TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tracking Thursday; RapidRide back to regular route; bridge tragedy

January 23, 2014 at 6:12 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 31 Comments

6:12 AM: There’s the west-pointed view of the bridge .. here’s the east-pointed view:

And the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct:

More cameras, and other info, on the WSB Traffic page. As always, we’ll update here if anything significant happens with potential effects on local commuters.

HIGHWAY 99 OVERPASS OPENS MONDAY: In case you missed this announcement Wednesday – the Atlantic Street overpass over Highway 99 in the stadium zone will open Monday.

6:21 AM: As noted in our coverage of this morning’s Fauntleroy garage fire, Metro is not routing RapidRide C Line buses on Wildwood between 45th SW and 47th SW for now. We’re trying to verify the reroute, since the message mentions Gatewood stops that are nowhere near the usual C Line route.

6:39 AM: Metro has a web update with more details explaining that reroute, which means RapidRide is not running on Fauntleroy Way right now, and skipping the ferry dock.

6:55 AM: Per radio communications, the roads there will reopen shortly, so the bus rerouting might not last too much longer.

7:06 AM: Metro just texted, RapidRide is back to regular routing.

7:16 AM: Trouble on northbound I-5 just north of the ramp from the West Seattle Bridge – a crash has one lane blocked.

7:31 AM: And now there is tragedy on the westbound bridge, per scanner. Someone called police to report seeing a person get out of a car and jump off the bridge. The victim is reported to have been found below; the car has been found on the bridge. (Note: Any time we mention suicide, we mention this: Crisis Clinic‘s 24-hour line, 206-461-3222.)

7:56 AM: Our crew confirms that the emergency response under the bridge because of this is off the roadways and has not affected the lower bridge; it is open as usual.

Police were also on the high bridge, with the abandoned vehicle, which will be impounded for investigation.

POSTSCRIPT: Checking WSB archives, we note two bridge suicides last year, a 27-year-old man in January and a 54-year-old woman in May.

31 Comments

  1. I drove in to work at 5:50 and noted a Metro bus stopped on the bridge (eastbound) with multiple fire and ems trucks attending to it. I don’t think it was an accident because no other vehicles were involved and it looked like emergency personnel was attending to someone on the bus itself.
    .
    I’m sure it’s cleared up by now but I’m just curious what the issue was.

    Comment by Brian — 7:21 am January 23, 2014 #

  2. Yes, that was logged briefly as an aid (low-level medical) response … by the time I heard about it, the call already had “closed,” had the scanner on because of the fire but didn’t hear anything about it … will ask SFD since we have to follow up on the fire investigation anyway.

    Comment by WSB — 7:24 am January 23, 2014 #

  3. How truly awful. So incredibly sad.

    Comment by heather — 7:47 am January 23, 2014 #

  4. C line driver won’t use bus Lane eastbound, even after riders asked him to. Said we could report him. Sigh.

    Comment by Chris W — 7:53 am January 23, 2014 #

  5. I work in Harbor Island Corporate Center and was about 100 feet away in my car when this happened. Unfortunately this has happened 4 times that I’ve witnessed over the past 10 or so years I’ve worked down here. I hope that person found the peace they were looking for.

    Comment by Aaron — 7:57 am January 23, 2014 #

  6. Be kind to your bus drivers today. Scanner exchanges indicates it was a driver who witnessed and called in the suicide. Obviously bus drivers see and deal with a lot … but … I hope they have counselors available for helping deal with that.

    Comment by WSB — 8:00 am January 23, 2014 #

  7. May that person find peace. That’s a good question (re: counselors for drivers) to ask Metro, don’t you think WSB? I’d be curious to know if they offer something.

    Comment by Lachlan — 8:53 am January 23, 2014 #

  8. Hey Chris W .. atleast the driver isn’t pulling over and having police show up to escort you off as people reported happening about a year ago on this blog whenever a rider asked nicely for them to use the bus lane. :)

    Comment by enough — 9:29 am January 23, 2014 #

  9. If the Metro driver files a worker’s compensation claim for the incident, counseling would be covered under the claim.

