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Mossback’s Northwest

The Chaos of the Car in Seattle’s Early Days

Knute Berger chronicles the car’s bumpy ride in early Seattle.

April 27, 2018

If you think traffic is bad now, just imagine Seattle at the turn of the century: Cyclists, pedestrians, and an army of wagons all competed for space on the downtown streets. Then, along came the automobile. Knute Berger chronicles the car’s bumpy ride in early Seattle — and how it came to dominate the road.


Knute Berger

Knute Berger is Crosscut’s Mossback. Born and raised in Seattle, he writes with his own Pacific Northwest perspective. He also writes the monthly “Gray Matters” column for Seattle magazine where he is editor-at-large, and is an occasional commentator on KUOW-FM’s “Week in Review.” He is the author of two books: Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice and Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. He was writer-in-residence at the Space Needle and has had a cocktail named after him at Ivar’s. You can email him at or follow him on twitter @KnuteBerger.

More stories by Knute Berger

Eric Keto

From the Oregon Coast to the North Slope of Alaska, Eric enjoys telling stories from the western edge of the country. His nonfiction video work has been featured on The Atlantic, PBS NewsHour and Alaska Public Media.

More stories by Eric Keto