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Seattle commute: 10 best cities for that daily drive into the city

The Seattle commute has long been a fixture of Puget Sound culture. Which are the best bus lines, times to drive in or out of Seattle, or how long it takes are among common conversations. But some cities are better for that commute than others.

The Seattle commute ranks in the top five drive times that grew the worst between 2007 and 2018. It went from an average of 49.4 minutes to 56.6 minutes. In fact, Seattle traffic has been ranked as the fifth worst in the nation.

CommercialCafe further reports, after crunching some numbers, that there are a few cities better for the Seattle drive than others. The conclusions are based on a range of factors including commute times, housing values, school ratings, and crime rates.

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That can lead to some varying results. Housing prices in Kirkland and Shoreline are a bit apart, for example. And while Shoreline is immediately north of Seattle, it has a longer average commute time than other cities.

Commuting hasn’t changed much in America since 2008, according to additional information from CommercialCafe. A total of 96 percent of employees commuted in 2008. That number only dropped by 1 percent by 2017. For those braving the Seattle commute, it adds up to an additional 31.2 hours in traffic.

All of the top commuter cities have experienced considerable population growth in recent years. The Puget Sound Regional Council recently released numbers on Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties, showing that the Central Puget Sound region experienced a 13.9 percent population rise between 2010 and 2019 — an increase of 512,458 people. That equates to 188 people moving to the area each day (99 of them in Seattle), or a workforce surge of 26 percent.

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Considering the population change between 2010 and 2019, along with CommercialCafe’s commuting conclusions:

  • Issaquah: Population increase of 23.5 percent, or 7,156 people. Issaquah’s housing stock has grown in recent years, and has an average commute time of 26.5 minutes.
  • Kirkland: Population increase of 82.3 percent, or 40,153 people. The average commute time is 28 minutes.
  • Lake Forest Park: Population increase of 5.2 percent, or 652 people. Average commute time is 33.5 minutes.
  • Redmond: Population increase of 21.6 percent, or 11,716 people. Average commute time is 29.5 minutes.
  • Shoreline: Population increase of 6.3 percent, or 3,363 people. The average commute time is 38.5 minutes. CommcercialCafe notes that a car trip can be as short as 22 minutes, but hopping on a bus could take up to 55 minutes.
  • Kenmore: Population increase of 14 percent, or 2,860 people. Average commute time is 36 minutes.
  • Bellevue: Population increase of 18.7 percent, or 22,937 people. The average commute time to Seattle is 27 minutes.
  • Mountlake Terrace: Population increase of 8.4 percent, or 1,681. Average commute time is 29.5 minutes.
  • Edmonds: Population increase of 6.2 percent, or 2,461. Average commute time is 31.5 minutes.
  • Mercer Island: Population increase of 7.8 percent, or 1,771 people. The average commute time may be 22 minutes, but massive housing prices do not make this a reasonable option for many commuters.

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