Thursday, May 14, 2020

No Memorial Day weekend travel charts this year as part of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus

By Barbara LaBoe

Memorial Day is usually signified by warmer temperatures, the end of school and, for us here at WSDOT, the holiday weekend travel charts.

We know these travel charts are quite popular and are a staple of planning for the long weekend for many travelers. So we wanted to let you know now that we won’t have charts for this Memorial Day weekend.

Why? As with much this year, the COVID-19 pandemic is altering our regular routines.
Our highway sign messages are reminding travelers about the Stay Home order and how it still applies to discretionary travel – even on holiday weekends.
Nothing is normal this year, including traffic. We’ve tracked an overall decrease in traffic during the pandemic, but adding that into historical data holiday travel is still a bit tricky at this point. In addition, vacation and discretionary travel are still not permitted under the state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, so there shouldn’t be the traditional glut of holiday weekend travel to navigate.

Yes, there still will be some essential travel on our roads during the holiday weekend. But without the traditional holiday congestion, those essential travelers shouldn’t need the charts to find off-peak travel times.

The Memorial Day weekend can still signal the unofficial start to summer, of course, but this year it will do so without traditional road trips. And no matter how you spend your Memorial Day weekend this year, please remember to follow posted speed limits when you do need to travel. We want everyone to have a safe holiday weekend.