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More downtown Seattle traffic in 2018 could pay off in 2019

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/
Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Traffic engineers have lots of projects planned for downtown Seattle in 2018. In the short run, they could cause more congestion. But they say it'll be worth it in 2019, when even bigger projects are planned.

This year, workers will upgrade Third Avenue so commuters can board buses at all doors. They'll adjust signal timing on Second and Fourth Avenues to give buses a jump start on cars. They’ll convert Seattle’s isolated trolley lines into a real system by joining them with a new line along First Avenue past the Pike Place Market. And work on a protected bike lane for Seventh Avenue begins January 2.

Some of these projects could actually increase congestion through downtown this year. But here’s the good news: In the long run, they’re designed to help move more people through downtown by capitalizing on the growing popularity of transit in Seattle. And they’re intended to help us avoid an even bigger mess in 2019.

That’s when the convention center will expand. It's also when workers will tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct —  a 9 month project.

So a little longer commute now could save you time later.