The President of China, Xi Jinping, arrived in Seattle yesterday to great fanfare and nighmarish traffic, as rush hour express lanes were shut down to allow the President and his entourage to travel from Everett’s Paine Field (30 miles north) to Seattle’s Westin Hotel. Today, he’s on the way to visit the Boeing plant in Everett (the express lanes are closed yet again, but this time it’s not rush hour), and this afternoon, he’ll visit the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, which is east of downtown, before heading to Tacoma’s Lincoln High School.
Many Microsoft employees have been preparing for the potential traffic nightmare by altering their schedules or working from home, but the already horrendous traffic getting back to Seattle from the eastside is going to be even more of a bottleneck this afternoon with all the hoopla going on.
Adding to the impact on the commuters on the region, officials are keeping quiet on the President’s exact routes and times due to security concerns, but Seattle’s KIRO TV website has posted a basic itinerary:
President Xi will host a morning business meeting and leave Seattle for Boeing in Everett at about 10:30 a.m.
- According to sources, President Xi plans to return to the Westin at about noon, which could mean another potential shutdown of I-5.
- President Xi will travel to Microsoft in Redmond at about 4 p.m. for a 4:30 p.m. event.
- From Redmond, President Xi will head south to Tacoma to meet with students after 5 p.m.
- Between 6-6:30 p.m., President Xi will return to the Westin in Seattle.
The Chinese delegation has promised to address concerns about software piracy, and a number of technology executives from Seattle and Silicon Valley are expected to meet with the President.