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      11-16-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
Lotus99
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Tips for driving thru Seattle on a late afternoon...

Hey all, this past weekend we went down to the Great Wolf Lodge, an hour south of Seattle, with the kids, and had a blast. I thought Monday was a holiday for you folks as well, but we ran into a ton of traffic around Seattle and north up to Everett.

On Monday coming back home (Vancouver, BC) around 4 PM, the traffic was a total mess... I took the Express lanes on the left side at first, though at times it seemed like the regular lanes (before splitting off) were actually going faster?! Are they generally the best way to go?

And then I stayed in the HOV lane up to Everett, but the GPS was telling me it's faster to get off I-5, and take some road to the west of Everett, all the way north of it, than back onto I-5. I think it was the 525 at first. I ignored it, thinking it can't be faster to go thru the town or is it?

Any tips for next time? Are Sundays that bad too normally?

Thanks for any help from the locals!
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      11-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #2
.Lindsay.
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It usually depends on the time of day. But then again there can be a ton of traffic at really odd/random hours also. It sounds like you got stuck in the rush-hour traffic though unfortunately. That can be a bitch. Express lanes can be hit or miss. If there is an accident on the main lanes, then yeah, Express is the way to go. But then again sometimes there can be accidents in the express lanes, so then you're screwed. Generally though, i'd probably stick to the express lanes.

The best times to travel are late at night, or sometimes the late morning hours can be good too (10-11am). Traffic around Everett is almost always bad due to Boeing, so i havent found any tricks for traveling through Everett, and i've been driving back and forth between Seattle area and Bellingham for the past 8 years now.

As for any tips, just try to avoid traveling to or around Seattle on game days, or between the hours of 7am-9am and 4-7pm Monday through friday
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      11-16-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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Thanks, so generally, weekend afternoons (like Sundays) should be ok on the I-5?

Would you still use Express lanes around Seattle too or it's faster on regular lanes where you have a few at least to weave in and out of, if someone is taking their sweet time in the left lane?

IIRC though, there are two express lanes most of the way, which is good. The one thing I hate about an HOV lane is you get stuck behind someone wanting to do the speed limit the whole way...
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      11-17-2012, 04:14 PM   #4
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Express lanes are faster 95% of the time but depending on how you use them, they might not be a lot faster. When heading northbound and exiting to Express on the left, you either have to sit in line or if you're moderately aggressive, go around the pack and it's not that difficult to squeeze in a few hundred meters before the exit.

For alternate routes through Everett, I would not venture off I-5, especially if you have HOV access. As far as sunday traffic, it's always hit or miss. Some sunday afternoons are busy, some are not. Seattle traffic can really be frustrating and it's only getting worse so enjoy that nice bimmer for its luxury commuting abilities.
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      11-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #5
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Thanks, much appreciated. Drove thru with our 5 wagon, it was awesome. Loaded it up with 4 summer tires too on the way back, plus the roof box on the top! Yep, I love the car.
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      11-19-2012, 01:09 AM   #6
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Sunday traffic from down south heading north can be bad with folk coming home from Portland. Getting north out of Seattle Sunday is usually not a bad deal. Going north or south from Seattle during typical rush hour periods M-F sux. No way around it. Take the HOV lane and try to figure out why idiots choose to go 35 mph along side slower vehicles?????
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      12-06-2012, 07:15 PM   #7
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There is no way around Seattle traffic... I live in Lake Stevens (NE of Everett) and work at Boeing Field South of Seattle. The only way around Seattle traffic is to buy a Helicopter... You can thank Seattle's finest Civil Engineers for that.
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