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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

February 5, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Seattle is 9th worst in traffic? It’s still awful

Screenshot of Google traffic map

Seattle has the ninth worst traffic in the nation, tied with Philadelphia, according to a news side blog post Mike Lindblom posted on Monday night. He cited a report from the Texas Transportation Institute with 2011 rankings. This is an improvement from our 2010 spot, which was one lower.

This improvement will not be comforting when I’m sitting on Fairview Avenue or anywhere from South Lake Union to downtown during rush hour, when the Mercer construction snarls traffic through two-mile radius stretching west of Interstate 5. Trying to catch a 6:30 p.m. flight out of Sea-Tac was a white-knuckle experience just trying to get onto the freeway.

Our improved ranking will not help the many small businesses in Chinatown-International District whose customers have decided to shop and eat elsewhere because of streetcar construction on Jackson (and the death of the Ride-Free zone).

The incremental rise won’t help anyone who lives in West Seattle, whose commute times have tripled and quadrupled with the viaduct construction.

And it won’t ease the pain of drivers who have seen the traffic on Interstate 90 slow after tolling started on the 520 bridge.

The only people who might feel there’s been an improvement are the residents of South Seattle now that light-rail construction has ended.

I’m from Southern California, where a 45-minute one-way commute was considered easy, and Seattle’s traffic drives me crazy.

This city is a heart fed with plaque-filled arteries and blood clots circulating around its brain. We are its cells, dying slow oxygen-deprived deaths.

Comments | Topics: traffic


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