Local

A look at the top school traffic congestion in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties

School is back in session and KIRO 7 narrowed down the top congested school traffic per county.

Starting with King County, Wildwood Elementary took the top spot in the most back-to-school traffic increases. Roads around this school see an 8% increase when class is back in session.

According to INRIX, King County, and South King County don’t see too many more vehicles on the highways, but around schools, they warn drivers to expect anywhere between a 6-9% spike in traffic, specifically Bear Creek Elementary in Redmond which took the top spot.

“Unsurprisingly to those who have to drive this stretch of road in Redmond, Avondale Road gets a lot of backups. There is a pretty good increase in traffic about 9%,” INRIX traffic expert Bob Pishue said.

Pishue says there’s been a lot of growth in the area, and Avondale Road sees congestion between its regular traffic and freight deliveries, and adding on school means more drivers, more buses, and more congestion.

He also mentioned bell changes should not impact drivers in the morning, but for the schools that get out later, expect increased traffic and congestion in the afternoon.

Pierce County is infamous for congestion whether classes are in session or not, but Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor takes the top spot at a 30% increase in traffic when school starts back up.

“We saw a 30% increase in travel times around that school. Most of that delay was on Purdy Drive Northwest so there could be a lot of reasons for that, but that’s just something interesting to note,” Pishue said.

The other Pierce County hot spot is Washington High School off Spanaway Loop Road. Pishue warns this area has a lot of congestion during the evening commute and with the bell changes letting some students out later, if you’re driving through Parkland and Tacoma, expect even more backups for your evening commute.

Last stop, is Snohomish County. Beverly Elementary in Lynnwood took the #1 spot for the most back-to-school traffic. 52nd Avenue -- the road Beverly Elementary is on -- sees congestion start as early as mid-morning.

While the school did see an increase of around 8%, it’s not as high as some schools INRIX has seen in King and Pierce County.

“There are a couple other schools like Hillcrest Elementary School. We see a 5% increase there, Emerson about 4%, Cedarwood Elementary 3%, so as you see from those top ones we’re not seeing a huge crushing increase,” Pishue said.

Pishue says bell schedule changes in Snohomish County should have very little impact on Snohomish County traffic.