#SeattleSqueezeAlert: Uniformed Police Officers to Help with Traffic Control During Seattle Squeeze

We’re saying goodbye to the Viaduct, and hello to a new and reimagined Seattle.

In case you missed it, the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes TONIGHT, January 11, at 10 PM. The new SR 99 tunnel won’t open until February, creating three weeks of increased traffic not only downtown, but across the region.

Busy Downtown Intersection
Making sure we keep people and goods moving safely during the SR 99 closure is our number one priority.

On top of asking you to make a plan and change your commute, the City of Seattle has many strategies in place to ensure that we are maintaining mobility for people traveling through downtown Seattle.

We know our downtown streets are going to be impacted by increased traffic. Check out this data from WSDOT on traffic impacts from the 2016 closure of the Viaduct. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure people can keep moving.

What’s changing?

With the help of our partners at the Seattle Police Department, we’re placing uniformed police officers (UPOs) at key intersections downtown on weekday mornings and evenings. Beginning Monday, January 14, officers will help direct traffic, keeping bus lanes and intersections clear, and keeping cars, transit, and people moving. Officers will not override traffic signals, rather they will ensure intersections are kept clear. This helps everyone traveling through Seattle at peak commute hours.

Our traffic engineers worked closely with our partner agencies to identify the appropriate locations and number of officers staged at the following locations. Please note: while we have provided the list of locations where officers will be placed, these locations are subject to change at any point. We’ll provide any changes to locations on our blog at www.seattle.gov/traffic and share the information to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Where will the officers be placed?

Here’s a look at our current list of where officers will be staged during weekday mornings and evenings (note that this list is subject to change):

UPO Intersection List

Intersection Morning (6 – 10 AM) Evening (3 – 7 PM) Number of Officers

Denny Way and Aurora Ave N

X X

2

5th Ave and Wall St

X X

1 in the morning,

2 in the evening

6th Ave and Wall St

X X

2

4th Ave S and Royal Brougham Way S

X

4

4th Ave S and S Spokane St

X X

4

6th Ave S and Royal Brougham Way S

X X

2

Denny Way and Battery St

X

2

5th Ave and Olive Way

X

2

1st Ave S and S Atlantic St

X X

4

3rd Ave and Stewart St

X

2

5th Ave and Stewart St

X

1

5th Ave S and Seattle Blvd S

X

3

1st Ave N and Denny Way

X

2

Queen Anne Ave N and Denny Way X

2

Maps of these locations are available below or at this link: UPO Locations During SR 99 Closure.

Belltown:
Belltown UPOs

SoDo:

SODO UPOs

4th Ave S and S Spokane St:

4th Ave S and Spokane St UPOs

 

Why are we making these changes?

We know that traffic is going to get tough near the north and south portals of SR 99. Beyond monitoring current conditions in our 24/7 Transportation Operations Center, we’re placing officers in the street to manage traffic and keep people moving safely in these areas. We’ll keep an eye on how it goes and change up the arrangements as needed.

Remember: if you do need to drive through downtown during the #Realign99 closure, don’t “block the box”, or block the crosswalks of an intersection with your car. When cars block the box, it contributes to gridlock across the transportation network. Stay patient when traveling through a crosswalk, and if you know you’re going to block the intersection, stay back and stop behind either the stop bar or the crosswalk.

Block the Box Sign
Blocking the box doesn’t just have consequences for the traffic system – it can cost you money, too.

Lastly, it’s important to remember to move right for sirens and lights to allow our emergency responders to quickly reach their destination. If you are involved in a crash, and there are no injuries to anyone involved, please move your vehicles out of the travel lane to allow people to move through the area. We need to keep our streets as clear as possible!

Move Right for Sirens and Lights

Thank you for your help in adjusting your travel times and behaviors during this time. It takes everyone’s help to make sure we work together during this challenging time. Take a deep breath and practice patience and kindness towards your fellow travelers. We’ll all get through this together.