    -Former claims adjuster

    Comment by Laura — 10:57 am January 23, 2014 #

  10. A small description of the car was given on another board… The person who jumped might be a friend/ co worker of mine.
    *
    if you saw this car and have a better description past the color (Blue) can you please email me at velo_nut@yahoo.com
    *
    Thanks-

    Comment by velo_nut — 10:59 am January 23, 2014 #

  11. I am confused, why won’t the bus drivers use the bus lane?

    Comment by Scooby Dooby Doo — 12:33 pm January 23, 2014 #

  12. Thank you all for the emails. any further updates are not required.

    Comment by velo_nut — 2:36 pm January 23, 2014 #

  13. Life is hard. Suicide touches a lot of us, family, friends, friend of friends, etc. For me it was my girlfriend’s sister. Let’s go easy on each other out there in real life.

    Comment by G — 3:30 pm January 23, 2014 #

  14. (As others have shared in the past…)

    http://crisisclinic.org/get-involved/donate/

    Comment by RG — 3:42 pm January 23, 2014 #

  15. @enough Hadn’t heard that one. Wow.

    Wishing peace to all who witnessed today’s tragedy and to all who loved him or her. My family has been touched by suicide as well.

    Comment by Chris W. — 3:59 pm January 23, 2014 #

  16. Maybe it’s time signs about suicide and a helpline number are posted around the bridge areas, so people can think before they drive to the top and possibly seek help in time. Im tired of suicide being swept under the rug and being taboo. The body is removed and then it’s just another commuting day. Enough is enough. Is the traffic or road rage getting to these people and by the time they reach the bridge, they’ve had it? Did someone just get flipped off one too many times? Is it the cloudy days? This bridge needs to be addressed before our next victim jumps. Nobody needs to see this.

    Comment by alki resident — 7:12 pm January 23, 2014 #

  17. On a side note.
    I can’t help but look up at the high bridge while driving under the low bridge to go to West Marginal Way, I do it all the time because I don’t want somebody landing on my car or in front of me. It’s a horrible feeling knowing our bridge is so known for suicides.

    Comment by alki resident — 7:16 pm January 23, 2014 #

  18. Suicide is described often as a “deadly symptom of a treatable disease” – that being mental illness, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or something else. There is not always some catalyzing event. An FAQ of sorts from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/frequently-asked-questions

    Comment by WSB — 7:32 pm January 23, 2014 #

  19. Everything these days has to be a disease in order to get help. I refuse to believe that suicide is a disease. Yes, I get that mental illness can be a factor in suicide but I don’t think its the majority of people who take their lives. You can talk people out of killing themselves. Cancer is a disease, you can’t talk someone out of having it. There are too many copy cats out there jumping our bridge. If I didn’t know people did it, I wouldn’t of thought to do it myself. Every time someone kills themselves it goes noticed and then nothing changes. We need to make affordable changes to the bridge like accessible emergency hotline phones or like I said, signs encouraging people that they matter and discouraging them from jumping. I feel sorry for the people who work below and hear the body land, its got to be draining knowing what they just heard.

    Comment by alki resident — 8:23 pm January 23, 2014 #

  20. Thank you, Laura. My sister’s friend, the bus driver, says she will file a claim so that she can receive counseling. She is very shaken up. This is so sad for all involved.

