The Durkan Digest: What to Expect in Chapter Three of the Seattle Squeeze

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The next chapter of the Seattle Squeeze is coming.

Back in January, we began the first chapter of the Squeeze with the three-week closure of SR 99 through downtown. But working together, we got through it. People got out of their cars. They biked, worked from home, hopped on transit, carpooled, and more.

Then, in March, we kicked off Chapter Two when all King County Metro buses that had used the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) moved permanently onto our surface streets.

Photo of a woman waiting for the E line bus in downtown Seattle

With so many more buses on downtown streets, things are different downtown, and there have been some challenges. Each week, I get a detailed update on travel and transit times in and around downtown, and it became clear that there were some especially difficult challenges for commuters coming to and from West Seattle on King County Metro buses on First Avenue. That’s why I directed the Seattle Department of Transportation to work with King County Metro to identify some alternative solutions, including new routes. Yesterday, King County Metro announced they will begin routing southbound buses in the SR99 corridor to Fourth Avenue to help improve the evening commute.

Now, it’s time to get ready for Chapter Three of the Squeeze.

It will begin with two significant events: The beginning of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s tolling of the SR 99 tunnel downtown on November 9, and Sound Transit’s “Connect 2020” project this fall and in early 2020, when the construction to link the downtown tunnel to light rail to the Eastside will require Link riders to practice patience and allow for extra time. Click here to learn about WSDOT’s tolling of SR 99, and click here to learn more from Sound Transit about their Connect 2020 project, and what it might mean for how you get around Seattle.

As we approach the third chapter of the Seattle Squeeze, we need your continued help to make room on our roads and on transit. Please help us work together to make everyone’s commute easier. If you don’t have to, please don’t drive alone downtown. We need that space on our roads for buses and emergency vehicles.

Visit seattle.gov/trafficKing County MetroWSDOT, and Sound Transit to learn more and make your plan. And, as always, please be safe and be patient as you make your way in and around Seattle.

From investing in more Metro bus service to building more safe routes for biking to creating bus-only lanes, the City will continue to do our part.

And please remember: This is all going to be worth it. We are building a city of the future. Once we get through the Squeeze together, we’ll have expanded Sound Transit Link light rail, we’ll have finished reconnecting our downtown with the Puget Sound, we’ll have built a new ‘Waterfront for All,’ we’ll have a new world-class arena at Seattle Center – and a whole lot more.

Before and after photo showing the progress of the Viaduct demolition between January 10 and May 13, 2019

Thanks for doing your part to help us all get through the Seattle Squeeze together.

As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.

Sincerely,

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.