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

6:59 AM: Good morning! Second non-holiday weekday of tunnel tolling. Also:

FERRY REMINDER: The smaller Salish is now on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route in place of an Issaquah-class boat.

7:05 AM: Thanks for the tip – crash reported at West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way. No SFD dispatch so apparently no major injuries.

7:15 AM: Thanks to Bryan for that photo from the crash scene.

7:33 AM: SDOT says that scene has just cleared.

17 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch"

  • momosmom November 13, 2019 (10:12 am)

    WHAT?! No comments???? must had been smooth sailing for everyone.

    • TSurly November 13, 2019 (10:32 am)

      I was wondering the same thing; either no traffic or complaining fatigue.

      • WSB November 13, 2019 (10:38 am)

        At week’s end, there’s a tentative plan for a WSDOT/SDOT/etc. media briefing downtown on how things look after a few days; if that does indeed happen, we’ll be going, so questions/observations welcome as always! – TR

        • Matt P November 13, 2019 (11:59 am)

          Observation is that the bus lane on 99 serves no purpose.  I ride the bus and sit on the onramp every morning adding probably 5 minutes to my commute every day.  There was a brief period when Alaska was opened back up to 2 lanes and before the bus lane was put back where the bus never hit any traffic since the onramp was clear and there were dedicated bus lanes at every other point where needed except for the disaster that is 1st avenue – which is much better now in the mornings now that Alaska is 2 lanes again.

          • newnative November 13, 2019 (1:36 pm)

            Completely disagree. We pass tons of cars in the bus lane  when it’s clear. 

  • Lola November 13, 2019 (12:41 pm)

    Today at 7:15 Traffic was light.  My coworker left at 6:30 and said it was Heavy traffic.  Maybe everyone is leaving early because of how late they keep getting to work?

  • Azimuth November 13, 2019 (2:16 pm)

    My observation this morning driving about 8:00 was that the same as it has been. Backups down the hill to about where the crazy Admiral and Delridge onramps intersect (who came up with that design?!). Then the right line to go to 99N was backed up starting before hitting the crest of the bridge as is typical. Northbound 99 was slow until about where the extended merge point met the left 2 lanes. Hereafter it it quickly opened up to posted speeds, including through the tunnel. Though I used the tunnel I did not observe backups at the pre-tunnel exit. It is a small sample size but I don’t think the right lane bus lane is making a difference since there is no traffic for buses to actually bypass from the merge point to the downtown exit as intended.

  • David November 13, 2019 (2:49 pm)

    @newnative – I think you missed Matt P’s point. I too take Metro every morning going North on 99 (route 21x). The 5 minutes it takes to get from East bound W Seattle Bridge to NB 99 takes 5 minutes. That 5 minutes far exceeds the 1-2 minutes that are saved by the bus lane on 99NB. Yes, the bus is passing cars on the right on the NB 99 bus lane, but not at a rate that makes much difference in time travelled on 99. I think the delay is even worse for busses that travel down Admiral since there isn’t a bus lane for those busses until Avalon. Thus, those busses get stuck in the back-up all the way down Admiral which is in part caused by the approach to 99NB being clogged.

    • newnative November 13, 2019 (3:35 pm)

      Do you take the Admiral commuter buses in the morning? We rarely get caught in the bottle-neck entering the Bridge from Admiral because the buses plow down the right lane as far as they can until they have to get in the left lane. I am missing the point because the commute is taking less time than it used to, so I don’t get what people are so upset about. 5 minutes on the bridge? That’s nothing. I have been riding the same routes for 4+ years now and I have been able to leave later and later because the commute has been consistent and fast.  

      • Matt P November 13, 2019 (11:07 pm)

        Reopening Alaska to  2 lanes provided this speed-up.  Adding the bus lane back in slowed this down.  Yes, 5 minutes isn’t much, but it’s 5 minutes of my life I lose every day for something that serves no purpose.  Pre-bus lane and post-Alaska opening was the quickest trip.  We’re still faster than when Alaska was 1 lane, but the point is to have the most efficient transit possible, not simply better than the worst time.  

