Getting around south end of downtown: Viaduct-and-more briefing

Just back from a media briefing that was held steps away from that view of the section of Alaskan Way Viaduct that will be demolished starting Thursday. Also discussed: Getting around in south downtown.

That’s Heather Marx, SDOT’s downtown mobility director. She says Alaskan Way will be temporarily opened to two lanes each way for the Dearborn demo period, Thursday through September 21st. You’ll still be able to get off northbound 99 there, but since Dearborn will be closed, you’ll have to take Alaskan – your first opportunity to turn into downtown will be Alaskan to King Street. 1st Avenue will remain open during the demolition but will be narrowed in the Dearborn vicinity to one lane each way.

That’s Bill Bryant of Metro. He reiterated that NB buses will be temporarily rerouted during the Dearborn closure. He and Marx (a West Seattleite who rides the bus) stressed the importance of keeping up on announced bus stop moves. We asked Bryant about early reviews on the new SB reroutes that started Monday; he said the first day looked good (Marx said her 21X ride went well) but it’s only one day, so they’ll be watching closely for the next few weeks.

As for the Viaduct – WSDOT before-and-almost-after photos above – demolition is now 92 percent complete. Teardown is expected to be over by early October, with cleanup continuing the rest of the month.

P.S. – TUNNEL CLOSURES: Also coming up this weekend, both directions of the Highway 99 tunnel will be closed 10 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday; the NB direction will close again 10 pm Saturday, reopening by 8 am Sunday.

10 Replies to "Getting around south end of downtown: Viaduct-and-more briefing"

  • Jim P. September 10, 2019 (1:06 pm)

    I took a 120 home on Monday at around 6:20 (Was 15 minutes late with no other bus showing up at Third and Pine (a neat trick for a bus route running every ten minutes) and was jammed because of it.)Driver had no idea how the reroute was to work but SPD or Metro had someone at 2nd and Columbia giving instructions.  Apparently the driver didn’t even know how the left turn lights worked at an intersection which was a bit scary to witness as the person had to explain it to him two or three times.New route is long and awkward and if it saved any time I am not aware of it.  Possibly the driver did not actually follow it as he was, well, clueless is the most polite word I can find.  Seemed almost completely devoid of English language skills which made communicating difficult at best.We went way south of the Stadiums before the driver turned west.

  • ktrapp September 10, 2019 (2:12 pm)

    Took my normal 21X at about 5:00 last night, and I think I had a similar experience with a driver who didn’t know what to do with the re-route.  She got into the far right lane going down Columbia, and was then flagged down by the Metro person standing there at 2nd and Columbia, where she was given instructions to turn on to 2nd (I’m glad she was there!).  2nd was pretty packed with both cars and buses.  The bus itself was also unusually packed with people.  I don’t know if a previous bus didn’t run or what.  Ended up about 10-15 minutes later than the previous couple weeks.  Here’s hoping that was just first night jitters.

  • momof3boys September 10, 2019 (3:55 pm)

    I was on the C line on Friday when the driver tried to go up Avalon (which was closed, of course) she had to go down Genesee, under the bridge, by Chelan Cafe, up Admiral, and down California to get to the Junction.  She said she didn’t know Avalon was closed; she had a great attitude, dealing with all the folks yelling directions at her, but sheesh – who isn’t paying attention?  the drivers, the management, whooooooooooooooo?  Turned my 45 minute commute (5/Cherry to Morgan Junction, including to/from bus stops) into almost 90 minutes! It would be interesting to know if these changes are getting communicated at all!

  • pdxmark77@gmail.com September 10, 2019 (4:40 pm)

    Issue with the new Southbound route is it really will only save time during the afternoon hour.   The rest of the time it adds at least 5-10 minutes to the run.I work overnights and will frequently take the120/125 or C line in the morning back to West Seattle and this morning it took 15 minutes longer than it used to.Issue is the trains and the busses are now being hs up by the train crossing.  But, this is all temporary and will go away in a few months 

  • EveryDayBusRider September 10, 2019 (5:11 pm)

    The new bus stop is absolutely ridiculous. The reasons I have heard for changing this was to improve wait times and congestion. No mater what street you take in downtown during rush hour will result in late buses and congestion. Buses are 30-45 min late every single day and that has nothing to do with them going down first ave. I have been taking these buses for the past 10 years and they are always late. On top of this the new bus stop is dangerous and as we enter the time of year where it gets darker earlier I would not want anyone having to wait at that bus stop. There are no lights, there is no cover, the mission across the street is a hang out spot for the homeless. The stop on first had a great side walk, covers and extremely safe. Whoever decided to change this stop should be fired. Soon we will be posting about someone get robbed or stabbed at that stop. 

    • WSB September 10, 2019 (5:23 pm)

      Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom (a multimodal-commuting West Seattleite) reported seeing police there Monday pm https://twitter.com/MikeLindblom/status/1171240103202570241

      Not today?

      • EveryDayBusRider September 10, 2019 (9:55 pm)

        The police are there because of all the crime on that block. Are they going to be there every single day all day long, nope. It’s an absolute joke if you think adding police makes it better. The fact that you even need them should be a huge red flag in the first place.

        • CAM September 10, 2019 (11:56 pm)

          Sure that neighborhood has a higher number of homeless people and there tend to be more arrests around there as well. Proportionately, you are probably at no greater risk standing there in a crowd then you would be standing alone at any other bus stop in a quiet suburb. There is also probably just as much crime and just as many arrests that happen where the last bus stop was, it just looks prettier with shinier and more commuter friendly businesses. Criminals can walk three blocks. If they are looking for someone to offend against they’ll find you wherever you are. The new bus stop location is a disappointment but not because people are suddenly going to be victimized standing there any more frequently than they would be on 1st avenue. 

    • Ersatz Mossback September 12, 2019 (12:47 pm)

      Everydaybusrider is right about that stop. That stop made me give up riding the bus back in 2012. I have a co-worker who adopts a “leave well before dusk and work the remainder of the day from home” schedule in the winter specifically because of that stop. And I’m not riding the bus southbound now because of that stop. I mean, I’m not going to spend time pulling up the 911 incident map right now, but even if it is just as likely you’ll get stabbed on 1st Ave, at least it would happen more or less out of the blue, as an unpleasant surprise, with no self-blame. At the 2nd Ave Extension stop, it would happen after someone had been yelling they were going to stab you, or kill you, or kill god, or kill them all, so you’d be laying on the sidewalk bleeding and thinking “Well, this is kind of my own fault. It’s not like I didn’t get a warning.” And yes, we should also have compassion for the person doing the yelling.  But spending the end of every workday tamping down the fight-or-flight mechanism while waiting an unknown amount of time for the always-late bus…it’s too much. 

  • White Center Resident September 11, 2019 (11:14 am)

    Is there a recommended way to find if there’s heavy truck traffic on NB Alaskan Way for bus commuters that normally take the 113, 121. 122, or 123?

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