Gridlock! Seattle’s Transportation Issue

By Joe Follansbee, Jordan Royer, Kristen Russell and Feliks Banel

February 22, 2012

A comprehensive guide to what's really slowing the Seattle commute. Plus, encouraging updates on the

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Seattle Magazine.


It’s the least sexy, most flammable cocktail-party topic around: transportation. The horror story about a one-hour crosstown crawl. The strategy swap about how best to cross the lake during a Mariners home stand. And the sharply divisive rhetoric about which multibillion-dollar projects our region really needs—and how to pay for them.

Transportation touches us all, in increasingly negative ways. There is no lack of ideas for solutions—you’ll read dozens of them in our March cover story package (outlined below)—but can we find the will to put them into play? Where the rubber meets the road is the so-called “Seattle process,” the consensus-building mire that can stall even the most commonsense plan. But with the average Seattleite spending more than $10,000 a year on transportation and 44 hours stuck in traffic, we need to get behind a plan, and fast. So here is your guide to transportation, in our city and region, and some inspired ideas to finally get Seattle moving again. >>>

Click links to read full stories.


Bumps in the Road: Is Seattle Its Own Biggest Road Block?

The battle over the massive Viaduct replacement project caused a major rift in Seattle. Joe Follansbee wonders if lessons learned during that painful process will lead to a breakthrough in future debates.

Two-Way Traffic: Seeing the Bigger Picture in Seattle’s Transportation Conundrums 

In the transportation wars, as Seattle goes, so goes the region—and vice versa. Jordan Royer, head of government affairs at Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and a frequent Crosscut contributor, explains why the rest of the state—including politicians and leaders in industry and agriculture—is watching our every move.

Seattle Gridlock by the Numbers

How Seattleites are getting by compared to other cities.

The Evolution of the 520 Floating Bridge

Big changes are under way on the 520 bridges, the longest floating bridge on Earth.


The Worst Traffic Spots in Seattle

SDOT says these locations rack up some of the most stop-and-go traffic. Plus, where the biggest backups are predicted to be in 2012.

Gotcha! 3 Parking Rules to Remember

These little-known mandates will get you a ticket faster than you think.

How to Find Parking in Downtown Seattle

Part art and part luck, parking your car in Seattle presents a special challenge. We have some tips.

Nostalgia Trip: Why the Monorail is Still the Best Ride in Town

It’s taken plenty of hits, but for 50 years, Seattle’s “space age” Monorail has endured. Feliks Banel takes us for a ride.


So long, Viaduct. Hello, Ultimate Boring Machine!

Once the flashpoint for heated debates, the Viaduct now lies partially in ruins, and the changes that are coming to Seattle’s waterfront are, well, earthshaking. Plus, watch our exclusive music video tribute to the elevated roadway we’re all sure to miss.

We Could Car Less: Solutions for Stressed Seattle Commuters

More and more, eco-conscious (and frugal) Seattleites are finding ways to reduce their car usage.

Futuristic Transportation Solutions to Look Forward To

Reducing car traffic takes persistence, determination and innovation. Here are three hot new technologies designed to ease gridlock.

The Big Idea: Transportation Edition

If money were no object, what single thing would you do to improve transporation in the Puget Sound region? We put that question to a bevy of local transportation experts and limited their responses to 150 words. Here’s what they came up with.

On the Seattle blog: Seattle mag managing editor Kristen Russell will continue her entertaining “Viaduct for Dummies” series as the city continues to move forward in its dramatic transportation transformation. Reading her posts will help you cut through all the city policy wonkyity-wonk language and understand exactly what is happening and when.  Follow Seattle magazine on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you’re up to date with any new developments.