Championship parade attendance:how legit?

Seattle held the 2014 Super Bowl Champions parade yesterday. Press reports placed the attendance at 700,000. I’m dubious about that figure for a couple of reasons:
–About four million people live within 50 miles of Seattle. Did one-sixth of them really go to the parade?
–In a city with no subways, one light rail line, and traffic congestion even in good times, how did that many people get in and out without totally paralyzing the city?
Does the 700,00 figure sound legitimate to you and why/why not? For that matter, what about the claimed millions of attendees for Chicago and Boston championship parades?

The greater Boston metro area has a population of around 4 million, and the city estimated 3.2 million for the victory parade. I think that’s pretty optimistic estimate but even if it was half the percentage is higher than Seattle. Boston does have a better transit system however. I was at the 2001 Patriots rally, in the middle of winter, and there were 100,000’s of people there.

The city WAS totally paralyzed. Who told you otherwise?

EDIT: To anecdote that up a bit, I work in Bellevue (along I405) which is on the other side of Lake Washington from Seattle, and:

  1. My commute was ridiculously slow both coming to work and going home by parade traffic (remember: I405 doesn’t even really serve Seattle-- all that traffic was going to the 520 or I90 bridge to get into Seattle.)
  2. The transit center in downtown Bellevue was packed with fans trying to get onto 550 buses to Seattle, even at lunchtime (an hour after the parade started). And I mean packed. Every bus was packed, the line to get on a bus filled the entire transit station and sidewalk down the entire block. It was unbelievable.

In short, I believe it 100%.

I’ll second this sentiment. I had to head to the airport about 3 hours before the parade and the traffic on I5 for the downtown exits was backed up for at least 2 miles with the effects much further than that. I jumped on the train to go the opposite direction from the train and got to the airport where the line to get on the train was 4 people wide and 1/8 mile long in one direction and 1/4 mile in the other direction (it went past the V in the parking garage if you are familiar with Sea-Tac). The TSA employees were taking rotations to go out and gawk at the line.

Seattle public schools had 25% absenteeism so if you consider their parents as well as other local school districts, the numbers start to add up- especially once you see how few kids are in the pictures from the parade… lots of upper teens, 20 and 30-somethings. Some guys even drove out from Wyoming just for the parade.

So I have to say that 700,000 seems a bit low to me in my first person observation- especially when comparing it to fireworks displays, sporting events, etc. that I’ve attended in the past.

I’ll third it. I flew in from Oakland and arrived about 3, and took light rail into downtown. Once we got near the stadium the southbound platform at each station was totally full of people, more than I’ve ever seen before, and I’m from New York. People got on the northbound train so they could stay on at Westlake and go the other way - and got kicked off there. At Westlake not only the platform was filled, but the stairs down to the platform was filled.

At my hotel the desk clerk told me it took her 45 minutes to drive from the Space Needle, usually a five minute trip. And a Starbucks near the station had so many people in it escaping the cold that it sold out of everything.

I buy the number.

Absenteeism at my place of employment in Renton was about 40%, I work for the largest employer in the state of Washington.

Many of those 700,000 people were probably already near the parade route simply because it took place on a weekday during business hours. I’m not too familiar with Seattle, but if the parade was anything like its Boston or NYC counterparts of the past then that figure is easily attainable considering the number of office workers that would have left their desks to stand out front when the parade passed their building.

We live about 1.5 hours from downtown Seattle. Over 400 students and 40 staff were absent from my daughter’s high school that day. I buy the number.

As you might expect, there is a Wikipedia article on how the number of people in a crowd is counted. I remember reading articles about various such techniques after the controversy over the Million Man March that Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam organized in 1995. (The National Park Service estimated there were about 400,000 people there, but Louis Farrakhan felt that was a gross underestimate and it minimized the importance of his event.) One article described one academic’s method, which was, as I remember, to use aerial photographs to estimate the area that the crowd occupied and then to use standard estimates of the number of people per given area.

But those techniques are mostly for a crowd of people in a park or in a protest. Estimating the number of people along a parade route downtown is going to be a lot harder, I think.

Meanwhile, things were really pretty quite here in Denver…

To pile on, SoundTransit (the transit agency that runs the Sounder commuter train, the light rail, and many of the bus routes) alone transported 200k people.

