TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday alerts & updates

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
No incidents so far on the routes through or from West Seattle.

TONIGHT – DELRIDGE GREENWAY/NATURAL DRAINAGE INFO: One transportation-related meeting tonight, a “drop-in session” at the Salvation Army in South Delridge (9050 16th SW), 6-7:30 pm, with information about the Delridge-Highland Park Greenway – which is under construction – and the Delridge Natural Drainage System project, which is about to get going.

7:19 AM: Speaking of South Delridge, SDOT reports a crash at Delridge/Cloverdale. No SFD dispatch at this point. (Not hearing anything about it on the scanner, either.)

7:25 AM: Multiple reports via comments and Twitter of a long-running low-bridge opening:

The cargo ship Elliott Bay is what’s going through, according to The day’s highest high tide was just about 10 minutes ago.

7:30 AM: The low bridge is open for surface traffic again. If you’re new, there’s a big backstory with the city attempting to keep the bridge from opening for maritime traffic during rush hours; the US Coast Guard has said no multiple times over the years – some history here and here. The sixth of 27 possibilities in the new West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report” suggests “developing a relationship” with vessel operators so that in case of an incident affecting traffic elsewhere in the corridor, they can at least get “early warnings” of the bridge opening for maritime traffic. (That’s one topic you might want to discuss at the just-announced meeting about the report and the corridor, 6:30 pm October 19th.)

7:49 AM: The “low bridge” is open again but that’s not showing on the @SDOTBridges twitter account. We happened to hear Harbor Island-bound emergency vehicles (checking out a fire alarm) mention it over the air as a reason they’ll be delayed.

8:28 AM: Via e-mail, reader says the bus-lane-enforcement officer is/has been out again today.

33 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday alerts & updates"

  • Neighbor September 30, 2015 (7:05 am)

    Lower bridge seems to be stuck open?

    • WSB September 30, 2015 (7:17 am)

      Neighbor, it just “closed to (vehicle) traffic” again at 7:13 am, according to @SDOTBridges.

  • newnative September 30, 2015 (7:07 am)

    The bridge is already slow and backed up on Admiral.

  • Neighbor September 30, 2015 (7:15 am)

    It was open for a very slow moving big ship to be pushed through way before the slow moving ship got to the crossing. Traffic westbound back up severely headed through lower bridge

  • Ktrapp September 30, 2015 (7:20 am)

    There’s a rather large ship just sitting in between the open lower bridge span. This looks like it might take a while.

    • WSB September 30, 2015 (7:25 am)

      Thanks. I’m adding a tweeted photo of the waiting bicycle riders.

  • scobes September 30, 2015 (7:29 am)

    Low bridge open to traffic now. Long backup.

  • schwaggy September 30, 2015 (7:43 am)

    Coast Guard’s policy needs to suck an egg.

  • Me September 30, 2015 (7:47 am)

    Annnnd it’s closed again.

  • Azimuth September 30, 2015 (7:51 am)

    Bridge closed to traffic again @ 7:50

  • Lisa Keith September 30, 2015 (7:53 am)

    Its 7:53 and the when flashing use high-level bridge sign is going? Open again?

    • WSB September 30, 2015 (7:55 am)

      Yes, it is. Also talking to SDOT on Twitter re: the @SDOTBridges account, which apparently has been glitching and didn’t show this one right away.

  • sgs September 30, 2015 (8:04 am)

    Priceless expressions, Kevin Freitas.

  • Andrew September 30, 2015 (8:21 am)

    The 8:01 Route 21 never showed up. 99 is backed up to Federal Way. The C is standing room only.

  • Smitty September 30, 2015 (8:29 am)

    So much for the “sunlight in our eyes is slowing down the morning commute” theory.

    Same as it ever was on this cloudy day…..

  • chemist September 30, 2015 (8:56 am)

    I feel like these low bridge “events” just help remind all concerned parties that “ride a bike” isn’t a real solution to the few paths we have for getting off the peninsula.

  • Robert September 30, 2015 (8:59 am)

    For the downtown bound, if you don’t mind a little walking both before and after, the Water Taxi is always a nice “hail Mary” on days like this.

