UPDATE, 12:35 p.m. | The downtown protest by the Justice 4 Mike Brown group has been canceled, according to a tweet from the organizers. It will be rescheduled for Sunday.
ORIGINAL POST | The first Friday in December usually presents one of Seattle’s toughest evening commutes because The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition blocks Fifth Avenue, drawing about 10,000 singers and spectators to the streets around Westlake Center. For people not enjoying holiday merriment, traffic tonight could be more grueling than normal, depending on the movement of crowds expected to be protesting police brutality.
Transportation agencies have little help to offer.
“You might want to consider an earlier bus ride home this p.m.,” says Community Transit, warning all its downtown routes are affected. Caroling lasts from 6 to 8:30 p.m. but congestion will build earlier.
Those walking in the area should be wary because desperate car and bus drivers often run the red lights or block crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to shimmy between the bumpers of idling motor vehicles. The epicenter is Olive Way at McGraw Plaza, where in past years Community Transit riders have waited 30 to 60 minutes for a late bus. The South Lake Union streetcar tends to operate at a near standstill, stuck behind pedestrians and right-turning cars at Denny Way.
Here’s a rundown from transit agencies:
King County Metro: Routes 7, 10, 11, 43 and 49 and Sound Transit Route 545 will be affected, starting around 5 p.m. Buses will be rerouted off Pine Street and Fifth Avenue, to nearby streets, depending on the route, destination and direction of travel. The specific Metro detours are shown here.
Community Transit and Sound Transit Route 512 : Buses will enter downtown southbound from Stewart Street onto Second Avenue instead of Fifth Avenue, then circle back to northbound Fourth Avenue to their normal routes, returning via Olive Way to Snohomish County. Supervisors will be downtown, and updates will be sent to mobile devices, or on Twitter @mycommtrans.