Seahawks fans brave long lines, cold weather to celebrate at parade

Staff writerFebruary 5, 2014 

It was harder for Seahawks fans to get to Wednesday’s victory parade in downtown Seattle than it was for the Denver Broncos to get into the Super Bowl end zone.

Seattle police estimated 700,000 people showed up along the 2-mile route that ended with a celebration at CenturyLink Field.

Some of those thousands camped overnight along Fourth Avenue to ensure a good spot. Others packed onto trains, buses and ferries as early as 4:10 a.m. but still ended up waiting hours as public transportation quickly reached capacity.

“The Sounders are so full they’re opening the doors and then immediately shutting them,” Shannon Stiles said from the commuter train making its way through Kent. “They added this train last minute and there’s still enough people for two more trains at least.”

In the afternoon and evening, it was much the same – in reverse. Lines at ferry, bus and train stations were long and Interstate 5 was packed for mile after mile.

Still, getting home turned out to be considerably less trying for many. Eddie Griffin III said he drove out of Seattle at 4:15 p.m. and was passing the Tacoma Dome about 6 p.m. Patti Dailey took the bus from downtown about 3 p.m. and was home in Pierce County by 4 p.m.

Bonnie Ashley said she left right after the parade and beat the worst of that traffic.

“It took about an hour to get to Tacoma,” she said. “Easy peasy.”

It was anything but in the morning.

The state Department of Transportation warned those hoping to sail from the Bremerton and Bainbridge stations that they might have to wait for as many as two to three boats before getting aboard.

Like they didn’t already know.

About 650 people were left at the dock in Bremerton after the 7:20 a.m. ferry to Seattle was packed full. Some 125 walk-ons were left behind in Bainbridge for the 7:55 a.m. ferry because the 2,500 capacity boat was already full. Washington State Ferries spokeswoman Susan Harris-Huether said there are no spare boats to add trips.

Bus riders faced the same crowds and challenges. Pierce Transit added 25 northbound trips to the usual 73 for the day, bringing in as many drivers and vehicles as possible. Most buses leaving from Lakewood, Tacoma, Auburn and Federal Way were packed.

“By the time we get to the stops that are farther north, the buses are already full,” spokeswoman Carol Mitchell said.

Despite adding an extra south-line train, Sound Transit still had to leave Sounder passengers behind when the final departure left Tacoma at 8:30 a.m. Some but not all of the stranded fans were picked up by express buses, spokeswoman Kimberly Reason said.

Charlie Jeffries, 46, from Milton, ran five blocks to the train station in Sumner. He’d told the three employees at his electrical contracting business: “We’re not working. We’re going downtown. We’re going to celebrate with the Seahawks.”

News Tribune Staff writer Brynn Grimley and The Seattle Times contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653
stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

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