VIDEO: West Seattle Bridge Town Hall – 1,000 questions, 24 answers

(View the archived video starting 59 minutes into the clip)

5 PM: One month ago tomorrow, the West Seattle Bridge was suddenly shut down for safety concerns. One week ago today, SDOT announced the bridge will be out of service at least until 2022, and may not be fixable. Tonight, City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (who represents West Seattle) and Alex Pedersen (who chairs the Transportation Commiitee) are leading a town-hall meeting about the situation; SDOT’s Sam Zimbabwe and Heather Marx are expected to join them, with Seattle Channel’s Brian Callanan moderating. (Datapoint: Everyone mentioned above, except Pedersen, is a West Seattleite.) If you’re among the 3,000+ people who RSVP’d, you should have received a link for questions. We’ll be covering this as it happens, ahead.

Format as announced: Presentation until 5:45, then Q&A. In opening remarks, Herbold promises to work to ensure that SDOT takes constituents’ suggestions seriously, including traffic and oversight as well as about the bridge itself. She says 300 questions have been received already. Pedersen pledges to work closely to “expedite plans for next steps.” Then it’s on to Zimbabwe. Notation on the slide deck indicates it’s the same one from Monday’s City Council briefing, so we’re featuring that below:

Zimbabwe recaps the bridge history and why it was closed, and reiterates that they don’t believe the bridge is in “imminent” danger of collapse. He does, however, advise people to sign up for Alert Seattle just in case.

5:16 PM: Just noticed a change in the slide deck – more details on the cracking right before the bridge’s abrupt closure. “Four feet of growth in two weeks.” Will add screengrabs.

Otherwise, it’s recapping what was explained at the last two briefings (this past Monday and last Wednesday), and what happens next – the Pier 18 repairs, the shoring to stabilize the bridge, the determination of whether the bridge can be fixed.

5:25 PM: Marx now takes over to talk about what’s being done regarding traffic. She first recaps the low-bridge restrictions, and also mentions again that repaving is scheduled this Friday-Sunday for the Chelan/Spokane/Delridge/West Marginal “5-way” intersection at the low bridge’s west end.

New: A “what can you do” slide that pitches SDOT’s various communication channels (here’s the bridge-project website, which includes the email subscription link mentioned). She urges people to start planning for post-stay-home, and to follow the low-bridge restrictions.

5:35 PM: The Q&A begins. Callanan thanks the 3,300 who RSVP’d and 1,800 who are watching the stream. First Q: “Why not proceed immediately with demolition and rebuilding?” Zimbabwe: “We’re working to get the information we need to make that decision … the cost of immediately proceeding to replacement would be (a lot) …we have to stabilize the bridge to maintain public safety. While we (do that), we’re (looking at) those types of questions.”

Q: Is Seattle working with King County to increase water taxi service? Herbold starts the reply: “I’ve had some initial conversations with County Councilmember Joe McDermott” and says she’s talked with State Sen. Joe Nguyen and some port commissioners about the suggestions of involving car-ferry service too. Marx says they’re working with Metro re: buses and Water Taxi for a “full suite” of options. Zimbabwe says he has spoken with WSF and other transportation agencies, all of whom are willing to “roll up their sleves to help.” Despite known constraints, “nobody’s saying no” to any idea, so far, he adds.

Q: What about combining a new bridge with the light rail bridge (that is going to have to be built anyway)? “Nothing is off the table,” replies Zimbabwe, noting that Sound Transit’s light-rail EIS is due next year, but also noting that ST’s construction schedule is not set to start until 2025. Herbold adds that “if we want ST to consider a multimodal bridge in its EIS, the ST board would have to” order that change in their studies, so they’re working on what it would take to make that happen. “It’s possible a bridge could be operational before” the light rail.

Q: Medical worker says his commute’s become a nightmare. What’s being done to help alleviate that? Marx replies that “we will continue to work closely with Metro to ensure transit is robust and available” but reiterates that they can’t add more users to the low bridge because it will quickly become “overwhelmed.” She adds that when SPD isn’t there to enforce, people break the rules and it “creates a really dangerous situation.” What about off-peak? They don’t have enough data yet to know if that’s feasible.

5:46 PM: Q: Were the people who built the bridge available to consult on a solution? Zimbabwe mentions the plan for a Technical Advisory Panel (those slides were not recapped in this presentation). He says that 35+ years have elapsed since it was built so they’re talking to a wide variety of outside experts. “This is a complicated structure, it’s going to be complicated to repair …”

Q: Will private employee shuttles be allowed to use the low bridge? Herbold says she’s been fielding that already – Amazon, for example, had four roundtrips daily. Marx said right now, no, but they’ll continue to “talk with those larger companies. (but) the answers … might be different” post-COVID. (A few minutes later, Zimbabwe explained that they’re monitoring traffic on the alternate routes.)

Q: What is being done for bike routes if the low bridge has to be closed? Are other routes going to be improved? Marx says those are longer-range plans. Herbold mentions the East Marginal Way safety project and says they’re looking at whether any of it could be accelerated.

