Since the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, commuters have faced more traffic through South Lake Union, downtown and Pioneer Square.

Bus riders heading to and from West Seattle and Burien, in particular, complain about slow going on First Avenue South, where buses that used the viaduct are now routed.

Eventually, those buses will travel on waterfront Alaskan Way, but not until viaduct demolition is complete and all of Alaskan Way is reopened.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, Kemper Development Co., NHL Seattle, PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and Seattle Children’s hospital. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Kyle Petersmark, 31, said it recently took him an hour and a half to travel 6 miles by bus to his home in Highland Park. He works downtown at Amazon and usually takes the 120 or 125 bus route.

“The Pioneer Square reroute is awful,” Petersmark said.

Officials have encouraged commuters to try anything other than driving alone during the so-called Seattle Squeeze, when viaduct demolition, more buses on surface routes and numerous construction projects all combine to clog city streets. After a few “extreme commute times,” Petersmark said, he’s started driving again.

“We’re not doing anything to help transit users,” he said. “The plan has been to grin and bear it.”


In response to complaints, King County Metro conducted an experiment Thursday, timed with the first preseason Seattle Seahawks game, to reroute buses from First Avenue onto Fourth Avenue South.

With all the challenges facing commuters, we’d like to know about your experience riding the bus between downtown and West Seattle, Burien and other parts of the city. And if you rode the bus Thursday evening on the reroute to Fourth Avenue, how did it go?

Email Michelle Baruchman at to share your story, which we may use in an upcoming article. Please don’t forget to tell us what bus route you usually take and the time of day you usually ride.