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Seattle weekend traffic and transit: I-5 closure, Dragonfest, and West Seattle Summer Fest

What’s blocking up traffic this weekend—and how to ride transit to it (or around it)

Jose Luis Stephens/Shutterstock

Another weekend, another whole list of things that could disrupt getting around, like a major closure on Interstate 5. Some of these things might be things you’re doing, though—like the West Seattle Summer Fest, Dragonfest, Ballard Seafood Fest, or any other fest.

Interested in not getting stuck behind the wheel? Our weekend traffic report is here for you. (Although if you’re riding the Seattle to Portland, you already know what traffic is going to be like for you: sweaty.)

We’ve combed through the alerts and advisories from both the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to deliver transit-friendly solutions for your weekend outings.

Some of this weekend’s advisories—and transit-oriented alternate routes to events—are listed below.

Weekend events: DragonFest, the STP, the King County Fair, and more

Thursday night, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform at Key Arena at 7:30 p.m. Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, and Rapidride D all go right there.

West Seattle Summer Fest is going on from Friday through Sunday in, appropriately, the West Seattle Junction, with music, beer gardens, a kids’ play area, and a ton of on-street shopping. Because it’s in the Junction, transit there is pretty plentiful; Metro routes 11, 37, 50, 55, 57, 128, and RapidRide C will all get you to some point around the festival’s perimeter.

Another neighborhood festival helps kick off Seafair: Ballard Seafood Fest, which is exactly what it sounds like. It even has a lutefisk-eating contest! It centers at the intersection of 22nd and Market, but has street closures spreading out to Leary and Ballard, lined with vendors, crafts, and music. Ride the 17, 18, 29, 40, 44, or D-Line to get there.

Saturday and Sunday, it’s Chinatown-International District’s annual Dragonfest—two full days of cultural performances, including dragon and lion dances at Hing Hay Park (although typically it involves some on-the-street stuff around there, too). If you want to get there without a car, Link Light Rail and the First Hill Streetcar go right there, as do a multitude of buses too numerous to list here. (The 41, 74, 101, 102, 150, 225, and 550 run in the tunnel alone.)

Ambitious cyclists will be setting off on the 200-mile Seattle to Portland (STP) ride this weekend. About 10,000 riders are leaving from a University of Washington parking lot between 4:45 and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and heading south, so watch out for large packs of bikes pretty much all day on Saturday. If you’re headed to STP and you don’t want to park your car, the start line is near Husky Stadium; Link Light Rail is an option, but it doesn’t start running until about 5.

Another part of Seafair: the Milk Carton Derby, where people race milk-carton boats on Green Lake. Parking around Green Lake can get tricky and traffic can get bad when it’s just kind of nice out—if you want to avoid all that, the 26, 45, and 62 will all get you close to Green Lake Park.

It’s also the Wallingford Family Parade on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., running down 45th between Bagley and Interlake

On Sunday morning, Swedish is hosting their Summerun and Walk for ovarian cancer research around First Hill and Capitol Hill. Last year, the route started and finished around Madison and Minor, and looping up to 12th and Aloha and back—it looks like it’ll at least be similar this year. To get to the starting line, take the Metro route 12 or 60.

Road work and bus service changes: I-5 is totally closing northbound

Beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, July 13, all lanes of northbound I-5 will close for maintenance at the West Seattle Bridge until 5 a.m. Monday, July 16, reopening around Olive Way. A whole bunch of lane closures are happening as far south as Southcenter, too, ramping up to the big closure in the city.

The collector-distributor lanes will be open, but a lot of northbound ramps will be closed starting at various times on Friday night: I-405, Interurban Avenue, MLK/SR-900, Boeing Access Road, northbound express lane access, Edgar Martinez Drive, Seneca Street, University Street, Swift/Albro, Southcenter Boulevard, and Michigan/Corson,

Additionally, southbound’s getting some lane closures at the Ship Canal on Sunday morning from 2 a.m. to noon.

Meanwhile, it’s mostly weekend events that are leading to bus reroutes:

  • Routes 2, 12 and 60 are rerouted around First Hill for the Summerun
  • Routes 44 and 62 are rerouted for the Wallingford Family Parade
  • The 40 and 44 are rerouted for Ballard Seafood Fest
  • Routes 22, 37, 50, 55, 57, 128, and C Line are all rerouted for West Seattle Summer Fest

Note: We put immediate and new closures in this section, but not every single planned street closure appears here. Explore all 98 active SDOT projects, many of which involve street and lane closures, here. Here are Sound Transit rider alerts; here are King County Metro rider alerts.

Sports: Basketball

Saturday, the Storm play the Dallas Wings at 6 p.m. at Key Arena. Get there using Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, or Rapidride D.

The Sounders are in Atlanta on Sunday and the Mariners are in Colorado.

Hing Hay Park

423 Maynard Avenue South, , WA 98104 Visit Website

Husky Stadium

3800 Montlake Boulevard Northeast, , WA 98195 Visit Website

Green Lake

, , WA

Green Lake Park

7201 East Green Lake Drive North, , WA 98115 Visit Website