Q: Could a toll be used to pay for a new bridge? Zimbabwe repeats that “nothing’s off the table” but tolls are complicated but that hasn’t been discussed in any detail. Herbold says she’s meeting later this week with U.S. Rep.. Pramila Jayapal (also a West Seattleite by the way) to talk about federal funding options.

Callanan notes at that point that they’re up to 600 questions.

Q: Just bought a house in West Seattle. How will this affect property values/taxes? Herbold notes the County Assessor is accountable for that but “there may be an opportunity to make that request” as well as an appeal process. Zimbabwe says a few minutes later that they’re working “tirelessly” to restore the traffic capability.

Q: What’s the plan to manage the increase in traffic along Roxbury/Olson, and on Michigan leading to I-5? Marx repeats, “It’s really not an option for everybody who used their car to get to and from West Seattle” to continue to do that – can you do what you can “to lighten the load on the system? … No amount of spot improvements will replace the high bridge.”

6 PM: Q: No hospital in West Seattle – address that. Herbold says the West Seattle Junction Association is working with a health-care provider to see if they might locate “a small hospital” in The Junction. Marx says the lack of a hospital is another reason why keeping the low bridge open for emergency traffic is vital. But she also reminds people that Highline Medical Center is available, to the south.

Q: Why if the cracks were first noted in 2013 was nothing done, or at least, with worsening cracks noticed last year? Zimbabwe repeats that they were not proceeding in a major way for a long time and they were indeed “modeling” and doing some repairs – epoxy – the acceleration happened. He repeats that the acceleration happened “very very quickly.”

Q: Has there been any discussion with Army Corps of Engineers about building a temporary bridge across the Duwamish River? Zimbabwe says the waterway has to remain open to navigation but they’ll “look at every option to accelerate” and “will look at every one of those possibilities.”

Q: Can some RapidRide C buses continue on to Ballard? SDOT is “open” to ideas and working with Metro.

Regarding traffic on neighborhood streets, Marx mentions the lower-speed-limit signs ae being installed along the detour routes. (We had been waiting for a response on SDOT after several people mentioned the sign installation.) She urges people to respect the neighborhoods they’re driving through.

Q: Can the high bridge withstand a moderate earthquake? Zimbabwe says they’re concerned about its stability in normal conditions, so …

Q: Callanan follows up with a question about the condition of the 1st Ave.S. Bridge. It’s newer, Zimbabwe points out. (Editor’s note: We’re working on a story about that – it’s partly newer, one side is from the mid-’90s, one side dates back to the ’50s.)

Q: Can low-bridge maritime openings be halted during commute hours? Marx: No, but the Coast Guard has published a notice asking mariners not to request opening in those times “and we’ve had pretty good luck with that.” Herbold says she understands something “stronger” has been requested, as was used during three weeks of “Squeeze.’ Marx says yes, they have, but they need to do “some significant outreach to the maritime community” to talk about that but emergency-response plans (in case of a high-bridge failure risk) is what they are mostly working on now “with that community.”

Q: What about a bike-to-car space by the low bridge? Marx says they’re looking at that too but they really are stressing, try transit.

Q: Can Roxbury be striped to 4 lanes and create an HOV lane? Zimbabwe says they’re “open to all sorts of ideas.” He notes that they don’t want to “walk back” on Vision Zero safety projects (of which that was one). Herbold says she hears a lot about Roxbury and that her office is compiling detour-route traffic ideas and hopes to map those and break the peninsula into sections to tour detour routes and make specific suggestions. “I just want folks to know how we’re using the information you’re sending me.”

Q: Husband of an expectant mom who will need to get from Alki to First Hill wants to know if they’ll have to use the 1st Ave. S. Bridge. Marx says she can’t imagine a police officer not letting you through. “If your wife is in labor, feel free to use the low bridge.”

Q: The pile-driving question, as answered here previously. No, the work at Terminal 5 is not believed to be a factor – there was no damage to anything even much closer to the project. Herbold says she’s asked port and SDOT to talk about the pile-driving that will resume soon so she wants to be extra-sure it won’t affect the high bridge.

Q: What is a ballpark time range for how long it would take to replace the bridge if that were the only option? Zimbabwe says he thinks about that option but “we just don’t know.” He acknowledges some bridges elsewhere have been rebuilt quickly, but many factors would be involved here. “We don’t know if we could reuse the foundations, what permits (we would need) … I urge people to go out and see how when the low bridge opens, it opens very very close to the high bridge.” Overall, “We hope to answer that as soon as we can.”

Callanan says they’ve now received 1,000+ questions – many he asked were attributed to multiple people – and that council staff will work on the ones that didn’t get answered. At 6:30 sharp, the event ends. It should be re-viewable above soon; we also recorded off the screen so we’ll have it later tonight if the official archive lags.

6:59 PM: We just checked – you can now watch the archived video of the town hall above – advance to (updated) 59 minutes into the clip. Meantime, we’re covering the HPAC meeting next; as announced earlier today, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition has a bridge-focused meeting tomorrow, too.

274 Replies to "VIDEO: West Seattle Bridge Town Hall - 1,000 questions, 24 answers"

  • WSJK April 22, 2020 (5:03 pm)

    If Sam Z’s presentation is the same as the last two city council briefings and extensively covered here can we ask him to move along?

