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Monday, March 14, 2011

What Drives Me Nuts About Seattle....

On early Sunday morning, I participated in a fun run in Seattle. I knew the race was going to have a large number of participants, so I left a little extra early to navigate traffic, find parking, and meet my friend.


The minute I exited that freeway, it was traffic and parking chaos.  So bad, that I literally got to the starting line minutes before my race (and I was exhausted and stressed out before I even ran). Could I have planned better and left earlier? Of course.

I don't want to though! (Insert whiny voice).

Here in Tacoma, while we have big events too, I CAN park and I don't have to drive like I'm in a war zone. We don't get the seas of people (okay, a concert at the Tacoma Dome would be a big exception).

Don't get me wrong! I LOVE Seattle. I spent many years living there. I love the people, the vibe, the sights, the sounds, and all the stuff there is to do there.

But I DON'T miss the battle of getting around. Sure I can take public transportation (which I did and biked when I lived there), but sometimes, it's just not possible from here. And in order for me to get there,  it's plotting and planning and just plain work to get around.

Am I being a grump about this? Unfair? Unrealistic? A big old stick in the mud? Readers, what say you?


Unknown said...

Typical Husky. Whine about everything.

Anonymous said...

I have, in my 60 years of existence, made it my life's goal to avoid at nearly all cost having to go to places in Seattle that required my driving there. I am not a nervous nelly, for years I drove snow plow at Mt. Rainier. However, the traffic and the layout of the city of Seattle in not in any way a pleasure to find yourself in. as for parking???.....I guess I would just as soon walk from Tacoma......and probably make better time also!!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Seattle for 8 years but moved away about 15 years ago. I love taking my kids up there on weekends for occasional visits (church, parks, restaurants and an occasional Husky game). Except for football traffic when I'm expecting a long wait, I usually don't have much problem. The key is to avoid the M-F commuters.

Kim Thompson said...

Hi all!

First off, yes, I am a Husky (I am also a Lute a little bit too). Yeah, I am whining, it's true.

Anon, I applaud you for your driving skills (Mt. Rainier, snow? Awesome). I thought your last comment about walking was funny.

Anon 2, good tips. I like taking my kids up there, too here and there. Typically though when I take kids I really have it pretty darn planned out though.

And you are right--avoid the commute at all costs!!!!

Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

Biggest reason I drive to Portland verses going to Seattle ( I live in Tacoma)if I want a fun weekend out.. I HATE Seattle's traffic . I think in 15 years I've maybe been to Seattle less than 10 times because of this mess.
Just not worth it to me to see any venue in Seattle if I can instead se it in Portland and the drive time tends to be about the same in many cases!

Kim Thompson said...

Hi Anon... it's interesting that you mention Portland. I was down there a couple of times recently. Really love that city. It was INDEED easier to get around. Plus when you are in the city itself, it's extra pedestrian, bike and public transportation awesome (more so than Seattle).

Gigi said...

The Northwest is known for being a laid back place UNTIL we get into our cars, then it's a free for all, gotta get to where ever before the person in front of us. At least it seems that way. As a former commuter from the peninsula to Seattle I've seen a lot of rudeness on the road. People, ya just gotta mellow out! Is it really necessary to pull around that person in front of you (who is going over the speed limit as well) and then immediately take the exit you almost missed by doing said maneuver? Is it really necessary to to tail gate? Ya won't get there any faster doing that, plus it's so easy to get into an accident with that kind of behavior. Is it so darned hard to slow up a bit to let someone merge onto the freeway? Is it so hard to drive like you care about anybody besides yourself?

People of the Northwest, please learn to drive without blinders on. Learn some manners! Life goes fast enough! Slow down, be kind and enjoy this beautiful place we call home.

Kim, you are not being a grump! I don't miss that commute at all and take back roads when I can just to avoid the traffic and rudeness!

Anonymous said...

I went to HS in seattle and took the bus everywhere. I could navigate is upside and backward. 10+ years later I hate getting around in a car there. Its all bus and on foot for me if I go to visit.
My inlaws live on Queen Anne and I live in Tacoma's North end. The areas are almost one in the same, except Tacoma has PARKING. I can get my mini cooper through the neighborhood without fear of taking off every side mirror.
I love Tacoma, smell and all.

Kim Thompson said...

Gigi, your comment was brilliant! Bravo! I used to commute from University Place to Bellevue years ago. Don't miss that in the least and I felt like I had to go into battle mode to get home at night.

Anon, I agree that the North Slope and Queen Anne really mirror each other in some many ways with the vibe, history, narrow streets, eclecticism, and venues. I love Tacoma too. Smell? What smell? :)

I am jealous you have a mini c. though. I drive a school bus style mom-mobile. Ugh. Can't get rid of it--not feasible (and the gas prices--egads!). THAT is the rig I had to drive to Seattle on Sunday and basically I had to wedge my way into a parking spot big enough for your mini!

Lorraine Hart said...

Kim, you reminded me, I was able to drive a van in Manhattan and all the boroughs...had less trouble with five times as much traffic. People at least knew their only hope to get somewhere was to learn the zipper rule for merging...and everyone got very good at parking through constant practice. Mostly though, you knew that public transportation was going to get you there faster and easier than riding your own pony.

Gigi and I have had many talks about traffic, as we drove, and we just could not peg why folks can be so warm and nice, until put behind the wheel of a vehicle. Many a small car has deked in and out...and big rigs think they're compacts...and EVERYONE drives too fast, too selfishly, and too dagnammit distractedly! Phew, was glad to get that off my chest.

Makes me want to run that Blue Angel blog again.

There's been too much haggling and mismanagement of mass transit, it seems. Seattle could learn a lot from Portland...and Tacoma needs to prepare for its own growth.

We have to go up to Seattle quite regularly (thankfully that same ol' Maxima, held together with duct tape and happy chance) and we just hate the trip. I think of all the things I would like to go and do in Seattle, like Mizu's workshop at the Wing Luc today, but I have to save the gas money for the doctor and hospital trips, and my back is in spasm just thinking about the defensive driving involved.

On a positive note...kudos on your parking abilities Kim, and I KNOW the Mama's Terminator you drive, LOL!

Too bad we can't arrange for event shuttles. It's always back to figuring out mass transit.

Kim Thompson said...

Good points Lorraine!