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Old 05-05-2014, 08:41 AM
 
3,699 posts, read 10,822,698 times
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Seattle's freeway system is only half-built from what was originally designed, and the half that wasn't built (because of public outcry over the routes in the late 60's) created the horrible bottleneck at I-5/Mercer/520, where cars leap from the left to the right lane to get between 520 and Mercer in about a quarter mile. Originally there was going to be an expressway east of I-5 that would have carried 520 traffic around the urban core, and a freeway connecting I-5 directly to the Alaska Way Viaduct. The system as originally designed would have had much more road capacity and fewer bottlenecks than we have now.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:33 AM
 
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i don't find the traffic is that bad in seattle because i'm from CA.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
26 posts, read 50,309 times
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Seattle's traffic is nothing compared to LA. That being said, Angelenos also know how to handle traffic better and you will typically see moving traffic on the 405 compared to complete stop and go traffic on the 5 in Seattle. There are also many specific areas within Seattle that cause traffic buildups. These areas include (but are not limited to) South Lake Union, Aurora Ave (especially through the 70s-100s), and Downtown. Getting across town, typically takes longer than it should, especially in the mid-region of the city. The city is also intersected by many waterways that cause delays because of boat travel and bridges. My commute to school was sometimes augmented by the raising of the Ballard bridge. All in all, Seattle traffic can get bad, but it is nothing close to LA. Seattle has a huge driving culture, bigger than many would expect. Typically people believe that Seattle is big into bikeability ad walkability, but the truth is that public transportation sucks and Seattleites are actually into cars.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Seattle
338 posts, read 806,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RotseCherut View Post
Seattle's traffic is misleading, especially compared to other metro areas. As far as the freeways go, Seattle's freeway traffic is actually not as bad as the freeway traffic in other cities.. It can be quite congested during rush hour and even weekends, but it moves. Where Seattle can be said to have much worse traffic than many other cities, even comparable to places like New York or Boston, would be driving within the city, itself; especially, during the rush hour times. I remember once I was driving from Fremont to Capital Hill via downtown during rush hour and it took me over 2 hours to just go a distance of about 5 miles. The downtown area at rush hour is horrifying and the constant construction of more apartment complexes and high rises in the downtown is only going to add to the congestion. I've driven through many large cities in the West Coast and cannot think of one, even San Francisco, where the city traffic was so horrifying. Seattle's roads are just not large enough and probably haven not changed much in over 20 years. The city is heavily congested and roads are not adequate for the number of people living in the city. So, for those who think Seattle's traffic is going to be a breeze and will be doing a lot of commuting within the city, prepare to be in for unpleasant surprise. For those who are just working in the Seattle metro or Bellevue and commuting to a suburb and not driving within the city at rush hour, the traffic is actually probably not as bad as cities as Los Angeles or San Francisco in that regard.
Yep. This.

During non-rush hour times, it's not too bad, but during rush hour, it has taken me 1-2 hours to go 5 miles many, many days of the year. It's not just an occasional thing. Having lived in LA and Seattle, I think Seattle is worse because we don't have alternate routes any better than the clusterfsk we're trying to avoid.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:24 PM
 
18 posts, read 28,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
It's pretty terrible, but it's mostly reserved for rush hour. Remember, the Seattle metro region has an estimated population of 3,500,026. LA city proper alone has 3,800,000 million people alone, with 38 million in the region
Errr... I think you meant to type 18 million in the LA region. That's only if you include Orange County as well as Riverside/San Bernardino. 38 million is the population of California as a state.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:37 PM
 
Location: West Coast
1,883 posts, read 1,868,358 times
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Having lived in both cities I can say LA traffic is worse, but Seattle's is FAR, FAR more frustrating. Mostly it comes down to the drivers (or lack thereof) in Seattle.

"Going up the bridge rise on the west channel of I-90, no one is in front, better hit the brakes"
"Going up Kennydale Hill, no one in front of me, better hit the brakes"
"Merging, traffic is going 60+, better merge with my brakes"
"Need to change lanes, and I have 1.5 miles to do it, open space in front of the car next to me...well I better hit the brakes instead of the gas"
"One rain drop, wide open road, better hit the brakes"
"Left lane, open road, going 10mph under...hmmm too fast, I better hit the brakes"

People here are allergic to the gas pedals, this is what causes most of our traffic. I have never seen people use their brakes so often, and drive so slowly and in such a confused manner. No left lane etiquette, no ability to merge, clueless, passive-aggressive (oh this guy may want to go in front, better make sure he can't even though I've been driving slow in the left lane), and just plain dumb behind the wheel in Seattle.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
3,733 posts, read 7,241,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
-Bridges. Not including the bridges which cross Lake Washington over to Bellevue, Seattle has a total of 4 bridges that all traffic must cross in order to travel to the Northern/Southern half of the city. This causes natural bottle-necking.
More than that. This is a city of bridges. However you are correct, they do create natural bottle-necking. Car bridges across the ship canal in order from west to east we have:

Ballard Bridge
Fremont Bridge
Aurora Bridge
I-5 Bridge
University Bridge
Montlake Cut Bridge

Then we also have the floating bridges over the lake that you acknowledged. Then there is the Spokane Street Bridge, the West Seattle Bridge, the 1st Ave South Bridge, and the Southpark Bridge, which should be re-opened later this year. (About time!).

Most of these bridges open for marine traffic, which helps to create bad traffic going over them.

Anyway, to answer the original question, Seattle traffic can be quite horrific, and it will only get worse before it gets better.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,982 posts, read 4,419,711 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawkeaton View Post
Typically people believe that Seattle is big into bikeability ad walkability, but the truth is that public transportation sucks and Seattleites are actually into cars.
Yeah, upon moving to Seattle I was under the impression that "walkability" would be great in this region. Nope. Little did I know that outside of a couple little urban nodes, the Seattle metro area is just as sprawling and suburban as Orange County.

The bus system is "okay" for certain destinations, but leaves a lot to be desired. Biking in this city is insane with all the crazed drivers. I was on a bus and the bus driver was practically rear-ending a cyclist and honking at him to move--the cyclist had the right to be in the street because there were shallot lanes! Buses here have little regard for pedestrian safety. And even living in Capitol Hill, it's still an annoying hassle to travel anywhere without a car besides the center of downtown and UW.

In general, Seattle public transit seems really clunky. For a city who puts out a national image of being friendly for "car-free living", it's really not. I live in Cap Hill and I still frequently use my car on the weekends even though I'd prefer not to.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Seattle
7,545 posts, read 6,682,522 times
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I don't find it even close to as bad as LA. That being said, I have a flexible schedule and know town like the back of my hand, local routes you know?
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:53 PM
 
1,313 posts, read 1,905,511 times
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Agree, I thought I'd be biking a lot more here. Turns out I biked more in L.A.! And I often find myself checking my speedometer on the freeway because there's usually a solid line of cars across all lanes in my rear view. It makes me nervous until I realize everyone else is just doing 45-50. So bizarre.

I think Seattle just suffers from poor city planning and too many years playing catch up without effecting real change. Still, it's probably become (somewhat) a part of the quirky city character. Probably easy for me to say since I work from home.
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