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Moving from SoCal -- traffic insights in seattle

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by demundus, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. demundus

    demundus Member

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    Hi all,

    Potentially moving to Seattle for work soon. I hear traffic is super bad from everyone I talk to, but no one has insights on EV ownership in that regard. If I'm working in bellvue, how bad will my life be living on Bainbridge, or any of the properties west of the sound. What about east towards the mountains?

    Basically NOT living in seattle/redmond/bellevue, but commuting in from either due west or due east.
     
  2. Foxhound199

    Foxhound199 Member

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    Bainbridge to Bellevue does not sound like my idea of a fun commute. Don't think I would ever commute by ferry if I wasn't able to do so as a walk-on, but that's just my two cents and perhaps there are those out there who like driving in ferry lines every day. You'd be better off somewhere like Issaquah or Sammamish, or even North Bend. As for traffic, it sucks, but I'd take our traffic over SoCal any day.
     
  3. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

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    If you can live in issaquah or sammamish you will be okay. There will still be backups but they are close enough to Bellevue that it is tolerable.

    Bainbridge to Bellevue would not be fun.
     
  4. Sea3Ram

    Sea3Ram New Member

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    I moved from SoCal to Seattle 2 years ago and don't regret it. I miss LA, but don't miss the traffic at all. Seattle DT traffic sucks big time though.

    Why do you not want to live in seattle/redmond/bellevue? or even Kirkland or Issaquah?
     
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  5. Kuhz

    Kuhz Member

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    Commuting between Bainbridge Island and Bellevue will take hours. Seattle has its share of traffic but at least it’s a predictable ~6 AM - 10 AM and then ~3PM - 7 PM Unlike South California where in traffic from 5 AM to 10 PM
     
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  6. RobertSeattle

    RobertSeattle Member

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    Park the Tesla weekdays and drive in on the weekends. I take my swank Metro 255 Articulated Bus from Kirkland to downtown Seattle each day and I don't miss driving during rush one bit.
     
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  7. PLUS EV

    PLUS EV Running on Empty

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    You forgot to mention the construction zones from 10pm-5am!
     
  8. RichieM

    RichieM Member

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    Reservations are available for each ferry sailing if that helps
     
  9. Kuhz

    Kuhz Member

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    Ah those usually don’t cause too much trouble
     
  10. PLUS EV

    PLUS EV Running on Empty

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    YMMV!
     
  11. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    I grew up in Los Angeles and then lived in the Seattle area for 16 years from 1987 to 2003. I was living in Kent south of Lake Washington. My SO was working on the west hill in Kent and my house was on the east hill. Coming home for her was about 10 miles and took her 45-60 minutes. It finally got to her and she wanted to go back to the Portland area (where she grew up).

    I worked several years in the Redmond area and had to commute I-405. It was gruesome in the 90s. One time I worked with someone who lived on Bainbridge. She had to leave home about 5AM to get to work by 8. Another place I worked a couple (both worked in the same office with me) lived up near the top of Snoqualimie Pass and commuted to near Boeing Field. Where they lived was gorgeous, but they had to leave the house at 5 AM to get to work in less than an hour.

    Living in one of the communities on I-90 (Issaquah, North Bend, etc.) and working in the Bellevue area isn't too bad a commute and there are many back road options to get there. One of the problems with the Puget Sound region is there are a number of traffic bottlenecks where there is no option except to take the overcrowded freeway. I ran into that commuting from Kent to Redmond.

    Portland's traffic has gotten worse since we moved here in 2003, but they did a much better job planning the transportation network. There are a couple of bad bottlenecks around the area, but one of the worst is an out of date bridge between Washington and Oregon. Replacing the bridge requires buy in from both states, Portland and Vancouver, WA. The Vancouver city council has been the one preventing the project from moving forward.

    If I had to move back to the Seattle area I would be looking for housing as close to work as possible.
     
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  12. N8DGR8

    N8DGR8 Member

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    You can't reserve the Bainbridge ferry.

    My wife does the Mercer Island to NW Bellevue commute every day in the Tesla. Dowtown Bellevue can take 20 minutes just to get out of Bellevue. I would live in Bellevue and bike or walk. Bellevue has many nice neighborhoods.

    I know people who love to ski and live on Snoqualmie pass because it is actually cheaper.
     
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  13. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    If I did have to live in a big city with bad traffic like that, I would probably be inclined to not want to do that drive myself, but use a train/bus route, so someone else has to deal with it. I might be looking at where to live by what has a pretty good, not too long route to Bellvue by transit. I was in Auburn a few weeks ago, and found that there was a one-shot bus route all the way up into downtown Seattle from the Auburn Transit Center. It was really convenient, and I always just use buses when I'm around Seattle and Portland to not even have to deal with parking either. I'd probably scope out some routes to Bellvue. But I know--a lot of people don't like riding buses.
     
