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Cities with the Worst Commutes in Washington

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When the COVID-19 pandemic made millions of Americans remote workers, it also abruptly ended the commutes that bookend the workday. As some of those workers return to the office, conversations around the drawbacks of commutes have become more vocal. For a while, those workers enjoyed more time in the morning and evening that wasn’t spent simply traveling to and from work—an unpaid portion of the day that nevertheless eats up time and energy. And it’s not a small amount of time, either: Pre-pandemic, the average commute in the U.S. was a hair over 27 minutes one way, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. It was a record high. Cumulatively, 27 minutes each way translates to 54 minutes a day, or four-and-a-half hours per week. That’s 18 hours a month and 216 hours a year spent commuting.

Those who commute know it’s anything but idyllic. While a very small portion of workers live in the ideal scenario—a short, walkable distance from the office, along a sidewalk that is presumably regularly shoveled in the winter and where the temperature doesn’t result in a sweaty arrival in the summer—most endure clogged roads, unpredictable public transit, and the frustrations that come with. Of course, not all commutes are as bad as others, and some cities have better public transit and traffic flow. Stacker compiled a list of the cities with the worst commutes in Washington using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Cities with at least 5,000 working adults are ranked by the longest average commute time as of the 2019 5-year estimate.

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#20. North Lynnwood
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 35.2
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 43.7%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 17.1%

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#19. Federal Way
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 35.3
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 44.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 20.5%

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#18. Lakeland North (Annexed into Auburn in 2008)
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 35.5
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 46.1%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 17.7%

#17. Bothell East
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 35.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 35.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 16.9%

#16. Fairwood (King County)
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 35.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 40.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 18.7%

#15. Covington
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 36.4
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 34.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 15%

#14. Spanaway
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 36.7
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 41.9%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 16.3%

#13. South Hill
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 36.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 40.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 16.8%

#12. Lake Tapps
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 36.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 43.1%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 21.3%

#11. Silver Firs
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 37.2
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 40.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 23.5%

#10. Mill Creek East
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 37.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 39.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 19.7%

#9. Frederickson
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 38.4
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 37.9%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 20.3%

#8. Lake Morton-Berrydale
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 38.7
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 33.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 15.4%

#7. Prairie Ridge
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 39.3
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 36.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 22.7%

#6. Bonney Lake
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 39.7
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 35.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 21.7%

#5. Maple Valley
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 39.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 30.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 22.2%

#4. Bainbridge Island
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 40.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 47.5%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 35.4%

#3. Graham
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 41.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 32.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 23.3%

#2. Elk Plain
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 42
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 29.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 23.1%

#1. Camano
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 44.3
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 30.5%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 26.4%


The above article was first published on Stacker and has been republished with permission. Stacker compiled this list of the cities with the worst commutes in Washington according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified this information.

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