walk plus the unpredictable commute home was too much for me. Don’t want to give birth on the bus, thanks. 20 min home every day because I could choose a route other than gridlocked First Ave, it was a treat. First Avenue is not working, buses are full of people who are committed to being transit riders but are being poorly served by metro. Cramming more people onto stopped buses isn’t going to help.

  • Jort August 3, 2019 (10:52 am)

    By the way, the headline says, “What SDOT says it’ll do about the homeward-bound slowness,” and it appears their solution is a press release. Jenny Durkan, everybody! The Seattle Process at work.

  • 22blades August 3, 2019 (10:56 am)

    If you think it’s bad now, wait until they start tolling the tunnel.

    • Mark Schletty August 3, 2019 (2:36 pm)

      Not only tunnel tolls, but it goes permanently bonkers when they tear up 1st for a useless streetcar.

  • Julia August 3, 2019 (11:01 am)

    Took the 4:45 ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle (didn’t actually leave til 5:30, there’s a clue). There was no way to get out of the terminal southbound for ages, in a car. Sticking to Fauntleroy from now on.

  • Kravitz August 3, 2019 (2:17 pm)

    I’ve read through all the comments on this and I can feel the anger and frustration of all of us here. I fear that as this continues to happen, someone’s anger and tension will boil over and people will get hurt. I genuinely worry about the safety of the Metro drivers and those of us commuting and trapped on these busses. Change doesn’t seem to happen until something catastrophic does, and it’s clear by the SDOT response thus far that they’re somewhat aware that there’s a problem, but they’re not willing to take the necessary steps to fix it. Take a long hard look at our city’s success when it comes to housing the homeless, clearing encampments, dealing with mental health, stopping the open air trade of drugs and stolen goods on 3rd and Pike. Were people upset and concerned the other day when some unstable repeat offender tossed coffee in a toddler’s face? Of course they were – but WHY should it take an act like that–OR WORSE–to bring attention to the fact that our city officials are failing all of us, every step of the way? Is anyone else concerned? I sincerely hope that all the people who should be listening here think about this before something horrible happens, because I fear with the general malaise and frustration of much of the world at the moment, that it’s only a matter of time. 

  • Bus Guy August 3, 2019 (2:43 pm)

    I was a bit earlier than most posters, but still got stuck.  Left 3rd & Columbia at 4:20.  40 minutes later was still waiting on Columbia, unable to turn left onto 1st.  The driver kindly opened the doors and several of us bailed and walked to the 1st & King/Dearborn stop (passing six or seven WS-bound buses in the process) and caught a 55.  It was still nasty at that choke point due to cross-threading of ferry-bound cars coming north  on 1st, but you get going within a few minutes.  A big thanks to the suggestions posted here.  I think I’m going to try the 21 local option next time.  It is painfully obvious that routing buses through Pioneer Square will never work, no matter how they mess with the signals or whatever else they’re planning.

  • Michael B August 3, 2019 (5:01 pm)

    Why doesn’t SPD add traffic enforcement to direct traffic and discourage/ticket intersection blockers (including Metro drivers, please) or curb lane stopping at peak afternoon times? Two officers are usually at the 99 off ramp and Dearborn in the mornings but…nothing in the afternoons? For the time being, any vehicle getting on 99 from downtown has to turn left via Jackson or Dearborn. Even with “retimed” lights, it’s tough to make that math work. 

    • Roms August 3, 2019 (7:11 pm)

      It’s probably worth to mention that the morning’s traffic officers are not coordinating their work and are actually not helping… If you go to Europe, traffic officers are “connected” and ensuring that what they do does not make the situation worse, but improves it.

  • Roms August 3, 2019 (7:08 pm)

    On Monday I’ll be contacting the Governor’s office asking that they declare a state of emergency so that the State and WSDOT take over the county, the city, and SDOT and actually fix this (I’m not kidding – I know there’s not way this can happen, but I’ll go up to Federal agencies if that’s what it takes for the situation to actually be handled). Anybody wants to join in the effort and make our voices heard?

  • Babs August 3, 2019 (7:18 pm)

    Next week with the water taxi out and a Seahawks preseason game on Thursday should make that commute home really special. 

  • THAT_commuter August 3, 2019 (8:07 pm)

    The crazy thing is there IS an immediate possible reroute to this problem. Anyone who can take the 21 or 116-118s know that route does not have the same traffic problems. Why not route all the WS buses to that route temporarily? It’s a bit more roundabout but doesn’t have the traffic. I only take those buses home after getting stuck on 1st Ave for more than an hour 2 weeks ago. I’ve suggested this to Metro and just get a canned “bear with us” response. 

  • Seriously - fix it. August 3, 2019 (8:42 pm)

    What a mess. There also appear to be many viable work around solutions. I would not count on Herbold to fix a thing here, it is out of her jurisdiction and skill set. Joe M. and Dow, however, should exercise a little political muscle and fix this mess…waiting for the Columbia street fix is not short-term viable. Help Metro figure out how to be flexible and fix this mess!!! 

