Ready or not, it’s time to get ready for the SR 99 closure
Explore your travel options
There’s no way around it—getting around Seattle is going to be tricky during the SR 99 closure. Expect traffic delays and be prepared for full buses during peak travel times. Check out the travel options below that can help you get around in anticipation of the new SR 99 tunnel opening.
Work from home—the only way to commute in your slippers
If possible, working from home, (or teleworking when you can) is the best (and comfiest) option during the SR 99 closure. You'll save time and stress while helping reduce the number of people sitting in traffic. Work with your employer in advance to see if working from home during the closure is an option.
If you need to come into work, consider arranging a partial-day schedule that avoids peak travel times—usually 6 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM. Try to only go into the office on the days you need to if that's an option for your workplace.
Are you an employer interested in learning more about ways to incorporate teleworking into your existing commuter program or even doing a test of a program during the closure? Contact us about our WorkSmart program—a free consultation service from King County Metro.
Bus, light rail, Sounder train—getting there together
Shift your travel times
Expect buses, trains and light rail to be more crowded than usual during the closure, especially from 6 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM. If you need to travel in or near Seattle, consider shifting your travel times.
Avoiding peak times will make for a more comfortable (and quicker) riding experience while freeing up space for others who can't shift their schedule. It's also a great excuse to grab a bite after work at that spot you've been meaning to try…
In addition, anticipate longer travel times and unpredictable traffic delays. If you need to travel in or near Seattle, consider shifting your travel times. Riding an earlier or later bus can make a difference in the amount of time you spend on transit and making it to your destination. Peak travel times are usually 6 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM, but are expected to begin earlier and end later after the closure. Also, there may be people who are unable to adjust their travel times, so traveling off peak will free up a space for someone else who really needs it. And hey, if you need to stay later before heading home, consider grabbing a bite to eat before you hop on the bus, and wait for traffic volumes to die down.
Heading in from the South End?
With especially heavy traffic into downtown during the closure, it might be time to try the light rail or the train.
Link light rail starts at Angle Lake and travels through SeaTac, Tukwila, the Rainier Valley and SODO into downtown and on to the University of Washington, with stops along the way.
The Sounder train starts in Lakewood and makes stops in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle.
Bus service is still an option, but will be facing heavy traffic and extra crowding during peak travel times.
No matter what commute option you choose, keep a backup or two in mind so you can adapt to day-to-day changes.
Coming in from the North End?
Accessing downtown Seattle from the north during the closure will be difficult, especially on SR 99. If you're looking for a sure way to dodge traffic, it might be time to try the train or light rail.
If you are traveling from farther north, try the Sounder train. It runs from Everett to Seattle with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds. There are four trips into town in the morning and four back north in the evening.
Link light rail runs from the University District through Capitol Hill and to downtown.
Bus service is available, but traffic will affect travel times and passenger capacity. If possible, plan a few backup routes and travel options in advance so you can adapt to day-to-day changes.
Getting to transit centers, rail stations and park & ride lots
Parking at many park & ride lots, light rail and Sounder train stations fills up early, so you might want to:
- Check out bus routes to get to the station.
- Have someone drop you off and avoid parking altogether.
- Ride your bike—all stations have bike racks and many have lockers. To learn more about bike parking, visit www.soundtransit.org/bicycles and check out our bike section below then click on Bicycle Parking List. (See more great info in our bike section too!)
- Use a carshare service. Remember to download the apps for taxis, Uber, Lyft and other services and set up your accounts in advance so you're ready to go.
Metro park & ride lots
Metro provides service to more than 130 park & ride lots throughout King County where you can, leave your car and hop on a bus. Some lots allow you to reserve a parking spot in advance. Click here to make a reservation. You can also find a full list of park & ride lots here.
In addition to park & ride locations, the following Transit Centers have parking capacity and are served by the downtown Seattle-bound routes listed below.
- Burien Transit Center - Routes 120, 121, 122 & 123
- Redondo Heights - Route 190
- Star Lake Park & Ride - Routes 190 & 192
There is also capacity at the Burien Church of God and the Normandy Park Congregational Church, both of which are served by Seattle bound Route 131 at the Burien Transit Center.
Many park & ride lots fill up early, but some parking spaces are reserved for carpoolers until 8:30 AM. Learn more and apply for a Metro Carpool Parking Permit or a Sound Transit Carpool Parking Permit.