    Comment by Teacher/Mom — 8:51 pm January 23, 2014 #

  21. This article is about the Golden Gate Bridge–from which 30 people jump every year on average–but it’s worth reading for some insight into this troubling topic, as well as how to mitigate it (short answer: bridge barriers).
    .
    “Is the traffic or road rage getting to these people and by the time they reach the bridge, they’ve had it? Did someone just get flipped off one too many times?” I’m guessing you’ve never dealt with or been close to someone who was suicidal. Among other things, a whopping 90 percent of suicide victims suffer from mental illness, often undiagnosed or untreated.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:42 pm January 23, 2014 #

  22. I drove by this scene shortly after it happened. I’ve had a lot of difficulty in my recent past and have considered this option myself. There is a stigma within certain professions (including mine) about seeking help for your troubles. Reading the prior comment that broadly clothes those of us struggling with depression as ‘mentally ill’ makes me feel even less likely to seek help.

    Comment by Qrc — 11:18 pm January 23, 2014 #

  23. QRC – I hope that you have a way of seeking help confidentially, then, and I am sorry that there is a stigma about mental illness. It should carry no more of a stigma than physical illness. But depression IS an illness of the mind. “Mental illness” does not just mean people who are so far gone they need to be institutionalized and/or heavily medicated. It means problems with which millions of people struggle – including depression and anxiety/panic disorder. I have dealt with the latter three times in my life and the first time, the worst time, is why I remain passionate about not sweeping suicide under the rug … I saw and felt, clearly, how life can be so painful that you can see no other way out of it. I decided to try to see another way, and got help. When I had a recurrence a few years later, I got help again … and then, again. If you call & talk to someone like the Crisis Clinic – to which I found myself referring my own mom when she spoke of suicide amid depression – they don’t have to take your name, you don’t have to commit to following up, but you might at least ask their thoughts/ideas on the situation that has you feeling you can’t seek help … Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 11:45 pm January 23, 2014 #

  24. QRC- Thank you for saying that. It goes to show what Ive said all along. I want you to go get the help and love you need from a good counselor and don’t let what other peoples stigmas get in your way. We are all human and our mind does really bad things to us especially if were alone and don’t have the right people to turn to.
    Depression is your mind taking over and controlling you. Ive been through it after a birth of a child and it sucks, you can’t snap out of it like some people think. Its not a disease.

    Comment by Alki resident — 8:27 am January 24, 2014 #

  25. Qrc, Please take WSB’s advice, and seek out confidential counseling. Please do not let anyone in or out of your profession, or the profession itself make you feel ashamed about seeking help.

    .

    You have a place on this Earth. Just think of the man mentioned in the Slate article, who survived his jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1985, recovered, and realised that he has a place on this Earth, and has been a Teacher for 20 years now. Just imagine the positive impact, and inspiration he must have had on hundreds of young lives these past two decades.

    .

    Take care.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:58 am January 24, 2014 #

  26. datamuse, thank you for the article link.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:00 am January 24, 2014 #

  27. In Ithaca, NY (a short drive from my hometown) the community experienced similar tragedies with Cornell University students. That area is known for high bridges that cross deep gorges, and the city recently erected barriers on the bridges to make it difficult to step off them; they even went so far as to install nets beneath some of the bridges. …perhaps the WS bridge could benefit from installing a higher barrier?

    Comment by Brandon — 9:53 am January 24, 2014 #

  28. Here is an email exchange I had with SDOT about suicide prevention and the bridge; I just posted it in the forums.
    .

    http://westseattleblog.com/forum/topic/west-seattle-bridge-suicide-prevention

    Comment by RG — 11:27 am January 24, 2014 #

  29. Thank you for sharing that, RG. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:50 am January 24, 2014 #

  30. I read once, it may have been in the SF Golden Gate bridge article that a person contemplating suicide feels like a person stuck in a burning building that there is no way from not dying, jump out the window or stay in and die from the flames…but there is a way… seek professional help because you are worth everything to live, if not to someone else but to yourself!!!

    Peace be with the one who took their life…

    Comment by unknown — 2:28 pm January 24, 2014 #

  31. Qrc, Please don’t take this as a flippant remark (it is the truth), but watching the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” had a profound effect on me and has kept me from having suicidal thoughts. Something to try?

    Comment by bolo — 5:25 pm January 24, 2014 #

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