Eastside growth impacting commute times

Eastside growth impacting commute times

There’s heavier traffic and higher housing costs throughout the Puget Sound, all due to population and job growth in the area.

Reporter Jeff Dubois dove deeper into the numbers to find out just how big an impact the growth is having on the morning commute.

The back ways drivers use to avoid I-405 or I-5 aren't as short as they used to be.

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In the past two years, nearly 88,000 people have moved into King County.

The majority of that growth has been in Seattle, but east and southeast King County also have a lot of new residents.

Dubois compiled the populations from Kent and Covington, up through Maple Valley and then North Bend and Sammamish, and found 25,220 people have moved in since 2014.

All those extra people are adding minutes to your morning commute.

For instance, on Highway 18, between I-5 and I-90, the morning commute time has gone up 7 minutes on average in the past two years.

Dubois found similar increases on other routes that cut through rural east King County to get north and south.

But it's not just population growth contributing to the extra traffic.

Job growth plays a major role. Since 2010, the Puget Sound area has added more than 279,000 jobs – a rebound from the Great Recession.

And all those extra people are driving cars and riding transit to get to work.