Ahead of Mega Gridlock Expected Downtown, Mayor Jenny Durkan Commits to Additional Actions to Lessen Impact on Commuters and Businesses

Commends Substantial Investment to Ease Pressure on Downtown Streets During Era of Reduced Capacity

Seattle (April 3) – Following the announcement by regional partners to advance key mobility projects downtown, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan committed to taking additional steps to continue to ease pressure on downtown streets as public and private construction projects reduce capacity in the coming years.

“Mega projects underway will lead to mega gridlock. Ensuring people who live and work in Seattle can travel in and around our downtown is one of the most essential services that our City must deliver – and a focus of my administration. In this upcoming era of constraint and reduced capacity on our streets, Seattle and our regional partners are taking initial steps to ease the pressures on our streets and minimize the impact on our residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Mayor Durkan. “At the same time, we need to plan for the City of the future: we need to move to a City of greater pedestrian, bike, and transit mobility – and less reliance on cars.”

Mayor Durkan is committed to reducing single occupancy vehicles downtown. According to the 2017 Center City Modesplit Survey, transit use has skyrocketed by 41,500 in the last seven years in downtown Seattle during the peak morning rush hour. Walking, biking, and rideshare, including carpool, saw gains of thousands of trips per day. Conversely, the percent of commuters driving alone has fallen down to 66,500 single occupancy vehicles – the lowest rate since this survey began tracking trends in 2010 and a reduction of nine percent over the last year. The survey illustrates an overall decrease of approximately 4,500 single-occupancy vehicles in the city, despite employment growth of approximately 60,000 jobs since 2010.

“We have to do more and get creative, which is why I have set a goal to reduce 1,200 peak hour trips by single occupancy vehicles in 2018 and 3,000 peak hour trips in 2019. This year, the City will finalize additional operational steps our City is taking to improve traffic downtown to meet this goal. This includes using Seattle Transit Benefit District funds to continue to expand bus service; and providing additional staff in our Transportation Operations Center during critical time periods to be better prepared to respond to real-time events,” continued Durkan. “Engaging both private and public partners, the City is aiming to use every innovative and effective tool, including incentivizing telecommuting; partnering with navigation applications to provide insights on best times to leave downtown; working with local business partners on ‘stay and play’ promotions to encourage commuters to leave downtown at the most beneficial time; and supporting innovative options for first and last mile transit trips such as bike share, microtransit, and carpooling apps.”

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