Metro keeps Seattle moving during Alaskan Way Viaduct construction
As work continues on replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct (AWV), King County Metro Transit is playing a vital role in managing congestion on SR 99. Ridership is up, which is keeping thousands of cars off the road and providing new travel alternatives to thousands of riders.
In 2007, the state, King County and city of Seattle came to agreement on the first phase of a long-range plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The agreement included a $32 million commitment from the state for enhanced transit service and to mitigate traffic impacts of the initial phase of replacement. That agreement was followed by a second agreement in 2009 outlining agency responsibilities for the remainder of the replacement program.
More riders getting on-board with Metro
Did you know that over 40 percent of all commuters working in downtown Seattle use transit? In fact, about half of all Metro’s trips (57.5 million trips) serve the downtown core.
AWV mitigation funding has allowed Metro to increase service by about 20% since 2010 at a time when overall demand for transit service from communities such as West Seattle, Ballard, Magnolia, North Seattle and Georgetown has grown.
Did you know that...
- Metro has attracted nearly 17,000 new daily riders (a 22 percent increase) and average daily traffic has decreased by 25,000 vehicles (a 23 percent decline).
- Nearly 50 percent of all people getting onto SR 99 from Columbia Street in downtown Seattle during peak commute times are traveling on buses.
- Just four months after their launch, Metro's RapidRide C and D lines are already carrying over 14,000 daily riders downtown to and from West Seattle, Ballard and Uptown each weekday.
What’s at stake?
Unfortunately, the very transit improvements that have kept people moving during viaduct construction face an uncertain future.
State mitigation funding for transit runs out in June of 2014 — well before work is completed on the AWV tunnel and waterfront improvements. The result will be a loss of 120 to130 daily bus trips and the elimination of 7,500 daily transit seats in the SR 99 corridor. The ripple effects of traffic slowdowns will be felt throughout the region as vehicles divert to Interstate 5 and other arterials to avoid construction delays.
In the coming weeks, Metro will update riders and stakeholders on the need for ongoing transit mitigation during the remainder of WSDOT tunnel construction and the city of Seattle’s subsequent waterfront restoration.