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Up to 500,000 fans expected for Seahawks parade; transit officials offer traveling tips

With a crowd of up to 500,000 expected to cheer for the victorious Seattle Seahawks, local transportation and transit agencies are advising the traveling public to expect significant delays in and around downtown Seattle on Wednesday.

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, according to a joint release from the agencies that predicted a turnout of 500,000 people.

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 S Washington Street. From there it will proceed west to Second Avenue S, 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.

• Sign up for transit alerts on Metro's website.

• 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.

King County Metro Transit to add buses

Wednesday it will be all hands on deck for Metro. Extra buses will be added to key high ridership routes in and out of downtown Seattle. Metro also advises riders that the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be a better option than street service, especially when the parade is underway.

Most downtown Seattle transit service is expected to be delayed by heavy traffic before, during and after the parade. Even as buses are rerouted, drivers will make every effort to continue to keep transit service moving.

Metro buses that typically travel via or cross Fourth Avenue will be rerouted along with general traffic to nearby streets during the parade. Riders can see which routes are affected at Metro's website. Metro's alert page lists where buses will be rerouted and where temporary bus stops will be during the parade. Look for that information to be posted Tuesday afternoon. Metro's online Trip Planner indicates service that is rerouted as well as scheduled and predicted departure times. However, predicted times may be less accurate when buses are rerouted.

Metro is planning the following reroutes during the festivities:  Metro routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 36, 40, 43, 47, 49, 66, 70, 99, 124, 131, 132 & 358 and Metro-operated routes  ST 522, ST 545 & ST 554. Riders are advised to check Metro Online before departing to confirm reroutes.

Sound Transit to add one train

Sounder commuter rail, with service to the north end of CenturyLink field, will be an attractive option for many fans attending the parade. Southline trains offer congestion-free service to and from Lakewood, South Tacoma, Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent and Tukwila. Northline trains serve Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett.

Southline:  Sound Transit will operate one additional round trip leaving Tacoma at 9:30 a.m. and returning from Seattle at 2:30 p.m. (note that this special trip is not able to serve South Tacoma or Lakewood). This is in addition to the six trains that depart Lakewood beginning at 4:41 a.m. and two additional trains that depart Tacoma at 7:25 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. The added Seahawks train will depart King Street Station at 2:30 p.m., followed by regular service at 3:12 p.m., 3:42 p.m., 4:12 p.m., 4:32 p.m., 4:52 p.m., 5:12 p.m., 5:42 p.m., and 6:12 p.m.

Northline:  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., 5:35 p.m., and 6:50 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.

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