With unprecedented crowds expected to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, local transportation and transit agencies are advising the traveling public to expect significant delays in and around downtown Seattle on Feb. 5. The Seattle Department of Transportation, King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit and Community Transit urge Seahawks fans to enjoy the event but to pack some patience and plan ahead for delays.
With an expected turnout of up to 500,000 spectators, the parade will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude with a rally at CenturyLink Field at 1:30 p.m. Travelers should expect roadway and transit delays throughout the day due to crowds and road closures, with spectators likely arriving well in advance of the event. Given the celebration’s unprecedented size, drivers and transit riders should anticipate heavy traffic congestion in downtown, Lake Union, Queen Anne, the stadium area and nearby highways. Metro and Sound Transit plan to use every available resource to accommodate what will likely be the largest parade in the city’s history.
The parade begins at Fourth Avenue and Denny Way, and heads south on Fourth Avenue to South Washington Street. From there it will proceed west to Second Avenue South, turn south on Second and then move into the North Lot at CenturyLink Field. Fourth Avenue and all cross streets from Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue will be closed to traffic starting at 10:30 a.m. and reopen after the parade passes, and Occidental Avenue will be closed at 8:30 a.m. “No parking” signs for the event are in place and prohibit parking along the route from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesday. More than 75,000 fans are expected to attend a ticketed rally in the stadium area after the parade, so sizable crowds and area delays will continue well after the parade concludes. Fans are encouraged to dress warmly and be prepared for delays.
Buses and trains are expected to be extremely crowded. Riders may encounter significant wait times and service delays. Some buses will be rerouted in Downtown Seattle. Riders should sign up to receive rider alert messages via e-mails or text message for their specific bus route or train.
General tips for transit users include:
- Come downtown early to better avoid the worst traffic and full buses.
- Dress for both cold temperatures and packed buses.
- Be prepared for lengthy travel times.
- Have transit fare or an ORCA card ready.
- Parking at most park-and-ride lots and all Sounder stations often fills early, and demand will be high. Riders who can’t arrive early are encouraged to get dropped off.
- Bus service information accessed through the trip planners on transit agency websites and the One Bus Away service may not be accurate when road closures, re-routes and unusually high congestion levels are in effect. Riders should refer to rider alerts for the specific bus routes they are using.
- Expect transit delays to continue as long as celebrating fans are downtown, likely into the afternoon commute.
- Riders are reminded that if they see something say something, Report any suspicious activity to a bus driver or call 911.
Sounder commuter rail, with service to the north end of CenturyLink field, will be an attractive option for many fans attending the parade. Northline trains serve Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett. Four morning trips will depart Everett for Seattle at 5:45 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 6:45 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. Return trains in the afternoon will depart King Street Station at 4:05 p.m., 4:33 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. The 7:15 a.m. and 4:04 p.m. north line departures will operate longer, five-car trains to accommodate larger than normal crowds. The 6:45 a.m. and 4:33 p.m. departures will run three-car trains.
Link light rail serves stops close to the stadiums and the parade route and will operate with service expanded to peak-hour levels throughout the morning and afternoon on Wednesday. Trains will leave stations approximately every 7.5 minutes. More information on Link is available at www.soundtransit.org. Link riders will have a new discounted parking option at Sea-Tac Airport where they park for $2 an hour all day and ride light rail downtown.
ST Express regional bus service will experience high rider demand, and some service will be rerouted.
- ST Express Route 512: Northbound trips to Snohomish County will not serve 4th Avenue or Olive Way. Instead, board buses westbound on Stewart Street or southbound on 5th Avenue.
- ST Express 522: Buses into downtown Seattle will drop off passengers along 5th Avenue with the first stop at Seneca Street. To board buses to Woodinville, take any bus or train southbound in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Stadium Station and board the bus at South Royal Brougham Way, or take any bus or train northbound in the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Westlake Station and board the bus on a temporary stop on Pike St just east of 6th Avenue.
- ST Express 545: Buses into downtown Seattle will operate their regular route. To board buses to Redmond, take any bus or train southbound in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Stadium Station and board the bus at S Royal Brougham Way, or take any bus northbound in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Convention Place Station and board the bus on Olive Way at 8th Avenue or Terry Avenue.
- ST Express routes 554, 577, 578, 590, 594: These buses will not serve downtown during parade hours. All passengers will get off at Royal Brougham and transfer to Link light rail or King County Metro routes 101, 106 or 150. To depart downtown Seattle, board any bus or train southbound in the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Stadium Station and board the bus on SODO Busway at South Royal Brougham Way.
Sounder and Link light rail tickets must be purchased before boarding trains and must be presented to fare enforcement officers upon request. Ticket vending machines are available at all stations before entering the platform area. Buying an ORCA card in advance will avoid lines at vending machines. Find ORCA information at www.orcacard.com.
Snohomish County fans who want to leave early and avoid the crowds can take advantage of any of 13 Community Transit routes from all over the county. Buses run to Seattle between 5 – 8:30 a.m., depending on the route. Fans can get home on those same routes between 2:30-6 p.m. Schedules and fares are available at www.communitytransit.org. If you’ve always wanted to ride a double decker bus, this is a great opportunity. Go to www.communitytransit.org/doubletall to see which routes feature the Double Tall bus.