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Old 08-14-2015, 11:54 AM   #1
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Time of Day to drive through Seattle with minimal traffic???

We are new Class A motorhome owners. In our Class B we tried to pick low traffic times like mid-morning or mid-afternoon to navigate Seattle. We would stop at Millersylvania State Park south of Olympia and spend the night so we could gauge the right time to head north. Now with our bigger rig we are looking for the best possible time to avoid heavily congested traffic.

Is there anytime of the day were the traffic through Seattle would be a minimal? Like before or after commute times or on weekends mornings? We are headed to Anacortes, WA.


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Old 08-14-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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2 am to 5 am are usually slack times in traffic.


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Old 08-14-2015, 12:36 PM   #3
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Seattle is a sprawling area with many routing options, and predicting traffic through it is touch and go. There is a way to use past statistics as a predictor, though.

Let me google that for you
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:51 PM   #4
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From mid-morning to mid-afternoon has worked best for me, just as you did w/your Class B, but I have done it during rush hour too.
Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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mid morning to early afternoon are sunday am seem to work for me as long as the seahawks are not playing
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:35 PM   #6
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I think mid morning ( 10:00) to mid afternoon (3:00) is probably your best bet.
Over time, while traveling I've found that to be typical for most large citys traffic flow. Living on Whidbey Island, my wife and i are in Seattle often for runs to
Sea-Tac airport as well as shopping at asian markets as far south as Tacoma, as well as spots like Uwajimya in downtown Seattle and other places such as Ranch 99 or H-mart in Lynwood. From time to time we've driven our 24 foot
WBO Trend on extended shopping trip for the heck of it, with no issues.
Keep in mind depending on the time of day, the reversable lanes are open to aid the flow of traffic. So if your going straight thru north bound try the reversable lanes in mid afternoon which will be open north bound. If your headed south bound from around six AM till noon or so their open to the south. This will get you through a lot of traffic in your class A. If you do get stuck in traffic on I-5 however, as long as there are no accidents to impeed your progress, and you're in a big ole motohome, I'd advise another cup 'o coffee and a little patience. You'll soon be "good to go." :-)
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
2 am to 5 am are usually slack times in traffic.
I was going to say 3AM.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by beaverfever View Post
mid morning to early afternoon are sunday am seem to work for me as long as the seahawks are not playing
+1 for sunday. Flew thru when returning from Arizona this winter. Football season was over.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:37 PM   #9
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There are lots of potential "jam-ups" on I-5. A couple of years ago, I went to our annual Boeing Retirees luncheon, which is held at a golf club west of Boeing Field, on a Saturday. I set off back to Anacortes at about 14:30 and had no problems through Seattle and Everett.

What I'd overlooked was that the weekend was the last one of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The last 4 miles of I-5 approaching Mount Vernon took 2 hours!! The last couple of years, I've taken the ferry from Mukilteo and driven north on Whidbey Island.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:47 PM   #10
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We have just left Seattle after two months and as far as I can tell rush hour there runs from 7am to 7pm. Even on the weekends there was pretty heavy traffic. Seattle had the consistently worst traffic of any city I've been to.
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:10 PM   #11
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Mid day,10-2 is the best bet. Some of the worst traffic on I 5 is Sunday afternoon/early evening going north.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:21 PM   #12
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If traffic reports indicate problems in Seattle, consider taking 512 from the south Tacoma area to Rt 167, 167 to 405 at Renton and 405 to the Lynwood area to rejoin I-5 and avoid Seattle completely. It is a little longer but it is about the only alternate route north.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:47 PM   #13
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If you'd like to monitor it yourself to get an idea, you can always use the WSDOT traffic maps online to see the pattern at different times of the day.

WSDOT - Seattle Washington Cameras

Right now as I post this, the Seahawks are playing a pre-season game in town so there is hardly any traffic at all ...very unusual to see all "green" roadways as even at 8:00 or 9:00 pm there usually will be areas of "black" on some of the freeways but everybody is either at the game or at home watching the game on TV.

They also have maps of the Olympia/Tacoma corridor. As you know, the entire corridor from Olympia to Marysville is extremely congested.
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:51 PM   #14
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