Go with an ORCA card!
The easiest and fastest way to pay your transit fares is with an ORCA card. If you transfer between systems within two hours, you receive a transfer credit for what you already paid. Get an ORCA card today at www.orcacard.com.
Plan your trip
For information about Link light rail and the Sounder commuter train visit www.soundtransit.org
To plan a trip by bus, light rail or train, use one of our trip planning tools or call us at (206) 553-3000 for help with your transit options.
- Try out our Trip Planner tool, available on desktop and mobile devices. Or download the app for iPhone and Android here.
- Download transit tickets whenever you need them with Mobile app available for iPhones and Android: www.kingcounty.gov/tripplanner-app
- Metro's Transit GO Ticket app. –Download the app today and have it ready when you need it!
Try Metro's new text for departures tool – just text your stop ID to 62550 to find out when your service is scheduled or predicted at that stop. No subscriptions or downloads are needed.
Water taxi—sailing past traffic
The Water Taxi just might be your ticket to downtown—offering a 10-minute ride from Seacrest Park to downtown and a traffic-free 22-minute ride from Vashon Island.
The Water Taxi will add a second vessel on the West Seattle route during the SR 99 closure during weekday commute times to significantly increase capacity.
- Vessels on the West Seattle route will depart every twenty minutes during commute periods.
- Water Taxi DART shuttles will operate expanded service during the SR 99 closure on the #773 West Seattle Junction and #775 Alki Beach routes.
- Pick-up and drop-off points at Seacrest Park will be available, as well as extra parking near Seacrest Park at SW Bronson Way and Pier 2, utilizing connector shuttles to Seacrest for West Seattle riders.
- Bike to the dock and either lock up at a rack or bring your bike aboard (Water Taxis have racks for bikes). Don't own a bike? Check back on this page for information about bike share discounts during the SR 99 closure as they become available.
- Bike share makes connecting to the water taxi easy, even if you don't own a bike. Check back on this page for information about bike share discounts during the viaduct closure.
- Pay with an ORCA card to save money and speed up the boarding process. Other forms of payment include mobile tickets (try Transit Go Tickets app), credit card purchases at our terminal ticket machines and exact cash fare collected onboard.
- More parking will be available near Seacrest Park at SW Bronson Way and Pier 2, utilizing connector shuttles to Seacrest for West Seattle riders.
- Dedicated Metro vanshare parking will be available at Don Armeni Park.
Bike or walk—good for you, good for traffic
When traffic is slow, it's hard to beat biking or walking. Traveling on your own power builds exercise into your day and can clear your head for a fresh start or end to your work time. Here are some tips:
Try biking for all or part of your commute. If biking the whole trip isn't right for you, try riding to your bus, train or water taxi – you can learn how to load your bike onto transit here. Then park your bike for the day at a rack or locker, or bring it aboard to complete your trip at the other end. Check out our bike maps and resources to get started or set your favorite mapping app to the bike layer (see the drop down menu for 3rd party apps).
Many buildings have secure indoor bike parking, showers and clothes lockers. Ask your Employee Transportation Coordinator or building manager for more information.
On-street bike parking is available throughout downtown Seattle. Check out this commute portal map, click on the 'Public Bicycle Parking' tab then zoom in to your location.
Bikeshare is available throughout Seattle with rates starting at $1. Download a local bikeshare app, find an available bike on the map, unlock and off you go. Then lock it up.
Bike share is particularly great for connecting to or from a bus, train or water taxi. Check back for more information about bike share discounts during the SR 99 closure.
Sometimes even walking is faster than sitting in traffic. Try getting on or off your bus at the edges of downtown to get around places where traffic is slower than usual. Getting on your feet might be just what you need to get out of a traffic jam!
Driving—it won't be easy, but it will be possible
If you do have to drive, consider carpooling and be sure to account for heavy traffic. Register on RideshareOnline.com and find carpool partners. If that isn't going to work for you, consider leaving much earlier or later to avoid the rush. Peak travel times are usually 6 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM, but are expected to begin earlier and end later than typical rush hours during the closure.
I-5 Express Lanes
WSDOT uses Express Lanes to assist the flow of traffic during busy travel times. Contrary to common belief, the I-5 Express Lanes, and some on- and off- ramps between Northgate and downtown Seattle, can be used by single occupant vehicles.