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Spokane has second fastest commute in Washington

FILE - Traffic moves along Third Avenue last year. According to a study, Spokane has the second shortest commute time in the state. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE - Traffic moves along Third Avenue last year. According to a study, Spokane has the second shortest commute time in the state. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Commute not fast enough?

Try moving to Bellingham, which has the state’s fastest commute, according to HomeArea.com, a national real estate website. The average commute there is just under 20 minutes.

Other than that, you’re golden. Spokane has the state’s second-fastest commute.

The numbers come from Census Bureau data compiled by the real estate website. Spokane’s average commute is 21.4 minutes, according to the ranking. Bellingham, north of Seattle near the Canadian border, has an average commute of 19.9 minutes.

While we can praise ourselves for living in such an easily navigable city, there is reason to doubt the ranking. For instance, the state’s largest city, Seattle, ranks fifth. The city, which has notoriously horrid traffic, comes in just behind Bellevue and Vancouver, throwing into question how helpful the list is.

Or does it? The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the source of the data, considers all modes of travel. Transit, bicycles, carpools and walking are all counted – as are people driving alone in a car, of course.

The inclusion of all transportation modes could make the difference. Tallying how long it takes to get around Seattle in a car might send Seattle to the bottom of any list about travel time. But there are a lot more ways to commute in Seattle.

In 2017, just 25 percent of workers headed downtown drove alone, according to a survey done by the Seattle Department of Transportation and a nonprofit partner, Commute Seattle. Nearly half took transit, and the rest of the trips were made up by ridesharing, biking and walking.

Spokane’s commuters don’t bother with other ways of commuting. According to the census data, nearly three-quarters of Spokane commuters still drive to work alone.


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