Paxtyn Merten, Puget Sound Business Journal [$]:
Since moving entirely into downtown Seattle’s F5 Tower in August, workers have capitalized on those benefits. Phillips said drive-alone rates among employees are just under 25 percent, down from 55 percent at the former headquarters.
About 29 percent drive and park vehicles, which F5 partially subsidizes within the tower, though there’s only 322 parking stalls in the tower for F5’s 1,500 headquarters employees. When the neighboring Rainier Club hosts events, 60 of those spots disappear as well, Phillips said.
“There’s a long waitlist for the garage because we had more parking at Elliott,” Phillips said. “We see that waitlist get smaller and smaller and smaller. The method to the madness of the waitlist is people will rethink, ‘Why not try the bus? Why not try light rail?’”
For context, 25% is the average drive-alone rate for all of downtown, per Commute Seattle’s mode split survey. For the commercial core, the drive-alone rate is actually lower, at 15%.
That’s not to dismiss F5’s accomplishments: other commercial core employers and employees have had years to settle in to commute patterns, whereas F5 took basically the same group of employees who were driving alone and plopped them downtown. In that context, it’s remarkable. One wonders what the rate would be without the subsidized parking.
On a similar note, here’s Gene Balk in the Seattle Times:
In 2018, just 44% of the 444,000 Seattle residents who were employed drove alone to work on a typical day, according to the latest census data. That’s a huge decrease since 2010, when a solid majority (53%) of Seattle’s workers were solo car commuters.
Seattle’s 9 percentage-point drop is easily the largest decline among the 100 most-populous U.S. cities since the start of the decade. And we now have the sixth-lowest percentage of drive-alone commuters among those 100 cities. The lowest is New York, where only about 23% of commuters drive alone.
We’re now under 50% of car commuters citywide. There’s a simple reason why Seattle continues to put up amazing transit numbers while much of the rest of the country goes in the other direction: we’re investing. Let’s not backslide.