Taylor Swift concerts won’t be able to shake off Seattle traffic

Jul 21, 2023, 1:41 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2023, 10:08 am

Six cruise liners are docking. Two conventions are planned downtown. Bite of Seattle is back at Seattle Center after a three-year hiatus. The Capitol Hill Block Party is lasting all weekend, starting Friday evening. The Storm are hosting a game at Climate Pledge Arena this weekend. The M’s are taking on their international rival Toronto Blue Jays in its once-a-year Seattle series.

To top it off, Taylor Swift — headliner for arguably the biggest concert in United States history — is coming to Seattle to perform her Eras tour. According to Pollstar, Swift’s tour has generated an estimated $300 million in gross revenue and sold a staggering 1,186,314 tickets for her shows.

With major events creating gridlock traffic from all directions throughout Seattle, if you were planning on using your car to get anywhere, may the odds be ever in your favor!

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“We recommend you to please take transit,” Seattle Department of  Transportation (SDOT) Mariam Ali told KIRO Newsradio. “We have a great link rail, the Metro buses, the water taxis that you can take to get to where you need to go. So our recommendation is to take transit if possible.”

SDOT is implementing its intelligent traffic management system, which controls traffic signals throughout the downtown and SODO areas. The system is programmed with special traffic control plans to keep large swaths of people moving during large stadium events, like Taylor Swift’s. This system can automatically adjust traffic operations based on real-time traffic conditions.

“Our operation center is operating 24/7,” Ali said. “There’s huge monitors across the room, and they’re monitoring all traffic and what is happening in the area so if they see there’s a backlog of people on the road, they will then monitor and modify the traffic control plans like the traffic light singles to adjust it so drivers can continue to move.”

On the tourism front, Visit Seattle is excited about all the action the city has been involved with over the last couple of weeks.

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“It’s really exciting for us because, in addition to all the residents, we’ve got the potential of up to 144,000 between the two concerts,” Visit Seattle spokesperson Michael Woods told KIRO Newsradio. “So for attendees, that is what the concert capacity is at Lumen Field. The other thing that’s really exciting about this weekend is we’ve got three Toronto Blue Jays vs. Mariners games at the facility next door. It’s summer, and you know what summer is like here in Seattle.”

Woods stated Seattle is still not back to pre-pandemic numbers, but when events like Taylor Swift coming to town are happening, it’s a good sign for Seattle.

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“We have baseball games. We have the cruise lines. All of that really helps to bring back all of that business, helping put over 60,000 people to work here in Seattle,” Woods added.

The hotel industry in Seattle would agree with Woods’ claim, as hotel vacancy is at its slimmest when two things occur: Large concerts at Lumen Field and Seattle having a summer weekend full of sunshine and good weather.

“That is a reason to visit,” Woods said. “Visitors are going to experience all of these great things that are happening in Seattle, and we hope that they come back just as a regular old visitor.”

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Taylor Swift concerts won’t be able to shake off Seattle traffic