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Durkan on Viadoom’s first commute: ‘This is a marathon, not a sprint’

The first Viadoom commute came and went, and Seattleites seemed to have survived, with no major issues as of yet. But we mustn’t read too much into this first day.

Mayor Jenny Durkan joined the new Candy, Mike and Todd Show to discuss how the city fared on the first commute after the viaduct closure, and what we can expect in the coming weeks.

“We’re seeing across the board that people really did what we asked them to do this morning. We’re only a morning into it, but we saw a change,” said Mayor Durkan. “Some people are using the water taxi in West Seattle, more people are on buses, and the flex time is working as we saw certain roads filling up earlier than they usually did. What I want to say, number one, is thank you.”

“Number two, remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Please do it again tomorrow and the next day for the next three weeks, because it’s really going to take everyone pulling together to get through this period of time.”

In the lead up to the closure, the Washington State Department of Transportation has been urging commuters to take public transit, carpool, or change work schedules for the next three weeks, before the new SR 99 replacement tunnel opens. They appeared to have listened at the moment.

RELATED: Tracking Monday afternoon’s Viadoom commute

Previously, the mayor addressed the significant reduction in street parking on eight different streets between Denny and Yesler, during this phase of the viaduct closure. Durkan highlighted the issue of multitudes of single-occupancy vehicles using these street parking spaces. The question is: Are they going to comeback or is this a permanent change?

“For this period of time, some of the parking may be phased out for longer periods, because as you know when the Convention Center construction begins in earnest, all of the buses in the bus tunnel will come out onto the city street,” she said. “We’ll have significantly more buses during the rush hour, and so we’ve got to make sure we can accommodate that transit and the other vehicles that need to traveling in and out of Seattle, as well as through Seattle to deliver all of the great trade that’s coming from the port and other places.”

RELATED: How day 1 of Viadoom went

In the meantime, Durkan says she is looking at ways to encourage more people onto transit and light rail, while respecting that everybody has their own realities and are going to do what they need to do. “I want to start with a thank you to everybody who did change their travel patterns and were willing to take a different route either into work or when they worked, and I want to encourage people to keep doing it,” she said.

“It doesn’t take very many people changing their behavior for it to either lots better as it was this morning, or it can get lots worse. Let’s get through this together, let’s show that we can do it, and then we can talk about the long-term effects of it down the road.”

 

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