    • WSB April 22, 2020 (5:10 pm)

      Unfortunately this is a problem also affecting many meetings we cover … lots of recap. OTOH given some of the recurring questions, there may be many for whom it’s new info.

      • WSB April 22, 2020 (5:28 pm)

        There were two new slides. I added above.

      • Thanks April 22, 2020 (5:33 pm)

        This is my first time attending a virtual town hall or being able to watch Herbold, Zimbabwe and others discuss the West Seattle Bridge issue. I understand it’s repeat info for a lot of folks, but I really appreciate the recap personally since it’s my first exposure to this info. 

    • WSJ April 22, 2020 (5:29 pm)

      Or you can realize not everyone has seen it before and just be patient.

  • Onion April 22, 2020 (5:06 pm)

    i thought I hadn’t received my invite. But then I looked in my Junk folder and there it was. Sometimes junk filtering is too effective.

  • Steven April 22, 2020 (5:33 pm)

    They have not talked about the shuttle companies that the tech company’s have. Apparently the city refused to let those buses use the low bridges. Even if it doesn’t help all of us who don’t use it- just means less people in single occupancy cars. 

    • Also John April 22, 2020 (8:39 pm)

      It was discussed in the Q&A.

      • Steve April 23, 2020 (2:50 am)

        No benefit to the rest of us to keep those buses in City streets, out them on the list bridge and help everyone else. Did Heather answer?! Nope- “we’ll see” excuse! 

    • B Ackerley April 23, 2020 (1:47 am)

      As noted in Metro’s info, if they are only allowing 14 people on a 40ft bus and 18 people on a 60ft bus, what good does that do us? That is so innefficient and wasteful. Use smaller buses and reduce the 50,000 pound load on the low bridge that each of these behemouth articulated monsters creates.  SDOT is speculating that the weight of these 50k pound buses using the new bus lane on the east bound span of the high bridge was one of the contributing factors to the cracking excelleration. Microsoft’s Connector buses should be considered the same as metro and given the same permissions. Likewise transit vans for all local hospitals, VA,  Coast Guard, Harbor Island workers, etc. Those huge articulated, almost empty  buses are putting an enormous,  unplanned-for load  on that low bridge. Its electrical system is already problematic. Use smaller buses. Also, let more first responders through, especially after hours. 

  • Js April 22, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    Good questions. Let the back pedalling begin.

  • SH April 22, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    Can we get some REAL updates as in when we will have a NEW BRIDGE.  To Heather – NO I will not be buying and using a bike.  Sam Z needs to provide real solution – I DONT CARE ABOUT THE COST.  We need the bridge now. Why havnt they had a plan in place for years knowing the bridge was cracking?

    • Rumbles April 22, 2020 (5:48 pm)

      @SH  “WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE COST”?!  Come on, I seriously doubt that.  Further, you will not get a bridge “now”.  Face it — this is a multi-year problem as a best case.  

    • sdv April 22, 2020 (6:28 pm)

      New bridge over/under = 2027.  Cost will likely be 1.2B+.  Let’s start a gofundme to bend the curve to the left of both the estimates.

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:25 pm)

      They do not yet have a finalized plan to shore up the bridge, let alone the ability to decide whether to repair or replace it, let alone a plan to dismantle a complex and damaged structure, let alone the designs for a new bridge. So *NO*, they cannot give you any sort of reliable estimate for how long a new bridge would take and how much it would cost.

    • Leelee April 22, 2020 (7:35 pm)

      Honestly curious question— why no bike? I bike from south Delridge to around the sculpture park, takes me 20 min. If I lived by the bridge it would take me less than 15, and I don’t even seems like a lot of people don’t know how quick and easy a ride it really is! For those who are able, it is a fantastic option!

      • Pelicans April 23, 2020 (2:17 am)

        Good idea, but not all of us are as mobile as you. Wish I was…

      • WSCommuter April 23, 2020 (4:41 am)

        Not everyone is commuting downtown so bike/bus isn’t a viable option for everyone. Some have disabilities, healthcare issues or are older, those with kids in daycare have time constraints, and others need tools/equipment or go to multiple sites a day. In short, it is great that a lot of folks can/want to bike or take transit, but it isn’t a realistic option for every single person in West Seattle. 

        • Jenn April 23, 2020 (5:08 pm)

          I’m in the same boat as you WSCommuter.  I sound like a broken record.  I work in Bellevue and have a class that I take after work and have to go to multiple sights over there on some days as well.  Biking and public transportation is not an option for me either.  I seriously want to move.  I wonder if I can get out of my lease due to the WS Bridge?  Someone asked “why do you work in Bellevue?”  To make money!  What kind of a question is that anyway?

      • AN April 23, 2020 (6:19 am)

        I’ve considered riding a bike but it honestly isn’t feasible. My husband is a first responder and therefore has no flexibility with his schedule. We have 3 kids under the age of 6. It is not feasible for me to get my 3 kids where they need to be in the morning, ride my bike to work, have time to shower (because I will be sweaty after riding up the hills to get to my office), work a full day, and make it back on my bike in time to pick up my kids from childcare. I typically go in around 7 or earlier, so in the past it is much faster for me to just drive.

      • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (6:30 am)

        I think the number of people who are “able” are quite small and extremely over-assumed for purposes of wishing the problem away.  I have a household with high risk individuals.  Trips we take into town often are for physicians appointments.   Most others are for procuring things that aren’t available on the island.  And I have this really strange notion that I like a decent amount of metal around me protecting from others.  Until the virus is gone, any solution that assumes we’ll move out of our cars and into dense mass transit is faulty at best.

        • Foop April 23, 2020 (12:47 pm)

          For those who are able, it is a fantastic option”Why is it that anytime someone mentions a bike all the people whom it doesn’t apply has to chime in and say so. Read what people say, if you can’t ride a bike shut up and support people who can! How hard is it to say: “I would love it if we had more cyclists and safer routes! I can’t commute by bike but I appreciate fewer SOVs on my commute!”And to the last remark, the number of people ABLE is likely a majority – but the number of people willing is brought lower by so many factors, including rude drivers who fail to yield to cyclists, of many I’m sure are frequent naysayers here. 3ft of space folks.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (8:51 pm)

      ” I DONT CARE ABOUT THE COST. ” *BOOM* SH is willing to pay for the entire cost. Hopefully SH will send the cash to the City to ensure this project gets done as soon as possible. As Zimbabwe points out, yes there are some permits and such, but not having to worry about funding will help this project out very much.    

  • SM April 22, 2020 (5:43 pm)

    There’s no new or informative information in this presentation. ‘We’re thinking about it’, ‘all options are on the table’, ‘we’re working on it.’ Blah blah blah!! 

    • Katherine April 22, 2020 (6:28 pm)

      The history of the bridges over the Duwamish to West Seattle is full of drama, corruption, and people yelling. The original trolley tracks  never stayed true for any length of time, they had to keep rebuilding them every couple of years.  Then there was the unbridled corruption in the attempts to raise funds in the early/mid-70’s that landed a couple of people in jail. Rolf Neslund running the Antonio Chavez into the 1940’s draw bridge (which was the worst traffic choke point in the city at the time), finally caused the city to allocate funds for the new bridge. We survived with 2 lanes in each direction and for awhile a reversible lane at rush hour from 1978 to 1984. Traffic to West Seattle backed up to the Columbia street on ramp during rush hour. So two years is nothing. Even during construction of the new bridge, they ended up having to undo some of the new roadway because the east and west construction wasn’t going to meet squarely in the center. IIRC it was because of settling of some of the piers. The piers are sunk into river mud and fill, not bedrock. Remember, Harbor Island is not a natural island, the city created it from, ballast rock and dirt from the Denny  Regrade.  It’s a fascinating history, and of course did Ruth Neslund really kill Rolf and chop up his body in the bathtub? 

      • Barkus April 22, 2020 (6:43 pm)

        Katherine, I don’t know who you are but I want to hear more history from you. 

      • Ken April 22, 2020 (7:41 pm)

        Katherine – Nice bit of history.  As Barkus mentioned, it would be great to learn more from you.  I always thought Ruth Neslund put Rolf in the meat grinder (and mixed him with the ground beef) she used at her B&B on Lopez.  That could just be urban legend though.

      • wscommuter April 22, 2020 (8:49 pm)

        Macabre post script to ole Rolf … Ruth was the first person in WA history convicted of murder where no body was ever found (discounting a few undiscernable bone fragments burned beyond recognition in those pre-DNA testing days).  

      • Pelicans April 23, 2020 (2:11 am)

        Dear Katherine,Did people drive less, or what were the strategies, as you remember? Were there more small ferries running around the Sound in the ’70’s and ’80’s?Regards,B.

      • Meyer April 23, 2020 (7:20 am)

        If you read through this Twitter post and the replies you will find more information the concrete came from Korea which accidentally mixed in too much fly ash due to a mechanical failure at the mixing plant. This weakened the concrete. Further the funding of the bridge was filled with corruption and the bridge was built far higher than it eve needed to be (possibly to secure certain federal funds) which further reduced its strength. The bridge was built during a pretty bad recession and the bid from the contractor was very low, almost suspiciously low, so it wouldn’t surprise me if corners were cut.

  • WSJK April 22, 2020 (5:47 pm)

    Pretty sure they just called driving across the low bridge a “privilege” – interesting choice of words. 

    • Aerial Observer April 22, 2020 (6:04 pm)

      That’s because operating a private motor vehicle on *any* public roadway is a privilege — hence the legal requirement for a license from the state.

    • Tauarus April 22, 2020 (6:15 pm)

      Driving AT ALL is a privilege. Did you think it was a right?

    • Juju April 22, 2020 (9:10 pm)

      Hmmm… So, let me get this straight. One “legally” needs a valid drivers license to drive a vehicle which is also licensed to be on the road.

      Now, I may totally misunderstand this, but it seems to me that driving a motor vehicle over a road is a privilege earned by having a valid drivers license and driving a vehicle with a valid license.

      Or were referring to your flying car, which of course is different… because it lives in your imagination.

