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Action movie or next three years of Seattle construction?


If you think it’s tough getting around Seattle now, you better get ready for the next three years.

The city will be undergoing a major transformation as new towers are built, and Seattle construction blocks traffic while also eliminating parking. It’s going to impact more than just solo drivers.

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The Convention Center expansion begins in 2019. The downtown bus tunnel will close, sending all the buses onto surface streets. And the Seattle tunnel will open in about a year, possibly pushing thousands of cars a day onto surface streets.

That’s on top of the construction already underway, including along the city’s waterfront and Seattle First Hill Streetcar project, which will eliminate two lanes of traffic on First Avenue between Stewart and Jackson.

Seattle construction: Period of maximum constraint

A city advisory group has dubbed the time period starting later this year through 2021 the “period of maximum constraint” due to all the work scheduled to take place. It sounds like the title of a Michael Bay action film, but it’s actually the state of harsh traffic conditions Seattle will endure. Even Mayor Jenny Durkan has warned that traffic will get worse.

Because of all this work, according to materials from the advisory group, people in Seattle can expect to spend additional time traveling throughout the city. The group reports that cyclists, bus riders, and even pedestrians could see a negative impact on getting around the city, especially in the downtown core. For example, bus riders will spend 2,500 hours of total travel time each day. The afternoon commute will take 3.5 minutes longer.

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