  • aa August 3, 2019 (10:26 pm)

    Really Jort? blaming Jenny Durkin for this seems unfair considering all the people who have had a hand in these plans over many years.And I am so glad that rich dude has not been able to build yet another stadium down there!  When that was being discussed I was going crazy wondering if anyone was considering life after the tunnel.  I hope that idea is dead forever.Ok, one more light rail plug- If light rail to your work destination is feasible, and you are willing/able to drive to the Tukwila light rail station, it has 600 free parking spaces and it takes 33 minutes to go from there to the University St. light rail station downtown.  Or a bus that you can take east from W. S to one of the numerous stations along the way- Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Othello…?

  • anonyme August 4, 2019 (8:30 am)

    It doesn’t make any difference who has had their fingers in this mud pie over the years, the fact is that Durkan is mayor NOW and should be taking responsibility for what is happening NOW.  In my four decades in Seattle, I’ve never seen a mayor so insulated and detached from both constituents and reality.  The bus problem may not be entirely within her jurisdiction (Dow should be stepping up as well) but her answer to every question (when she deigns to answer them) seems to be: more development.  Otherwise, she’s not interested.  There’s no excuse for this mess, nor the mess that is our local government and agencies.

    • aa August 5, 2019 (9:20 am)

      40 years in Seattle and strong opinions about what should be done, maybe you should run for a place in local government.  “Be the change you want to see…”

  • Steve August 4, 2019 (11:19 am)

    Police officers at EVERY intersection to expedite buses through intersections!  Get half the damn buses off of 1st Avenue!  This is ridiculous…we could walk home faster than taking the bus!  I’m SO mad about this!!

  • Z. August 4, 2019 (8:08 pm)

    Another reason why I stopped taking the C Line and 21 Express for the 21.

  • WScommuter August 4, 2019 (8:55 pm)

    I usually get on the 120 or 125 at 3rd and Columbia, but I’ve found it is a MUCH better idea for me to walk from work at Harborview down to the 1st and King stop.  Even if I see the 120 way up ahead of me at 1st and Jackson, I know I can walk to the stop before it moves that last block.  I just take the first appropriate bus I see (120 or 125) and wait the last 15 minutes or so for it to make the corner and get on a (usually) wide open 99.This stop at King is ridiculous.  None of these busses used to have a stop that far south–I don’t see why they added that new stop there since all it does is screw up the commute. Part of the problem is the requirement to go from the center lane on 1st to the curb to stop at King, then back over to the center lane to make that wide turn onto Railroad Way.  All within 1 block. That is dumb.  Plus all the northbound 1st Ave traffic is taking a left onto Railroad Way, then wanting into the far right lane to go to the ferries.  And all the southbound traffic is turning onto Railroad way and wants into the lefthand lane, but can’t get there because of the ferry traffic backups.  It’s crap.  Also, I’ve seen traffic cops standing on that corner and they have no idea what to do.  Oftentimes they are literally just standing there and not doing any directing and have this look of terror on their faces because they see it is a disaster and they don’t know what to do about it.

  • sam-c August 5, 2019 (6:10 am)

    https://kingcountymetro.blog/2019/08/05/we-hear-you-changes-and-obstacles-to-west-seattle-bus-routes/A “no” on the re-route that was used during the viaduct closure :(“Early 2020” for buses being routed onto Alaskan Way.

    • WSB August 5, 2019 (6:34 am)

      Metro told me they’d have a “blog (post)” about the situation today, so that’s obviously it. We’ll be following up on other fronts too.

    • Bus Guy August 5, 2019 (10:25 am)

      Ugh.  Signal timing changes.  What a joke!

  • admiral August 5, 2019 (9:58 am)

    While they are at it, it would be great if SDOT and WSDOT could work with SPD to ticket car drivers occupying the bus only lane on the northbound 99 off ramp!   

  • Kathy August 5, 2019 (11:49 am)

    How about some better service connecting West Seattle to the SODO light rail station? If they can’t increase the frequency of the entire 50 bus route, how about an express shuttle  connecting the light rail with major West Seattle transfer stops like Delridge/Andover, 35th/Avalon and the Alaska Junction returning east on Oregon Street to the WS Bridge? It could use the southbound stop at 5th and Lander, then turn right on Spokane Street to get onto  the West Seattle Bridge. Service to that light rail stop should at the very least match the headways of the trains.

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed August 5, 2019 (5:48 pm)

    UNACCEPTABLE!!!  Lisa Herbold and Joe McDermott tell us that we don’t need cars and to use public mass transit, but then the mass transit is an ineffective mess that the government agencies run poorly without any regard for taxpayers.  Malfeasance!  Vote them out and fire the employees at Metro and SDOT who implemented this poorly thought out plan that punishes West Seattle.

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