You’ve probably been hearing lately about the huge growth Seattle has had in the past few years, including jobs and population. Now infrastructure growth is the next move and the Seattle Times’ Traffic Lab predicts the next three years are going to be cramped to say the least.
Traffic Lab says the years from 2018 to 2021 is being called the “period of maximum constraint” by transportation planners. It started New Year’s week when crews started tearing open three blocks of First Avenue South in Pioneer Square to relocate utilities for a future streetcar line. There is big change in the central neighborhoods too, with as many as 110 more buildings proposed in the near future, often closing lanes and sidewalks.
Within a block of Denny Way, 14 towers of 40 stories or higher are planned or currently being built. And the city has approved garages to accommodate 12,000 more cars in South Lake Union.
The Washington State Convention Center’s expansion will block road lanes during construction and close the Convention Place bus station. That will push hundreds of buses a day out of the transit tunnel and onto city streets. Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and the opening of the Highway 99 tunnel to replace it will force even more traffic into those streets.
Unfortunately, Sound Transit’s light rail tunnel to Northgate won’t be ready until 2021 to carry growing numbers of people unable to cross downtown by bus or car.
A map and descriptions of all projects, detours and chokepoints can be found at this link if you want to see what to expect the next time you’re in Seattle.