Most people who live around the Seattle area know that downtown traffic is horrible, and parking is equally as difficult. It is about to get worse when Chinese president Xi Jinping is visiting the Seattle area, beginning his three-day visit. Those that live in the Seattle area are going to need to deal with Road Closures and other Traffic delays this week for the president's tour.
According to King 5 news, a local Seattle station, city and state transportation officials have one simple message: work from home, take a day off, find a carpool or vanpool, do anything you can to stay off the roads. Apparently the traffic situation is really that bad. In fact, Rick Sheridan, from the Seattle Department of Transportation has said: "Consider whether that trip is worth taking".
President Xi Jinping arrived at Everett's Paine Field on Tuesday morning and will stay at The Westin in downtown Seattle. During the president of China's visit, entire streets will be closed around the Westin from Olive Street to Lenora Street, as well as Fourth Avenue to Seventh Avenue. The Seattle Streetcar station at McGraw Square will also be closed.
Southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) was shut down shortly after the president's landing so that his motorcade could go through. Seattle citizens know that if I-5 is shut down, then traffic is really going to be bad.
The Chinese president is going to be receiving Secret Service protection equivalent to what the president of the United States would receive. This means that he will always be traveling with a motorcade and police escort which will definitely result in traffic stops, slowdowns, and much more.
Worse yet, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) does not even know what route the president's motorcade will take, and they will be given little advance notice. The Seattle Times reports that there are protesters gathering, which will probably hinder traffic all the more.
Traffic will probably be even worse on Wednesday, when the president is scheduled to visit the Boeing company in Everett, Microsoft in Redmond, and then Lincoln High School in Tacoma. There are plans for him to attend a private dinner at "an undisclosed location" before returning to Seattle. There will even be more delays that evening as the Seattle Sounders (Seattle's soccer team) play a home match at CenturyLink Field starting at 7 PM. It sounds like Sounders Fans and other attendees should show up early for that one.
For those that need up-to-date traffic reports on the president's visit, it is possible to download a Seattle Traffic Map that will send an alert at any given time the president of China's motorcade gets on the road, as well as flow maps and drive times. It is also possible to follow WSDOT on Twitter for some up-to-date traffic information as well. Drivers in the Seattle area are expected to use caution when using such resources on their smartphone when behind the wheel.