Your Commute

Washington state DOT

If you tried to make it into downtown Seattle during rush hour this morning, you have our sympathy. Just before 6 a.m., a metal plate popped out of an expansion joint along southbound I-5 just south of I-90. Three lanes of the freeway were closed and the resulting backup, at its peak, stretched more than 11 miles. 

clappstar / Flickr

Five years ago, Seattle adopted a Bicycle Master Plan. It aims to triple the amount of bicycling in Seattle by the year 2017. But until just a few months ago, there was no way to accurately count cyclists. That’s changing.

Washington State has the highest rate of seat belt use in the nation. That’s according to a report recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bob Calkins with the Washington State Patrol keeps an eye on the statistics.

“The national average is 84 percent. We are first among competing states at 97 and a half percent,” he says.

Following Washington are California, Oregon and Hawaii.

WSDOT photo

Today is the first big day for car commuters since automatic tolling went live on the 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

It’s viewed as the start of the first really meaningful data-set for people who crunch numbers behind the scenes of the State Department of Transportation.

So far, the commute has pushed traffic to the south, with the I-90 bridge seeing more congestion … and more room created on 520, where drivers now have to pay to cross.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Tolling on the 520 Bridge will start at 5 am on December 29th.

That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, after multiple glitches that have delayed the system till now.

Courtesy of Ford

Seattle's Century Link Field is again the location for the unveiling of a new all-electric car. 

The Nissan Leaf debuted here nearly a year ago. Tomorrow morning there will be a demonstration of the plug-in technology at the charging stations near the stadium – to mark the opening of order banks for owning the new Ford electric vehicle. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It’ll be the longest full closure of a Seattle area highway the region’s ever dealt with. In less than two weeks, demolition begins on the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Several miles of State Route 99 will be closed for nine days starting Oct 21st. 

The state says all commuters will be affected – but none more than those near West Seattle.

King County Metro

More people who work in downtown Seattle are riding mass transit than driving to the office. That’s according to a survey just released by Commute Seattle, a non-profit that tries to reduce the number of people who drive alone. 

Erin Hennessey / KPLU News

With frigid temperatures and up to six inches of snow bearing down on the Puget Sound region, transit agencies are getting ready.

The latest forecast says the snow is likely to arrive a little later than previously thought. That means evening commuters may escape the brunt of the blast.

Tom Pearce -- with Snohomish Community Transit -- says its buses are operating on regular routes, for now …

Justin Steyer/KPLU

Temperatures plummeted quickly Monday evening, freezing wet roads already dusted with snow. It's added up to a nightmare commute for many trying to get home.

Twitpic/@ksymer

Monday's snow is wreaking havoc in Pierce County. The conditions have clogged roads with multiple accidents and spinouts, leaving some commuters stranded and affecting public transit operations.

Justin Steyer/KPLU

The people who get paid to worry about our public roads want you to delay any travel plans for a day or two. State transportation officials are asking drivers to stay off the roads today as a cold and snow system pushes through western Washington today.

KingCounty.gov

Metro buses will be running on snow routes Monday. It's a precautionary measure due to the threat of snow. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory, warning of possible snow accumulations during the day on Monday of one to three inches from southwest Washington northward, perhaps as far as Seattle and Everett.