Friday, November 17, 2006

We Love It!

Photo & Text Copyright 2006 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

Early morning I-5 freeway backup heading into downtown and toward a bridge to the Eastside of Lake Washington and popular employers like Microsoft. This picture was taken on a very GOOD morning for an average commute! Those are the express lanes in the center going under, and that is Capitol Hill straight ahead with Saint Mark's "the big box on the hill" to the very far left You can click those two links for close views at my More Seattle Stuff Page or here and here.

I lived in heavily congested traffic areas in California most of my life, yet Seattle's commute traffic seems far worse to me. There is no connected rapid transit system yet. We rely heavily on the Seattle Metro bus system (which is timely and great--and just $2.50 to the airport 20 miles away!). We ride our bikes to work (you can also take them on the bus), and keep one small car to get about otherwise.

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alice said...

Whoa, you're making me feel really grateful I don't have to commute. Well done for riding your bikes :)

Olivier said...

Ici la galere c'est quand tu bosses de banlieue à banlieue. tout est prevu pour aller travailler à Paris, mais d'une ville de banlieue à une autre, c'est dur, tres dur. cela prend un temps fou.

Here the galere they is when you bumps of suburbs with suburbs. all is designed to go to work in Paris, but of a town of suburbs with another, it is hard, very hard. that takes an insane time.

Anonymous said...

so i've heard of the horrors of seattle traffic. But outside of having to cross lake washington, is it really that bad? Even from the photo, it looks like everyone that is in traffic is getting ready to cross the 520 bridge.

Just curious, from a maybe-soon-to-be seattlite


Felicia said...

Great photo Kim! San Diego traffic is just as bad. I appreciate seeing the car pool lane - the city did well on planning/building it, unlike our city where we are just in the beginning stages of starting to add high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Wish I could ride my bike to work. What do you do when it rains?

Meg Nakagawa said...

Reminded me of Auckland! 1 hour 55 minutes drive in the morning, 20 minutes on our way back. Ben's happy you reminded me why we love Nelson. And you can always part within 90 seconds walk to most places.

Meg Nakagawa said...

Park... of course... Why doesn't spellchecker understand what I mean?

selana18 said...

I hate traffic! I prefer to take the metro and I love bikes but here in Greece the system doesn't promote the bikes...for instance it is forbidden to take your bike on the public transport, we don't have yellow lines for bikes...

Have a nice weekend -without traffic!

selana -Athens

Lachezar said...

Its a great shot but I guess it also shoots up your stress levels!

I started using the bus! Auckland is no better!


Eric said...

I imagine the traffic has gotten worse over the years with all of the high tech moving there?

Doesn't Microsoft have it's own high speed line?

luggi-foeger said...

So it's pretty bad to get from Seattle to Bellevue on a weekday morning, but other than that, it's not too bad? (Do you ever miss California?)

Kim said...

Alice, I'm thankful my work is fairly close. One of my family is really dedicated and did a regular 17 mile commute via bike/bus, but at that distance/time commitment, I'd flake out, I'm sure.

Olivier, Ici, aussi, les banlieues suivent l'un après l'autre et le temps commue me semble insensé. La plupart de cela est à cause du prix d'habitation. C'est probablement vrai dans le monde entier, eh ?

Matthew, Traffic moving north/south through Seattle happens either via the I-5 or hiway 99. If the I-5 freeway is moving it is a good day, but a long one at commute hours, no matter what. Getting across town east/west is a dice shoot at busy times, and there are few main arteries. Around UW main arteries can be at a crawl many days. Downtown is like any downtown and pretty manageable, but slow. Traffic is only a real nightmare if one doesn't live in Seattle and needs to commute in. There is plenty of relatively affordable housing in Seattle so one doesn't need to live far away if one lives simply.

Felicia, actually those are express lanes that go one direction in the morning and the other in the evening. They don't have many exits and are to help commuters from far off get through traffic more quickly. There are also car pool lanes for 2 or more persons per vehicle. When I've gone back to Southern California and seen toll roads and HOV lanes I've felt like I was on another planet. San Diego, like Seattle, rapidly expanded in population without adding needed road infrastructure quickly enough I guess. I don't have far to go, so I just ride in the rain. . .oddly enough I've never really hit it when it's been downright pouring. It's really not bad--I've got fenders ;^)

Meg, Nelson sounds wonderful. My in-laws had an OC to LA commute like you describe to Auckland, and I don't know how they stood it for so many years. There is a lot to be said for parking nearby your destination, too. I have great luck in downtown Seattle, it's not like SF was for us in that sense at all.

Selana18, that's too bad the transit can't allow bikes, but its a problem with crowed commuter trains. In SF they limit bikes to one car of the BART trains, but at least they let them on. Here the buses have a rack for 2 bikes, and you are out of luck if there are more bike riders than that. Bike lanes are great, and I wish everywhere could impliment them. Biking is still dangerous in any city, world over, even with bike lanes.

Lachezar, If I had to face using the freeway here daily, my stress would definately be up there. 3 cheers for the bus!

Eric, Yes I think you must be right. The population has grown here in the last 20-30 years, and the road systems and rapid transit haven't been added to to keep up. The major employer in the Seattle area used to be Boeing aircraft, and thousands of people still commute there. But with the diversification of the economy here in many areas including high tech and its giant, Microsoft, employers are now scattered all over the Seattle area. Microsoft in Redmond on the eastside unfortunately does not have it's own high speed line. . .they just let employees telecommute ;^).

Luggi, It's not just getting over the floating bridges, it's getting from Everett to Seattle or Tacoma to Seattle. . .the north/south commute is just bonkers both ways. Getting across town in Seattle on the surface streets is no picnic, either. Other than that, it really is easy to get around town, just don't live out of town and try to get in at rush hours. Then there is the earthquake damage to the downtown viaduct that connects Seattle to West Seattle. . .when they repair/rebuild/make a tunnel/whatever the governor decides to do, that's going to affect traffic enormously all over town.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, guys!

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

I like the picture, Kim; it has to be said that that express lane to the left is the quintessence of planning!;-)

Jing said...

later comments from jing:
nice shot!
i like this one, and often can be seen in shanghai. but havent caught a nice shot as you did!!
great shot!