  • Scott November 13, 2019 (4:27 pm)

    I trust WSB is saving all of our notes so someone with a brain in the corner offices can fix this. This is not rocket science Seattle.  SOLVE IT.   Or should we do this HONG KONG STYLE?  I don’t think they would like that. This is getting super tired. Until then….don’t merge too soon, keep on moving, keep on trucking and then zipper in as you then signal.  People will let you in if you signal…

    • CAM November 14, 2019 (6:25 am)

      Having been forced to drive for the last few days rather than take my preferred mode of the bus, here are a few notes for Seattle drivers on what does not qualify as an opportunity to zipper merge: driving in an exit only lane until the last moment and then attempting to merge into stopped traffic; driving in flowing traffic past a stopped exit only lane and then attempting to merge into it at the last moment; driving in a bus lane until the end of the lane and then stopping traffic to merge in; or any and all other maneuvers in which the lane you are driving in is not actually ending. The point of a zipper merge is that two lanes are becoming one, not that you have a priority pass to get past traffic with no consequences.

      • FairmountNeighbor November 14, 2019 (7:04 am)

        Actually, the point of a zipper merge is not just to join two free flowing lanes into one if their not exit/bus lanes. It’s to keep the flow of traffic moving as much as possible. If no one zipper merged in either direction of the hwy 99 traffic during peak hours, the back ups would be way worse. You (and I) May get very frustrated and angry at drivers speeding by as you (and I) patiently wait in traffic, but they have every right to drive in a free traffic lane (exit only or not) until they need to get over. It is not illegal to drive in an exit only lane. However, I do agree that drivers need to stop the “oh, I need to merge right here, at a dead stop”! Just merge when a decent opening happens, even if it’s earlier to later than you would have liked. It’s about FLOW of traffic. 

        • CAM November 14, 2019 (7:46 am)

          That isn’t really accurate and I’m not sure where that school of thought comes from. A long line of traffic waiting to go in one direction should not impede traffic attempting to flow in other directions. Everyone wanting to go north on I-5 knows that and should be in the appropriate lane. If you want to exit at 4th Ave you can use the exit only lane. If you drive in the right lane but intend to head north or drive in the exit only lane for 4th and don’t intend to exit and all other traffic is stopped you are wrong and are impeding everyone else behind you that is using those lanes for their valid purpose. There are times of day when the only traffic jam is the exit to I-5 north and yet people still block traffic by trying to drive past the line and cut in line. It isn’t about watching people drive past me, it’s about the people who are stopping me from driving in a free and open lane that I need to use for my intended direction of travel and they have no intention of using. 

        • KM November 14, 2019 (9:12 am)

          Fairmontneighbor, some of the instances you described above are lane changes and those are not the same as merging, since the exit-only lane doesn’t merge into the lane of continuing travel. Merging is when two lanes of traffic to join together to into one (and including car lanes that become bus-only lanes on NB 99 and elsewhere). I agree that cars should not slam on the brakes and change lanes immediately though, and NB I-5 from the WS bridge is a prime example. The far right lane doesn’t close off to an exit only (to I-90) for some time as indicated by the solid white line, and people should keep the flow of traffic as much as possible as they find a way to change lanes and move left to stay on I5 NB. If they don’t make it in legally prior to the white solid line, they need to take the exit instead of illegally changing lanes–by law. 

    • Nolan November 14, 2019 (12:18 pm)

      What, precisely, do you mean by “HONG KONG STYLE”? Are you equivocating the existence of a bus lane to the systemic and forceful suppression of civil rights? Are you justifying the use of violence against the city through that false equivalence?

      I’d like to understand why your statement is neither disrespectful to the people fighting for their freedom from authoritarian China nor threatening city employees with physical violence. Help us out here.

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