Monday, February 20, 2006

Seattle Area Traffic Guide

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to excited travelers to the Seattle area. But, I think this just might help stop some road rage and keep the peace on our roadways. Here's my 7 step program to survive the Seattle streets:

1- Chill. It takes about five years of local status to learn how to navigate these clogged on-ramps and unnamed city streets. Everything is crooked here and bends around/over a bridge, river, stadium, or volcano and nothing is really marked all that well. Take the easy route, but allow for extra time to get there. This is especially true in the Summer.

2- Check the traffic reports. They're pretty good here. If they say the bridge traffic is bad, it's really bad. Pull over and get some lunch. I've been stuck on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for several hours more than a few times.

3-Check the game day calendar. The Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Supersonics all create major gridlock downtown. I don't even attempt to drive on gameday. Look out for UW Husky football games, too. They can be pretty bad as well.

4-Take public transportation if you can. The ferry system is great and there are many cab companies servicing the area. You really don't need a car if you are just heading downtown. The core of Seattle is small and easy to walk. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other.

5-Do not even attempt to drive anywhere between 4-6pm. If you must travel across anything that includes 520, bridge, Tacoma Narrows, or 1-5 in the description this is especially true. Really, just get some dinner and a drink wherever you are and relax, because you aren't going anywhere until after 7pm anyway.

6-Get to the ferry lines early on Fridays and weekdays between 3-6pm. The weekend traffic is pretty tame, but Friday afternoon is pretty darn impossible to get out of town. Easy to get into town, a nightmare to leave.

7-Rain. If it's raining leave much earlier. You'd think we would be used to it by now, but it really does slow down the commute. Fortunately, it really doesn't rain much during the Summer.

I hope this helps lower your blood pressure during your visit. Cheers.

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