      Humans, never disappoint. Thanks for the laugh.

      • West Sea Neighbor April 22, 2020 (10:12 pm)

        Yes, you totally misunderstand this.

        • Ice April 23, 2020 (9:02 am)

          Operating a motor vehicle isn’t legally defined as a privilege?

  • SadAboutBridge April 22, 2020 (5:54 pm)

    I understand this is an unprecedented scenario and rebuilding/replacing a bridge of this size is no small feat but Mr. Zimbabwe/SDOT does seem incredibly interested in moving with any sort of pace. Someone asked about combining light rail and a bridge to save money (and maybe time?) and he scoffed saying everyone’s transportation budgets are being impacted and Ballard’s light rail isn’t even slated to begin construction in 2025 (read: no chance). “What is expedient and what will take some time are some of the trade offs we will have to weigh in terms of how quickly we get traffic back on the WSB.”

    This bridge failure is disrupting 100K daily drivers and passengers…what other infrastructure projects in Seattle are more pressing than getting this many residents moving again? 

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:32 pm)

      There is almost zero chance that combining light rail with a new bridge would do anything except make both take longer. If you would read a little closer, you’d see no mention of Ballard. The 2025 start date for construction is for the West Seattle line. What has no chance of happening now is any sort of tunneling for light rail in West Seattle.

  • jim April 22, 2020 (6:04 pm)

    Heather Marx,  Please understand the question on the Roxbury to Olson Way.  You side stepped  the question.  Improvements need to be made ASAP.

    • SM April 22, 2020 (6:21 pm)

      Totally. It’s insulting that her solution is that ‘people have to find other ways into town aside from Roxbury/1st ave Bridge because it’s not a workable solution for all of West seattle to enter or exit that way’. Ya think?? That’s why we tuned in today! Today is April 22nd. The bridge has been closed a month. Are you telling me that you’ve not been able to secure any other means of travel to downtown other than “get a bike”? What is more pressing for SDOT than this cluster? WHEN will you know about extended water taxi travel? WHEN will you know about using the Fauntleroy dock for water taxi purposes or passenger ferries to downtown? You’re WASTING our time!

      • K. Davis April 22, 2020 (8:57 pm)

        Ms. Marx will learn the hard way when the the stay-at-home ends and drivers flood the side streets of White Center and Highland Park to get around the gridlock on Roxbury and Highland Drive.  I’m sure folks who can will take buses, but buses will not handle the volume.  Those who still have to drive will cripple those neighborhoods.  Perhaps once that happens, the city will realize that they have to open capacity.  Yes – the choke point at the 1st Ave bridge can’t be widened, but that won’t be the main problem.  The gridlock will be up on the hill and those streets can be made more fluid by re-channeling to add lanes and aggressively timing lights during peak hours to favor pouring cars down Highland and Myers Way.  It’s still going to suck, no matter what, but there is some marginal relief that can be achieved if those steps are taken.  

      • LogicalHuman April 22, 2020 (10:11 pm)

        You are so right!!

    • 1994 April 22, 2020 (10:57 pm)

      Ms Marx is not familiar with Roxbury issues, asked the other traffic whiz to check it out. Maybe Ms Marx  is riding her bicycle over the low bridge to get from her home in WS to her job in downtown? Roxbury is too far south for them to be concerned about.

    • Julie April 23, 2020 (6:37 pm)

      IF they do not pay attention to Roxbury soon it will start collapsing like Barton has from all of the traffic.  Its already in seriously bad shape because its on the “line” between Seattle and unicorporated King Co.  No one wants to take ownership.  They created this mess and they need to repair the roads they expect us to use for the next 4 years.  Its a shame that WS is the largest residential area and we have NO light rail, minimal road repair and the answer to everything is get a bike or take the bus.  As folks mentioned that is not a solution for those of us that work in areas not serviced in those ways.

  • Greystreet April 22, 2020 (6:07 pm)

    Here’s what I’m taking away from this: 1. Unless you’re a transit user or 2-wheel hero there are no new options that will do much to alleviate any stress; 2. Forget the low bridge exists unless you’re in an ambulance; 3. Nobody wants to touch property value/tax questions; 4. A 90 minute town hall focused on what was done already and acceleration of cracks is NOT what residents want to hear, we want to hear the solutions, hear the suggestions, hear what SDOT/The Mayor and the Council are considering, and how quickly they are going to get it done

    • WSJ April 22, 2020 (7:28 pm)

      Re: taxes, no one took that one up because none of them work for the county. We elect someone specifically for this job, take it up with him:

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:33 pm)

      I’m sorry if reality does not meet your expectations. Have you asked to speak with its manager?

      • Greystreet April 23, 2020 (8:07 am)

        Oh there’s the super fun passive aggressive candor from the amazing WS residents I’m used to, while I’m waiting to speak with a manager I’ll incite real chaos and let my dog offleash too! :::gasps in horror:::

    • Tsurly April 22, 2020 (7:37 pm)

      You’re always very reasonable with your posts, so I will try to be polite. Lay off people who ride bikes. It is a choice, that comes with its own set of hardships, just like driving a car. You as a healthcare provider should be supportive of and encourage bike commuting given the health benefits of regular exercise. Secondly, and more importantly, they cannot come up with a timeline to fix/replace the bridge until they fully understand the cause of the problem. Do you prescribe medication without making a diagnosis? The reality is after they get the monitoring equipment installed, they will be collecting data for months to see how the bridge is moving and what is causing the movement. Only then can a remedy be developed. How much data is needed and how long it takes to collect it is uncertain, hence why they cannot give you a timeline.

