Followup: Metro’s detour route when the 1st Ave onramp closes

We didn’t want to bury this new information by adding it to our previous story about the city setting May 17 as the date for the permanent closure of the 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound West Seattle Bridge – so here’s a breakout. We spoke with King County DOT‘s Linda Thielke a little while ago, and she said Metro does have the BUS detour worked out for the year and a half that there will be no way to get on the westbound West Seattle Bridge between I-5 and The Viaduct. First, the routes that will be affected:
21 local
56 local

Second, the detour route (we tried to make a custom Google Map but the line-drawing function is just not behaving for us, so that’s just going to have to wait): 1st Avenue South to Hanford (map), west on Hanford to East Marginal Way (map), south on East Marginal to Spokane (map), then across the lower bridge. Only one current stop, in the 1st/Spokane vicinity, will be missed, and this will only affect the “back to West Seattle from downtown” runs, since the 1st Avenue South offramp on the eastbound side will not be affected (also, the new 4th Avenue ramp on that side will open later this year). The one key piece of the puzzle that Metro is still working on: Travel times/scheduling, so they can create something resembling a predictable schedule for this detour. They’re talking with the city re: signal timing, for example. And Thielke pointed out one other thing: Metro also is trying to keep this all in the “big picture” – they can address what needs to happen because of this May closure, for example, but with all the other work scheduled in the area, they are trying to make sure things don’t have to change every time “another domino” falls. This domino – the 1st Ave. So. ramp closure – is part of the city’s Spokane Street Viaduct project; the official online info starts here.

14 Replies to "Followup: Metro's detour route when the 1st Ave onramp closes"

  • JEM March 5, 2010 (11:25 am)

    Too bad it wasn’t approved to limit bridge openings during rush hour! There will be no way to stick to a schedule when using the low bridge.

  • sam March 5, 2010 (12:35 pm)

    any plans regarding trains at that crossing that’s
    just before your turn off of E Marginal to get to the low bridge?
    one time, on the way back from Costco, (following that detour) we waited, stopped for a train for 20 minutes.
    we came up with a fun game to pass the time, and luckily the child was asleep in the backseat.

    the train was doing the sort of back and forth maneuvering – pull forward slowly, stop, back up, stop for 3 minutes, pull forward….
    if I had to sit on a bus for stopped at the train for 20 minutes, I’d pull my hair out.

  • Molly March 5, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    Won’t this affect the #37 too?

  • sodo_biker March 5, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    I bike commute this corridor daily and between the trains, heavy trucks and barges, delays are frequent. Adding buses to the mix is going to be a nightmare.

  • flowerpetal March 5, 2010 (1:14 pm)

    I’ve never been on the 37, but it appears that the 37 takes the viaduct when returning to WS from downtown and therefor will not affect the route at all.

  • Colleen March 5, 2010 (1:33 pm)

    I know that the low bridge limiting openings got shot down before, but now that this is a reality, is that going to be revisited? The whole light timing talks are great, but it seems the issue on putting together a time table is the bridge opening, not the lights (not sure if it was discussed the other night at the meeting sorry if it was and I missed it)

    • WSB March 5, 2010 (1:51 pm)

      Re: The low bridge – sorry, this is the article that I have been trying to write since Wednesday night’s Southwest District Council meeting and much of it is now outdated since we’re getting more info … But yes, SDOT’s Tracy Burrows, who accompanied Councilmember Rasmussen to the SWDC meeting, said they are talking to the Coast Guard about doing that at least temporarily during this time. I have not yet checked in with the Coast Guard re: the status of that request. – TR

  • sam March 5, 2010 (1:51 pm)

    oh, forgot about the heavy trucks. when you see them all lined up at a standstill on Alaskan Way, waiting to get into the Port, they’re not lined up on the low bridge, or are they ?
    what a nightmare.

  • buddsmom March 5, 2010 (2:30 pm)

    Welcome to pre 1978 in West Seattle. It was a common occurrence to be stuck in traffic 30 to 45 mins. while waiting for ships to pass through the waterway. This will totally screw up the route 21 local service (which is questionable as it is) as well as the 22. Add to that the game day traffic and it will be commutes of hours, not minuets.

  • Al March 5, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    If anyone wants to try (don’t worry, I understand that NOT EVERYONE can bike for various reasons) cycling into work this may be an ideal time. The route from West Seattle using Marginal is a quick ride – I can get downtown in the mornings w/in about 30 minutes and get home in about 40. A bit longer to Eastlake but only be about 10 minutes. Consistently. Even with nightmare traffic. OK, if the bridge is open that’s a problem but cyclists can cycle up to the sidewalk barriers so no big deal.

    I’m sure if people post interest in the Forums some cyclists will offer to help out. I would. Just saying cycling is not all that bad (nor are cyclists) and most drivers are very nice.

  • Molly March 5, 2010 (6:52 pm)

    All I can say is hallelujah that the water taxi is starting up again. Avoid the roads; hit the water.

  • Eric Goetz March 5, 2010 (7:55 pm)

    I wish Metro would extend the express service. I know they are adding more 21 expresses between 5 and 6pm, but that doesn’t help the rest of us that commute later in the day.

  • Al March 16, 2010 (9:36 am)

    I can’t find any info about WHEN this is closing, i.e. in the morning or the night…? Usually it’s after 7:00 pm of the day of closure. Any ideas?

    • WSB March 16, 2010 (11:04 am)

      We’ll have that info certainly as it gets closer … even though they’ve put a date on the traffic-alert list that too could be subject to change, before they get to the granular details.

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