Seattle’s commute has proved horrendous for a while, but what are we doing about it? And how can we make it better?
According to an October 2017, GeekWire article, Seattle has the sixth longest average commute time, at 54.22 minutes – and, believe it or not, that number has actually reduced from an earlier February figure from King5. Though we’re still behind cities like Washington, CD, San Francisco, CA and New York, NY, the figure in minutes is only about a 6-minute difference. According to that same article, however, Seattle falls to number 17 in commute-related stress.
While vehicle transit makes up a large majority of Seattle’s average commuter, there are tons of other options coming down the pipeline.
One of the largest options in the newspapers are the Light Rail Expansions, and although it’s not settled to be “complete” (as per current projects) until 2039 for its furthest reaching, Tacoma expansion, and projects headway can be seen across the I-90 bridge and 2041 for the Kirkland-Issaquah service.
It seems a far in the future, but the 62 new miles, coming in at 116 miles total, of light rail is projected as one of the “most ambitious transit expansions this country has ever seen,” noted Snohomish County Executive, Dave Somers.
King County Metro has spoke about expanding bus service and boosting their late-night schedules. With 240 more trips each weekday, 100 more Saturday trips, 153 additional Sunday trips and the hiring of more than 2,800 transit operators, the metro system is confident to bolster service throughout the region.
Water Taxis are making a comeback as new options come to light. A fast-ferry has also been proposed for foot-traffic between Tacoma and Seattle. According to Curbed-Seattle, Tacoma’s City Councilor, Ryan Mello, there’s “a lot of regional interest” in the idea, but regulation bars them on a state level, leaving it up to the local governments to run with the idea. If this were to take effect, it could reduce the averaged 30-minute commute by 10-minutes.
Another fast-ferry could be on it’s way, connecting Seattle to Renton, Washington, via Lake Washington. Though this is the idea of a private developer, they hope to be up and running in 2020 – only a couple short years away!
Since so many other land-routes are clogged and bogged-down throughout the day, and especially during peak hours, water seems like the right way to go about reducing congestion.
Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan was also implemented earlier this year (2017). The 2017-2021 plan, is a vision that bicycle riding throughout the region proves comfortable for people’s day-to-day life, for all ages and all abilities. Stay up to date on the Bike Master Plan page.
Ferries, buses, biking… they’re all the usual, but a huge way you can cut your commute in the meantime is to rideshare. Whether through private organizations or with your best buds, this is a great way for you to take advantage of perks, like cutting fuel cost and consumption, cheaper parking, use HOV/HOT lanes and avoid extraneous wear and tear on your vehicle.
Bottom line, many major metropolises are bearing a heavy burden, when it comes to its workers’ commute. Some drive times expanding 17-miles could take up to 90-minutes – or longer – in some cases. Something many agree on, is that solutions lie in data and technology, and “not necessarily in adding a big highway or building a big parking garage.”
What do you think about these potential or up and coming options? How drastically do you think they’ll reduce and relieve the average commute? Know of any more options? Let us know in the comments!