We weren’t here for the years before the “high bridge,” but we understand life was quite different when everyone trying to cross the Duwamish into and out of West Seattle was at the mercy of marine traffic. Now, we have the “high bridge” (completed in 1984) and the “low bridge” (completed in 1991), which elegantly swings open to allow marine traffic to get through. It’s that bridge Jennifer e-mailed WSB about to suggest a discussion:
I was wondering if there has been any discussion on the WSB or elsewhere about the opening of the lower bridge during rush hour? I began a daily trip across the lower bridge about two months ago, in order to reach my son’s day care on East Marginal, and I’m continually amazed at how frequently the lower bridge is opened around 8 AM and 5 PM, Âťpeak traffic times. Combine it with trains, the hellish traffic light at Spokane/West Marginal, and the occasional accident on the West Seattle Bridge (and all the folks who think they’ll beat the traffic by hopping down to the lower bridge), the roads leading to the lower bridge are gridlocked quite frequently.
Before I incur the wrath of indignant commenters (Ride the bus! Find daycare closer to home! Don’t complain because ships are people too! Go back to California!) I’d like to point out that this isn’t a whiney complaint; I’m really just interested to know what folks might know about it. I’m surprised that the trucking traffic coming out of all the Port terminals doesn’t take precedence over the ships passing through. Is there really a well-devised plan to take into account the needs of ship traffic, weighted against the huge traffic tie-ups that result during certain hours of the day? Forget the measly little commuters in their SUVs – what about the business impact to the industry in the area?
Also, my observation is that the lower bridge affects everyone who commutes in and out of WS – including bus riders, bicyclists, workers in the Duwamish area, truckers, and everyone on the ‘big’Ă‚Âť bridge – because when the lower bridge is closed, everyone heads up there and does some kind of crazy u-turn in the 1st Avenue South area.
Thanks for any insights.
Here’s what the Seattle Department of Transportation has to say about it. (The bottom-line quote from that link, “The Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge opens on demand, even during rush hour.”)