#SeattleSqueeze Tip: Disperse!

Hello, week 3 of the #Realign99 closure and the #SeattleSqueeze! And thanks to you all for continuing to be nimble and patient as we move through this together.

We’re in the home stretch of the SR 99 closure before the new tunnel opens below downtown Seattle, and we need everyone to keep doing what you’re doing (and if you can continue your new commute changes beyond the SR 99 closure throughout the Seattle Squeeze, please do!).

Things are under pressure…

One thing we’ve been noticing (and if you’re out on the roads, you’re probably seeing this too) is greater backups where folks are trying to get from downtown city streets onto I-5. Those ramps are feeling the pressure.

I-5 traffic

Help relieve the pressure: disperse!

The best way to relieve this pressure is, of course, to not be in your car if you don’t have to be. Take the bus, walk, bike, carpool, rideshare, water taxi, light rail – the possibilities abound! Check out our Tools to Plan Ahead page on our Seattle Traffic website, your resource for the latest information during the #SeattleSqueeze.

Another great tip is to time your trip differently if you can. If you are able to shift your trip and avoid coming to or through downtown Seattle during the peak commute hours (6 – 9 AM and 3-7 PM), that helps relieve pressure on our transportation system, freeing up space for those who can’t shift their hours.

But if you do need to drive during peak commute times, our best tips for you are:

  1. Take a deep breath – mindfulness for the win! Harvard Business Review has some great tips for practicing mindfulness during your car commute.
  2. DISPERSE! (more on this one below)

Instead of trying to get on or off of I-5 where everyone else is (ahem, Spring St southbound entrance), try another ramp. Head a bit north or south of where you might normally try to get onto the freeway to help spread out car traffic and relieve that pressure on our system.

Wondering where you should go instead of your normal route?

Check out WSDOT’s map of I-5 on and off ramps. Here’s a closer look downtown:

Seattle Map North

And here’s the view a little further south:

But, before you go…

Even before you decide to hit the road, checking out current traffic conditions will help you plan ahead and avoid any major incidents.

On city streets:

For a look at current traffic conditions on city streets, use our handy dandy Travelers’ Map. This awesome map shows traffic cameras across the city so that you can see what traffic looks like in real time!

SDOT Travelers Map
SDOT Travelers Map

On highways:

WSDOT’s Seattle Area Traffic and Cameras webpage provides info on incidents and other impacts to major highways through Seattle, as well as traffic camera information. (Psst: If you’re on mobile, you can also download the WSDOT app!)

WSDOT Map
WSDOT Seattle Area Traffic Map

Thanks again for stepping up during the Seattle Squeeze. Remember: plan ahead, try a different ramp if you’re entering I-5 downtown, and stay patient and flexible. We’re getting through this together!