There are 2 other transit agencies that serve Seattle (Community Transit, and King County Metro). Plus Amtrak. Plus the number of cars…

Another couple of data points, so far everyone has only mentioned the crowds on the streets of Seattle. I don’t know if the 700-750k number being quoted by the local media is only people along the parade route or if it includes the crowd that had tickets to sit in the stands at Century link Field Home field of the Champion Seattle Seahawks. The tickets were provided for free to season ticket holders and was “sold” out Century Link has a capacity of 67,000 people after Century Link “sold” out tickets were made available for overflow at Safeco Field the home of the Seattle Mariners next door it seats 54,000 so between the two stadiums alone that is 121,000 people.

I work at the north end of Lake Union and on my way into work on Wednesday coming down Greenwood and Freemont there were a lot of full bus stops and capacity Busses headed south.

As far as transit planning, my sister and nephew parked at my office and took the bus down into downtown in the morning and ended up walking from down town across the Aurora 99 bridge because busses just were not running north having been stuck downtown.

They could have said it was a million people at the celebration parade and I would belive it based on the pictures of the streets swollen with people and the first hand accounts from coworkers, friends, and family.

Completely anecdotally, a friend was at the Phoenix airport that morning headed out on a work trip. He said the gate for one of the AM flights to Seattle had a surprising number (a dozen maybe?) of people in Seahawks garb flying up to watch the parade.

No bloody way. There wasn’t enough coffee in the immediate area to serve 700,000 people. And without coffee, Seattle folks sulk and go home.

By the way, I can’t imagine being so much of a fanboy that I would stand for hours in Seattle winter weather just for a chance to glimpse a few millionaires riding past in limos and scream my ecstasy at their having won the Super Dooper Pooper Scooper Bowl…but that’s just me, I guess. (I’d be willing to bet that either one or zero Seahawks players actually hail from Seattle, so how are the Seahawks “Seattle’s team” anyway?)

I’ll take that bet. Jermaine Kearse, wide receiver and scorer of a third quarter touchdown, was born and raised in the Tacoma area and attended the University of Washington in Seattle. What do I win?

I live and work very near downtown. Based on what I saw that day:

No, I wouldn’t be surprised if 1/6th of everyone was at the parade.

The city was paralyzed.

The estimates may be somewhat off, but the Seahawks parade was along a route that has an annual parade with a 300K+ attendance. It’s known how much space that many people take up in that area - this was, well, at least double that. Public transportation was a nightmare. Tons of people took off work. It was basically a weird weekday citywide holiday.

I’m a big seahawk fan that has no interest in the Parade, but I think you underestimate the connection between the city and the team. I think the players do feel like they’re “Seattle’s team.” Of course, I don’t believe they wouldn’t become Broncos for a few extra bucks, but while they’re here, they like us. They really like us. :wink:

More data:
1 - Both the football and baseball stadiums sold out for the event (that’s about 150k right there)

2 - The entire route was absolutely full of people - if you look at pictures you can’t see an open space anywhere - most of my friends that were on the route couldn’t even see the parade because they didn’t get there at 6am - too many people

3 - The entire cell network was swamped and rendered generally unusable for most people I’ve talked to - text messages took an hour to get delivered if at all - phone calls generally didn’t go through

4 - When I drove from Bothell to Auburn at 10am - the freeways were much busier than any normal commute during peak time - 405, 167, 520, I5, all completely full and generally barely moving

Ok, thanks, we were all wondering if Desert Dumpster likes to go to super bowl parades.

We sure are lucky to have that information, not sure if the thread could have continued without it.

[ul][li]They were in DUKWs (WWII amphibious trucks known as ‘ducks’), HMMWVs (‘humvees’), and Army trucks. Only a couple of limos, and the players weren’t in them.[/li][li]Marshawn Lynch tried to throw Skittles to us. To us, specifically. (They hit a tree and fell into the crowd.)[/li][li]Pete Carroll’s HMMWV stopped below us, and many fans on the street had their gear autographed.[/ul][/li]I enjoyed it, and I’m not a ‘fanboy’. (My office is on 3rd Ave., and the parade was on 4th Ave.)

Yep. My coworkers’ smart phones were useless for anything but taking pictures.

It took me 2-½ hours to get downtown – from Birch Bay, 110 miles away. That’s about how long it usually takes. But I was downtown before eight. :wink: