Seattle police have big responsibility managing Seahawks traffic

By: BY CHRIS SULLIVAN, KIRO Radio Reporter

Updated:

The Seahawks host San Francisco on Sunday, and that means an estimated 100,000 people will pack into downtown to either watch the game at CenturyLink or in nearby bars.

How does the city manage that Seahawks traffic?

Seattle police set up traffic control about four hours before kickoff. Lieutenant Bryan Clenna in the traffic division said there’s not much of a concern with the pre-game because most people arrive at varied times. Officers simply guide pedestrians and cars into the lots.

It’s after the game when the police really have their hands full.

“We expedite northbound 4th Avenue and southbound 1st Avenue,” Lt. Clenna said.

But the biggest priority is getting people out of the two parking garages near the stadium.

“We generally give them a straight, direct line to the freeways so other people on the side streets are inconvenienced,” he said.

That’s why they close eastbound Royal Brougham and eastbound Edgar Martinez Drive at 1st Avenue.

“If people are on 1st Avenue thinking they are going to get on the freeway from there, that’s not going to happen until probably 30 or 40 minutes after the game,” Lt. Clenna said.

Lt. Clenna also has some great tips to make getting home a lot less frustrating after Seahawks games. The first one requires a little planning on the front end. Lt. Clenna said you should park on the side of the stadium which is in the direction of your trip home. For example, if you’re heading north after the game, don’t park on the south side of the stadium. That will force you to cross all the traffic.

He also suggests parking a good distance away from the stadium. He said you can walk faster after the game than you will move in your car.

His final tip is to avoid the freeway ramps near the stadium. He suggests driving away from the stadium and using the freeway ramps further away.

Send Chris a traffic tip at @KIROTraffic on Twitter or email him.

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