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Traffic crowds Interstate 5 through downtown Seattle on Monday, January 14, 2018, on the first commuting day after the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 
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Traffic crowds Interstate 5 through downtown Seattle on Monday, January 14, 2018, on the first commuting day after the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Credit: KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

People show up early for rail, buses on first day of Viadoom

The first commute of Seattle's post-Viaduct world is under way.

At the Angle Lake station at 5 a.m. Monday, there was already a crowd waiting for the light rail toward Seattle.

There were first-time train riders, along with people who had taken a practice run last week. The first two levels of the parking garage were also already full. Most people were there about 45 minutes earlier than on a typical workday.

At the Mount Baker transit center, the northbound No. 106 bus arrived packed – standing room only. The bus driver said he had never seen a line at that stop.

Still, some riders said the wait times were about average – though they left an hour earlier than they usually do.

On the other end of things, bus ridership from North Seattle into town looked heavy – standing on the E line at 5 a.m.

But reporter Carolyn Adolph took a bus down Aurora Avenue toward downtown and said traffic was very light.

Some people also turned to bicycles to try to avoid commuting problems.

Kimberly Kinchen organized the Southeast Seattle Bike Train to help people find safe routes into the city. Monday’s ride started in Southeast Seattle and went over Beacon Hill.

“I know a lot of people in New York where I used to live who started riding after Sandy, the hurricane, when a lot of the subway trains were disrupted,” she said.

Kinchen says the city missed an opportunity to help people bike in from the south – maybe by setting up cones along routes to separate bikes from cars.

People were also headed for the water taxi from West Seattle to downtown. Deckhand Ashley Meyer noted the size of the crowds early Monday.

"They definitely are bigger than usual for this time of day," she said.

KUOW editor Jim Gates was one of the passengers headed across Elliott Bay.


We'll be following the rest of the morning commute as Seattle comes to grips with the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Want to know how your bus might be affected?


This story was reported by Angela King, Casey Martin, Jim Gates, Carolyn Adolph and Joshua McNichols.