|This stretch of SR 99
looks clear in this picture|
but will be extra busy starting Jan. 18,
so start planning now.
Have you found yourself stressing out about the upcoming SR 99/Aurora Avenue lane closures? From one daily Aurora commuter and transit rider to another, I get you. Four to five weeks of mile-long lane closures south of the Aurora Bridge is going to be a challenge. Which is why we’re asking for help and patience from Aurora travelers.
Roughly 74,000 vehicles per day use this stretch of SR 99 between the Aurora Bridge and the Battery Street Tunnel. That’s like the entire populations of Lynnwood and Edmonds driving to or from downtown Seattle on this section of Aurora every day. During the first phase of lane closures, we’re opening the southbound bus-only lane to all drivers in an effort to balance the needs of cars, trucks and buses; however, we still expect some hefty backups in what is an already congested area.
Because of these expected travel challenges and because there are only so many alternate roads leading into and out of the city, we’re encouraging drivers to plan ahead, allow plenty of extra travel time, and if at all possible, get creative with your commute. Here are some tools to get you started:
- If you ride the bus, plan ahead and expect a full bus during peak commute times.
- Get friendly with your neighbors and set up a neighborhood carpool, or share a ride with others in a carpool or vanpool.
- If you have the flexibility, consider logging into work from home or adjusting your work hours to avoid peak commute travel times in the morning and afternoon (generally from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.).
- Join the crowds of daily bicycle commuters and try riding a bike to work a few times a week.
- Skip the gym and still stick to that resolution by walking or jogging to work.
For me, I’m planning to ride my bike to and from work downtown at least three times per week. Hopping on my bike during the dreariest Seattle months is going to be tough, and isn’t for everybody, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
There are many great commuting resources out there, and a lot of creative, resourceful folks living amongst us. For every commuter that’s able to head out an hour earlier each morning or hop on their bike, there’s an extra space available on the road or on the bus.
Thanks in advance for your patience during this work, and for doing your part to help us minimize congestion.