CHOKEPOINTS

How bus reroute will ease traffic slog for West Seattle riders

Aug 30, 2019, 8:20 AM
West Seattle bus reroute...
West Seattle bus riders will soon get some relief. (Seattle Municipal Archives)
(Seattle Municipal Archives)

When Seattle’s SR 99 tunnel opened, it caused a cascading effect on traffic across the city. Perhaps hit the hardest, though, were bus riders headed to West Seattle. King County Metro is looking to ease that journey, marked by a subtle reroute for buses headed to the west-end.

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Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation announced Thursday that all southbound West Seattle and Burien bus routes will move from 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue, before connecting with 4th Avenue.

The reroute begins Monday, September 9. The hope is for travel times that shot up once the tunnel opened in February to return to where they were before the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

“West Seattle bus riders have really taken the brunt of the traffic changes since the tunnel opened,” KIRO Radio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan noted. “There are times where those buses just don’t move, making what used to be a manageable ride into an hour-long slog. Fourth Avenue has more room and will give those riders a more reliable and faster trip.”

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Buses headed in the northbound direction will continue to use 1st Avenue until the Alaskan Way fully reopens in 2020, with the exception of a temporary reroute when Dearborn Street briefly closes for viaduct demolition work.

“West Seattle bus commuters have been contacting me about this crunch and I’ve worked since April to find alternatives,” said District 1 Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “I appreciate Metro, SDOT, the County Executive and the Mayor working to find a cost-effective solution for our bus system, and mitigates any potential obstructions to our Fire Department and emergency responders.”

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How bus reroute will ease traffic slog for West Seattle riders