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Study claims commute from I-5 to KeyArena during rush hour will take less than 10 minutes

Seattle drivers are doubting the numbers just released Draft Environmental Impact Statement on rebuilding KeyArena. (Photo: KOMO NewS)

SEATTLE - Less than 10 minutes. That's how long traffic engineers say it will take to drive from Interstate 5 to KeyArena during rush hour, before a potential hockey match.

But, many Seattle drivers are doubting the numbers just released in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on rebuilding KeyArena.

READ FULL STATEMENT: Part 1 click here

READ FULL STATEMENT: Part 2 click here

The 857 page report lists hundreds of assumptions about the project, it’s construction and impact on the city after the KeyArena renovations are done.

But, in the document created for Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections by Seattle based Environmental Science Associates, traffic engineers made predictions that regular drivers of the Mercer Mess don’t agree with.

The study was based on an estimated rush hour commute between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Heading westbound with a 7:00 p.m. event at the KeyArena:

  • Westbound on Mercer St. from I-5 off ramp to KeyArena driving 5 mph: 9 minutes
  • Westbound on Denny Way toward Seattle Center driving 5.5 mph: 8 minutes

Heading westbound without an event:

  • Westbound on Mercer St. from I-5 off ramp to KeyArena driving 10 mph: 5 minutes
  • Westbound on Denny Way toward Seattle Center driving 7 mph: 6 minutes

“Nothing on mercer takes nine minutes, from here to there and there to here,” said Jeff, a truck driver that hauls tons of rocks from a construction site, multiple times a day on Mercer.

“Hilarious,” said one driver, “ridiculous’ said another. “It’s not going to happen, this is like the worst road, it takes such a long time” added another driver.

“This Environmental Impact Statement looks at all of the significant impacts of a proposed arena without any solution or fixes of those impacts,” said Bryan Stevens of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections. “It’s looking at what are the impacts if we did nothing.”

Going eastbound is worse according to the study.

Heading eastbound with a 7:00 p.m. event at KeyArena:

  • Eastbound on Mercer St. towards I-5 at 2 mph: 27 minutes
  • Eastbound on Denny Way towards I-5 at 2 mph: 22 minutes

Heading eastbound without an event:

  • Eastbound on Mercer St. towards I-5 at 2 mph: 25 minutes
  • Eastbound on Denny Way towards I-5 at 7 mph: 23 minutes

After an evening event, the study estimated it could take up to an hour for traffic to get from KeyArena to I-5.

“These are not anecdotal estimates, they are out there measuring traffic volumes and time duration to get one place to another, its real data,” said Stevens.

“The city is full of you know what when it comes to traffic,” said one regular Mercer Street commuter from Issaquah.

The city is now in a 45 day public comment period. Only one public hearing on the EIS will be held.

That public hearing is scheduled for May 14, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Armory Loft 2 at Seattle Center.

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