Meet I-5, the freeway that tore Seattle in half

This post is part of a new series we’re calling Seattleisms, a handy glossary of words and phrases unique to our city that’ll help you #livelikeyoulivehere. 


WHAT IS IT? Interstate 5, which runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, right through Seattle.

DISRUPTION: The freeway, which was finished in 1969, essentially tore Seattle in half. Construction on Interstate 5 uprooted family homes, tore down old buildings, shuttered small businesses, and divided several neighborhoods, including Chinatown-International District.

ROAD RAGE: Seattle is ranked nationally and internationally for its terrible traffic. Traffic can be so jammed that some commuters driving to and from Everett and Seattle are told to set aside more than an hour and a half to make a 24-mile trip. 😡

PRO TIP: If you call it “the Five,” every born-and-raised Seattleite will know you’re from California.

USAGE: “Should I go carless? I was stuck on I-5 for almost two hours yesterday.”

Know of a Seattleism that we should include in our new glossary? Hit reply or email us at [email protected]. We’ll be sharing out the Seattleiest terms we can find over the next several months.