The Parker Blog:

Goodbye SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, Hello Seattle Tunnel!  

On January 11th commuters in Seattle will be forced to change up their daily commute with the closure of the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

Over 90,000 commuters, including many of our employees and clients will be affected, so we have collected the following essential information you need to know about the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. In the coming weeks we will continue to bring the best tips and tricks to beat the January traffic jams!  

When will the Viaduct Close? 

The Viaduct will officially close at 10 p.m. on January 11th, 2019 for at least three weeks. An estimated 90,000 vehicles will be forced to use side streets and other highways daily. The impact on traffic is going to be unlike anything Seattle commuters have seen before.  

Planning Your Commute  

Here are some helpful tips for reducing your chances of getting stuck in gridlock. If you have specific questions, you can call King County Metro for help with trip planning at 206-553-3000 or utilize one of the options below: 

  • Adjust your travel times to avoid peak travel times which are typically 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. A flexible work schedule will help maximize your efficiency. 

  • Consider starting or joining a carpool, vanpool or vanshare. Try joining local neighborhood groups on Facebook to arrange carpools, or use the Waze Carpool App or Scoop App.  

  • Take the Sound Transit Link light rail

  • West Seattle residents can try the King County Water Taxi

  • Download the OneBusAway app to get real time updates on arrival times route planning, as well as real-time updates on bus and train. 

  • Bike or walk to work and campus. 

  • Talk to your employer about telecommuting as soon as possible.  

  • Research other travel options in this PDF document from WSDOT. This document includes bike maps, walking routes and more. 

Let someone else do the driving  

During the three-week construction period rideshare companies Lyft and Uber are offering discounted rides from transit hubs. The discount on a ride will be $2.75 which comes out to be the same price as most public transit options. This discount started December 10th and will run till February 15th, 2019.  

There are some important things to know about this offer. If you’ve taken a Lyft ride in the last 30 days, this offer is automatically applied to your account. It will only be eligible for shared rides to or from one of the transit hubs below. If you have not used Lyft in the last 30 days enter the promo code REALIGN99. If you are a new Lyft user download the Lyft app, tap the menu bar on the left, tap Promos, and enter code REALIGN99. The discount will be effective at the following transit hubs: 

  • Burien Transit Center 

  • Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride 

  • Olson Place & Myers Way Park & Ride 

  • Columbia City Station 

  • Mt. Baker Station 

  • Othello Station 

  • Rainier Beach Station 

  • Tukwila International Boulevard Station 

  • University of Washington Station 

  • West Seattle Water Taxi 

Uber will also be providing a discount for the same transit hubs above except for the Olson Place & Myers Way Park & Ride. The Uber discount will also cover the Beacon Hill Station, SeaTac Airport Station and the Angle Lake Station. To use the Uber discount, tap the payment section of your Uber app. Enter the promo code COMMUTESMART under “Add Promo/Gift Code”. You can then request rides to or from eligible transit stations, and the $2.75 discount automatically applied to your Uber ride each time you take a qualifying trip.  

For North End Commuters 

During the Viaduct closure reaching downtown Seattle will be very difficult, especially if you are traveling on SR 99. King Country recommends the Link light rail or the Sounder Train as a way to dodge traffic.  The Sounder Train runs from Everett to Seattle with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds, with four trips both in the morning and evening commuting hours.  

The Link light rail runs through University District, Capitol Hill with stops in downtown. While bus service will be available with the detours and traffic expect travel times to be to be longer and buses to be packed.  

For South End Commuters 

For commuters coming in from the South End King County also recommends utilizing the Link light rail and Sounder Train. The Sounder Train runs from Lakewood and makes stops in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle. 

The Link light rail starts at Angle Lake and runs through SeaTac, Tukwila, the Rainier Valley and SODO into downtown and on to the University of Washington, with other stops along the way. It is important to note that bus service will also be extremely busy and delayed in this area as well. King Country provides a great guide to changes to south end pathways here.  

Hang in there Seattle!  

While this may seem like a stressful way to kick off 2019 the three-week closure can be a great opportunity to utilize greener commute options and to explore the benefits of telecommuting. Make sure you have multiple options for your commute and communicate any concerns with your employers. Stay tuned for our upcoming pieces on biking to work and telecommuting!  

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