    • Blbl April 22, 2020 (7:40 pm)

      And, oh yeah, don’t drive through other people’s neighborhoods. 

      • Bob Lang April 22, 2020 (9:57 pm)

        I was astonished  Marx said that.   They are public streets.   Very underwhelmed  by her remarks.  She seems to have her own agenda.  

      • Greystreet April 23, 2020 (8:10 am)

        If anything, the cutting through arterial routes is only going to INcrease in frequency because it will be folks trying to find the path of least resistance.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:01 pm)

      “hear what SDOT/The Mayor and the Council are considering, and how quickly they are going to get it done” “Quickly” is measured in years, so I expect there will be plenty of time over the next few weeks to get all your questions answered.

      • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (6:44 am)

        Quickly was measured in months for Santa Monica Freeway and the I-35 Bridge.  This is the only city and jurisdiction that seems to just take everything and “put it in the queue” unless it is to advance a social engineering agenda that puts you on MSNBC.  This is a situation that requires dropping all other priorities beyond C-19, redirecting funding, using the state of emergency to generate new funding, and absolutely expedite through permitting processes as opposed to sequential business as usual.  The added example is not procuring long lead material until the summer for shoring.  Guarantee 80% is able to be purchased now and it should be up front just to minimize the amount of added delays because some part turns out to be harder to get.  The amount of leeway people seem willing to be giving this regime is a bit concerning.  All the deferral and relegation to “standard procedure” and “existing processes” all fits a narrative to try to shape our needs into their funding and capacity timeline.  We should expect it to be the other way around.First firm step would be to establish a joint commission integrating SDOT, County, WSDOT, Fed and ST with a mandate of a plan in 30 days.  Period.  

    • Westy April 22, 2020 (10:18 pm)

      What’s a “2-wheel hero”? I ride my bike to work, but I don’t think it is particularly heroic. It’s just how I get to work. I really don’t get the animosity exhibited toward cyclists.

      • Greystreet April 23, 2020 (8:09 am)

        There are many anti-car individuals on this blog, and I’m not one of them, I have a car and I’m not going to stop driving it, period; I have nothing against bicyclists except for the microcosm of riders who feel they are above traffic laws–the arrogance of some bike riders who feel they are superior to other commuters who happen to use a 4-wheeled vehicle are the 2-wheel heros.

        • tsurly April 23, 2020 (11:22 am)

          That microcosm of cyclists who think they are above the law PALES in comparison to the number of drivers who think they are above the law; please place blame where if rightfully belongs.

      • NateT April 23, 2020 (8:24 am)

        Right you are Westy! No need to disparage cyclists, even if it isn’t an option that works for you.

  • Tsurly April 22, 2020 (6:07 pm)

    The most disappointing thing about this town hall: there was no instruction as to where I was to pick up my digital torch, pitchfork, vat of hot tar, and feathers. 

  • FedUp April 22, 2020 (6:07 pm)

    SDOT and the City has known about this issue since 2013. Didn’t make any plans for this. Heavy loads continued for the past 7 years. Great job city government. Now all of West Seattle is suffering. 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:02 pm)

      I recommend reading the reports–the SDOT/Seattle performed all the recommended maintenance. This closure was completely unexpected, could not be predicted based on what was known until recently.

      • Beth Waldron April 23, 2020 (12:45 pm)

        They however did know a year ago that the. Bridge needed to go down to one lane in each direction. Nothing was done about that. People weren’t told. Frankly we are all very, very lucky that nothing catastrophic happened in my opinion.  I understand everyone’s stress/irritation/frustration but at some point I hope people realize yelling/attacking people in the comments here isn’t helpful.  To everyone who is able to cycle to work and does so already, that’s wonderful!  Perhaps people in the cycling community can offer tips on routes etc from various neighborhoods to various locations? Offer some training rides…again safely due to the environment we’re currently in.  The facts are that not everyone is going to be able to cycle for a variety of reasons and that’s ok too.  People need to remember that drivers live here, pay taxes and help support the local community in a million ways and shouldn’t be villanize for needing a car to commute. I’m quite sure most people would love a viable public transportation method, so lets not pretend otherwise.  Beyond public transportation having a variety of availability/access issues, let’s not forget the cost. Personally it would cost me over $20 a day round trip. That is simply not an option for me, to say nothing of  timeline also involved.  Will I move? Certainly something I’m pondering.  Will there be better public transportation routes available? I’d hope so, but again if we’re talking about less than 20 people on a bus for the foreseeable future….it doesnt seem great.On a personal note is anyone doing a North Admiral to Bellevue (Medina specifically)  bike commute?  I am genuinely interest to hear from you if so!  I work in the restaurant industry which involves a lot of late nights/early mornings/10+ hour daysand I’m curious about how feasible it could be.  Perhaps with an e-bike?  Anyhow if anyone has insight on that commute via biking please let me know!