  • Mr E September 30, 2015 (9:32 am)

    This morning a red car driving West on West Seattle Bridge was burning oil. A huge cloud of white smoke was causing visibility issues for drivers. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Your mom September 30, 2015 (9:58 am)

    Bridge commute not much better today.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident September 30, 2015 (10:36 am)

    I know everyone wants to blame the CG for determining when the bridge opens to allow maritime traffic to transit the Duwamish waterway, but that blame is somewhat misplaced.
    Larger ships are at the mercy of tidal flow for when they can and can’t transit.
    Heading out to the sound the most favorable and safest times are a slack (short period between the shifting of tides) or ebb tide; entering the waterway, slack or high tide. The bigger the ship, the more effect the tides will have.
    The absolute best time is high tide, the slack tide between high and shifting to low tide because of the greater depth and aid the water flow will give.
    So until someone can figure out how to set the tidal flow to shift tide only on off peak hours, you’re going to have put up with the occasional openings during peak traffic hours.
    People can also check ship traffic the day before to find out when and if the bridge is going to open and when, and then plan accordingly.

  • Alan September 30, 2015 (10:45 am)

    @Mr E – Burning oil causes black smoke. If it was white, then it is likely coolant leaking into the engine. If it was that bad, that engine is not likely long for this world.

  • Paul September 30, 2015 (10:54 am)

    Great point. Maybe it’s unrealistic for whatever reason to expect the low bridge to remain closed during rush hours. But, at least there should be an easy and clear way to schedule and communicate the openings with enough notice for commuters to plan around.

  • sc September 30, 2015 (10:54 am)

    “Time and tide wait for no man.”

    Geoffrey Chaucer

  • colleen September 30, 2015 (11:31 am)

    Many thanks to Ex-Westwood Resident for reminding us that the Coast Guard is not responsible for the tides.

  • Smitty September 30, 2015 (11:35 am)

    Makes sense Westwood, but I wish they would pick the tidal change/high tide that had the least amount of impact to traffic. Aren’t there two a day? Must have something to do with scheduling too as I would assume most of these boats have a schedule to keep and can’t wait around for 12 hours…..

  • JanS September 30, 2015 (1:03 pm)

    so all those big red BUS ONLY signs in the bus only lane, and they still need to put the cop out there to nail people? When will people learn that they aren’t special….?

  • Kevin Freitas September 30, 2015 (1:21 pm)

    @chemist — I disagree. Bike commute in this city is a great way to go. I easily beat the time a bus or car commute takes each day.

    Today, however the opening of the bridge was a) during rush hour and b) far longer than normal. Even if openings during peak times can’t be avoided, I’d echo a couple folks above and say had I had access to an approx. schedule of openings I may have taken the water taxi or just stayed home a bit longer and got some work done from there.

    Here’s a video of the long line of bikes (image if those were all cars) to give a sense of how long the bridge was open:

  • John September 30, 2015 (3:00 pm)

    @Chemist…..but it looks like Kevin just beat me out.
    I also disagree. I’ve been biking to work since 1988. Like Kevin, I too easily beat bus and cars door to door. I’ve probably only been stopped 10 times over all my years by the bridge opening.
    Please don’t give up on biking to work. It’s great for your health and keep your car off the road.

    One ting I will say is that this years fair weather bikers have been the worse I’ve ever seen. They have no respect for red lights, stop signs, or basic safety (lights, bright clothing, etc). They have been absolutely horrible.

  • East Coast Cynic September 30, 2015 (3:14 pm)

    I don’t knock biking to work for those who can. However, I do knock biking to work as a panacea for the systemic problems of commuting in and out of West Seattle to places far and wide in the puget sound for the critical mass, particularly during rush hours. We do need above or below grade public transportation for the mass of WS commuters to address our transportation problems.

  • Azimuth September 30, 2015 (4:03 pm)

    Time to tunnel under the Duwamish!

  • Captain Puget September 30, 2015 (7:43 pm)

    Maybe the city should have some long-lasting projects that dig up the streets in front of Coast Guard facilities around town. When they complain, maybe a deal could be struck about the rush hour bridge openings.

  • PSPS September 30, 2015 (8:32 pm)

    I doubt the sincerity of people who say “the Coast Guard won’t allow us to keep bridges down.” As I recall, we halted bridge openings @ Ballard and Fremont completely during the aftermath of the Duck crash on Aurora.

Sorry, comment time is over.