Seattle’s legendary traffic is about to get worse. On Jan. 11, the Alaskan Way Viaduct — the elevated, waterfront portion of SR 99 — will close for three weeks as workers finish up its replacement tunnel.
Regional officials anticipate major pressure on the already strained infrastructure that thousands use to get to and from work every day. And the mobility woes don’t end when the SR 99 tunnel reopens. Seattle has more than 1,000 transportation projects planned between now and 2023.
Fear not, there are some resources to ease the squeeze. Continue reading for four tech tools to help you get around during Seattle’s transportation makeover.
Seattle officials developed a website with tools and resources to navigate the increased traffic. Visiting SeattleTraffic.org, travelers can track traffic in real time, subscribe for alerts, and access other tools for getting around. The site will remain active past the viaduct closure, as future transportation projects will continue to put a strain on Seattle streets.
King County Metro is partnering with carpooling apps Scoop and Waze Carpool to provide incentives for commuters to get to work together. Riders on routes affected by the SR 99 closure will be eligible for discounted rides with the app. Drivers will receive incentives to ferry other riders. Metro launched the pilot program Monday and plans to continue it through the viaduct closure, with the possibility of an extension.
Many of the rides Metro offers through its vanpool and vanshare programs will also be free during the SR 99 closure.
Update: Uber is offering discounted rides to and from Light Rail stations and transit centers during the viaduct closure, as well as waived $1 fees to unlock JUMP bikes. Lyft is also offering discounts on shared rides to and from transit centers.
Update: Lyft is offering discounts of $2.75 on shared rides to transport hubs in Seattle to cover riders’ transit fare. The company is also rolling out a new “Nearby Transit” feature in its app that shows riders nearby public transportation options and schedules.
Seattle now has two bike-share services: Lime and Jump. Both have fleets of dockless bikes floating around Seattle available for rent. Seattle transportation officials are encouraging travelers to try commuting via bike during the closure period and long-term.
One of the earliest tech-enabled workplace innovations is also the best way to avoid the Seattle Squeeze headache. If your employer allows you to work from home during some or all of the three weeks before the new SR 99 tunnel opens, that’s your best bet. King County Metro offers free consultations for employers interested in learning more about telecommuting through its WorkSmart program.