    • pjmanley April 23, 2020 (9:47 am)

      What FEDUP said.  Bingo!

  • Tauarus April 22, 2020 (6:09 pm)

    LOL to the question about home value! You bought a house – a decision I consider to be stupid anyway. Did you buy a place to live or an investment opportunity? If it is a place to live, congratulations…you have a home! If it was an investment I hope you were, and are, prepared to lose money! That is investing 101, investments can lose money as well as gain – did you think there was some guarantee your home would become MORE valuable over time? Too bad, so sad, I am happy to be a renter!

    • Bummer April 22, 2020 (7:29 pm)

      Thanks for the compassionate response to a valid question. IMO This question had more to do with the taxes a homeowner has to pay – if our “investment” is taking a hit and being devalued, it would be nice to have the reassessments done so we’d owe less taxes on the new, lower property value. For real though – This debacle has really brought out the meanness in the west Seattle community :(

    • Mmarie April 22, 2020 (7:47 pm)

      Way wierd response….

    • Scott Collins April 22, 2020 (8:06 pm)

      Wow.  Way to be empathetic.  I hope that you never make a choice that has a devastating financial impact on you do to circumstances outside your control, because I would hate to have to mock you for that.  

      • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:04 pm)

        There are homeowners who make the “big bucks” on their investment, but at the same time, as the “Financial Collapse” proved, home ownership is not without risk. Simply put, homes don’t always go up in value, and there can be “unexpected events” that cause values to go down.

      • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (10:38 pm)

        Not sure if a slight reduction in the value of your house counts as a “devastating financial impact”…

    • APM April 22, 2020 (8:33 pm)

      I rent too, and hope to buy in the near future. I love living in West Seattle. I hope the owners of our house don’t see their property value take a hit. I just don’t understand while there seems to be such a vocal minority that appears to take joy in the fact this bridge is closed, and seem to be rooting for this to go on as long as possible. Must be nice to be so unaffected! 

    • Frustrated April 22, 2020 (9:47 pm)

      Wrong Tauarus.   People bought homes — and started businesses and made other critical life decisions — with the expectation that the bridge would be there for the foreseeable future.   THe city has known about this since 2013 and said nothing and had no contingency plan.   Listening to this meeting was very depressing.  It is apparent that there is no sense of urgency at SDOT and that they have no idea how they are going to pay for a new bridge.   THe city should consider turning it over to a private sector company who would toll the bridge after it was complete.   It would be more expensive but I can guarantee it would be completed faster.

      • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (10:41 pm)

        THe city has known about this since 2013 and said nothing and had no contingency plan.

        Loving the selective comprehension here. Minor cracking was discovered in 2013, and is fairly normal for a structure of this type. It did not become an issue in need of mitigation until earlier this year.

      • tsurly April 23, 2020 (10:10 am)

        “People bought homes — and started businesses and made other critical life decisions — with the expectation that the bridge would be there for the foreseeable future.”While I agree with you, I also considered the fact that I was choosing to buy on a peninsula, with limited ways in and out. That consideration further included the understanding that any one of our bridges was susceptible to being damaged/closed/restricted due to an earthquake, an inattentive driver causing a major accident, planned/unplanned maintenance, etc.  

    • Picker April 23, 2020 (8:30 am)

      Congrats on being a renter!I was a renter for over 20 years and finally purchased a home, ironically next to the bridge in pigeon point. This deeply concerns everyone in west seattle, but Tuarus, you’re comments are ridiculous. Why are you relishing in the fact that home owners are at funancial risk?Have fun renting and when your landlord loses and has to sell the house, there will be tents available along marginal way for you to settle down in. 

  • Steve April 22, 2020 (6:10 pm)

    They said those corporate shuttles can’t use the low bridge, despite moving more people efficiently. I don’t use those buses – but I think it’s beneficial for everyone if they get those folks not using the same traffic channels as the rest of us. This is just poor management and no one really answered the questions. I’ve lived in 15+ cities in the country, but this is just zero accountability- most cities these folks would be fired- right or wrong it’s ownership. 

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:37 pm)

      I can kind of see why they want to avoid the issue, as it requires carving out an exception for big businesses. But then if every business starts trying to run shuttles, where do you make the cutoff? What if the “shuttle” is a small van? Where do you draw the line between a shuttle and a carpool? Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a way to do this. But it probably needs some actual discussion and not just a rubber stamp “yes”.

    • Calires April 22, 2020 (10:00 pm)

      Totally agree with Steve.  I love Seattle, I chose to live here out of many places that I could, and have, lived.  It is a beautiful city with many wonderful neighborhoods and amenities.  I even love the weather.  When people ask me what I don’t like about it, my answer is the ineptitude of city government.  I’m not one of those people who think government is a nefarious entity that solely exists to take people’s freedoms and hard-earned money.  I think that government is a necessity and can be a force for good.  That said, I have no faith in this particular city government to solve an infrastructure problem that has no social justice component for them to get behind.  I just don’t think they are up for the job.  If you look at this from the viewpoint that West Seattle is the client with a broken bridge to fix, would you hire the City of Seattle to fix it?  My answer is oh hell no!

