(Editors note: This post originally appeared on the Bellevue Downtown Association website.)
The countdown is on.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct is slated to close on January 11 for three weeks, at which point the new two-mile-long SR 99 tunnel connecting Seattle Center to the stadiums will open. Then, on March 23 the buses that currently go through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be brought up to surface streets to allow for better light rail scheduling.
These changes, coupled with construction on both sides of the lake and our region’s usual traffic, will likely make for long commutes in the months ahead, and not just in Seattle. According to WSDOT, “drivers should expect up to six weeks of region-wide congestion.”
News agencies, transit agencies, SDOT and WSDOT all recommend making a plan and doing as much as you can to stay off the roads, especially during the three weeks (ish) when both the new tunnel and the viaduct will be closed.
So, what does making a plan mean? Some of us can’t change our work schedule, or the way we work, but for those of us that can, Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien suggests that we “think about…what can we do for the common good” such as:
- Telework – The best way to avoid being part of traffic is to stay home!
- Shift your work day – Can you travel outside peak travel times? Start later and catch a less crowded bus for your commute.
- Carpool – Talk to your neighbors and coworkers or go to RideshareOnline to form a carpool; or let an app like Waze, iCarpool or Scoop do it for you! To help with congestion and encourage carpooling King County Metro is partnering with Waze and Scoop dynamic carpooling apps to offer discounts and incentives to those commuting to, from or within King County. Learn more here and check with your employer; some are offering additional incentives
- Take transit – Your employer may provide you with an ORCA card (if not, click here), and transportation experts like us at Choose Your Way Bellevue will plan your commute for free! There are a few easy bus routes that go between Seattle and the Bellevue Transit Center including:
Coming from Eastgate or West Seattle? Try Ride2, the new on-demand shuttle service from King County Metro!
- Take vacation – Saving up those time off days? Cash in during these three weeks and say goodbye to traffic and hello to a beach.
No matter what you choose or questions you have, our team is here to help you navigate.