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  14. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    I worked for King County Metro for a bit in the 90s. The transit system is optimized to get people into Seattle in the morning and out in the afternoon. Transit between suburbs, which is the more common commute is virtually impossible. I've read criticisms of the transport network in Seattle that pointed out commute planners in the region still think that people live in the suburbs and work in Seattle, which was the norm in the 60s, but since the 90s it's been trendy for people to live in Seattle and work in a suburb or for people to live in one suburb and commute to the another. The public transport system doesn't support that at all and the freeway system barely supports it.

    There was a bus that picked up a block from my house. It only ran into Seattle in the mornings and from Seattle to my neighborhood in the late afternoon and early evening. I mapped out how to get from my neighborhood to Redmond. It took 1/2 hour if I left before peak rush hour (5:30AM), 1 1/2 hours at peak rush hour, and about 3 hours by bus. I gave up mapping out how to go by bus after the third transfer.

    At rush hour the people riding the buses are middle class workers, but at off peak hours the people on the buses are some pretty nutty characters. I had a bus pass as a perk when working for King County Metro. I quit riding the bus after a few weeks when a drunk guy urinated in the back of the bus and it was running down the aisle.
     
  15. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    #15 whitex, Jul 27, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
    Moved here from Bay Area, CA over a decade ago, but still travel there few days at a time. Biggest driving differences that hit me when I got here were:
    1. Road surfaces in the NW suck. I have no clue why, given that winters are not that harsh here (no deep freezes like east coast) but I remember shortly after moving here, pulling over in my 911 thinking I had a tire blowout because driving on i405 felt exactly the same as what I experienced in that same car in CA when I blew a tire (who knew you can wear all the way through a brand new Porsche tires in less than 10K miles :oops:)
    2. People drive slower in WA than in CA (when there is no traffic that is), and they don't move over to let you pass - left lane, doing 5 under speed limit they think they own the lane.
    I got used to it, but recently did a round trip to the east coast and back in a Model S, and I have to tell you, you can tell WA road surfaces as soon as you cross the state border. WTF? I still don't get it - worst surfaces of all states I drive through on my trip, and so noticeable too (my Model S has 19" tires, so not like the 911 skinny tires, yet still I felt it as soon as drove into WA on i90).
     
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  16. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    Different states have different standards for road maintenance. When I was in Milwaukee, WI for a summer you could tell when you crossed the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. Illinois' roads were smooth as glass and Wisconsin's were terrible.

    I have a two axis rating systems for drivers in various areas I've been in. One axis is Aggressive vs Passive and the other Pros vs Amateurs. Most of California have Aggressive Pros on the freeways. Most people know what they're doing, but they drive fast and cut margins tight. Seattle has Passive Amateurs. I think some of it has to do with the fact that in the Seattle area there are places you can't get to without getting on a freeway whereas in most California cities if you want to get somewhere and you're afraid of the freeways, there is always an alternate surface route so the nervous nellies are not on the freeways. Seattle also has a lot of freeways that are only two usable lanes in each direction and people end up camping in the left lane because they don't want to mess with cars coming onto the freeway. In many cases these left lane campers are also the nervous nellies who are there because they are afraid of both merging traffic and driving fast.

    Milwaukee has the worst of both worlds, there they have a lot of Aggressive Amateurs and I saw some insane stunts on the road. One favorite thing people do on surface streets is pass people in the right turn only lane at traffic lights.
     
  17. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    I took i90 end-to-end there and back so drive through WI twice - still not as bad as WA, IMO at least.
     
  18. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    I was in Wisconsin in the mid-90s. Back then WI's roads were worse than WA's, but that was more than 20 years ago.
     
  19. PLUS EV

    PLUS EV Running on Empty

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    I've driven extensively in every state and province and I have to disagree with you on the road surface thing. I'm not saying WA road surfaces are GREAT, but they seem fairly average to me. Try driving in Wyoming or rural Ontario or really any place that gets a lot of snow and ice. Granted they have somewhat of an excuse with the weather. As far as cities go, LA and NYC are worse than anything you'd see in WA.
     
  20. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    #20 whitex, Jul 27, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
    I'm paying >$2K per year for tabs for our 2 Teslas, I wish they'd use it for road maintenance. Instead, they are promising some new public transport in 20 years, at which point I will expect the people in movement to say "we don't know where the money went, ask the guys who were there 20 years ago, they are now retired or dead".

    EDIT> If moving to RTA region, your yearly tabs for a Tesla will likely go up significantly as compared to other places.
     

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