  • usedcarsalesman April 22, 2020 (6:15 pm)

    Now that we have been told to re-think our use of cars, does anyone have an idea how to best sell your car from West Seattle. I had 2 interested buyers, but once they found out they would have to pick it up, they refused to come to the island to buy it. 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:06 pm)

      Price it lower.

    • CAM April 23, 2020 (1:24 am)

      If that’s a true story it’s pretty ridiculous. It takes an extra 15 minutes to get here right now even at rush hours. Nothing going on right now should prevent people from getting to or from here efficiently. 

  • TJ April 22, 2020 (6:16 pm)

    The city budget went from $4.4 billion in 2014.l to $6 billion in 2020. That is over a 35% increase. Shuffle money around. The stupid streetcar budget that was talked about is a start. But the urgency of this is way over the heads of SDOT or our politicians. We don’t need panels, or studies, or the typical Seattle process, and need this to be treated as the emergency it is. We have been screwed here twice in 40 years with the bridge. This needs to be expedited like it would if it was the Brooklyn Bridge, and with no tolls or special taxes on us here. 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:23 pm)

      Given perfect conditions, let’s say money were not an issue, how long until cars are driving on the high bridge again?

      • NM April 22, 2020 (10:21 pm)

        Best case: 12 month design time, 24 month build. Look at I35 in Minneapolis. 

        • BBILL April 22, 2020 (11:34 pm)

          The I35W bridge was a much different bridge design, a  much different project, including the fact that it did not require demolition.

      • Wseattleite April 24, 2020 (2:39 am)

        8 months could be the answer if it were treated as an emergency and not a bondoogle funding smrogazmorg  buffet for all the community outreach and EIS industries.  I am  afraid those leeches on the system will not give up theiir pound of flesh to study to death the scearious that are almost enldess in imaginary conclusions.  You think traffic and COVID 19 transmission models have been working well??  Ad :Climate Crisis” with the many more “variables”  that affecct results, and then say with a straight face you believe  any of it.  If you do, you are not one who thinks on their own.   You trust “experts”,  when common folk can see it for what it is. Mostly a guess driven by ideaollogy.  It could be 8 months, for a 100 year breidge that would have a good chance of carrying light rail.   That thinking is a almost “upsidown” from current thought and suggestions.  Pun intended.  Bolster what is not broken, to support what is.   It is done all over the world.  This would not be an experiment.  Yes I am an engineer.

  • sf April 22, 2020 (6:16 pm)

    I would like to take a moment to applaud the question of lassoing sea lions as an alternative transportation mode.  Thank you for bringing some frivolity and humor right after  yet another pontoon bridge question.  Your work is very much appreciated.

  • PAUL April 22, 2020 (6:16 pm)

    Let’s get Washington State Ferries to reroute Fauntleroy Ferry to Downtown. Most those cars travel through West Seattle towards downtown or the I-5.  Still maybe keep a few boats but not all of them need to come to WS. Let’s get West Marginal Way back to 2 lanes from Chelan Cafe all the way to 99.  The constant 1 to 2 back to 1 then 2 will create a major slowdown.  This is something that can be done within a week.  Merging causes slowdowns. Restripe the road now!  Heather Marx, We are concerned about lower speed zones? Why? You are wasting time and money putting up signs, come up with better solutions.City Govt. :  Let’s encourage more bus use and bike use.  Free bus for all west Seattle ingress and egress routes (even after the Coronavirus pandemic allows us to get back to normal) and cash rebates on bike purchases for WS residents. Similar to what the public utilities do for water saving toilets or low flow shower heads. Let’s get major employers to start bus routes. Starbucks has over 1000 employees who live in WS. Get em on a bus!

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:40 pm)

      The Fauntleroy ferry accounted for *maybe* 2% of the traffic on the West Seattle Bridge. The vast majority of the traffic is from West Seattle, not people passing through.

    • Also John April 22, 2020 (9:01 pm)

      I like the idea of a rebate on buying new bikes….also e-bikes.

    • listening April 22, 2020 (9:14 pm)

      Some fresh ideas! Thank you, Paul.  Hope they reach the right ears.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:30 pm)

      “Let’s get West Marginal Way back to 2 lanes from Chelan Cafe all the way to 99.  The constant 1 to 2 back to 1 then 2 will create a major slowdown.” Yes, the number of vehicles that can cross a given point with 1 lane is fewer than 2 lanes, but “quicker” through the two lane reductions only means that you’d wait longer further down the road. The “choke point” is the number of inches of width of pavement over the Duwamish. Seven lanes have been closed, and an additional two lanes have new restrictions. There is no way to suddenly gain 9 lanes of pavement over the Duwamish, and it does not matter how Marginal is configured. Finally, the northern merge does not have the inches of pavement width available for 4 lanes of travel, so there is no way to simply stripe the road to create that extra lane. For those two reasons the lane reduction by the Longhouse may be annoying to you, but in terms of total travel time, the difference is zero (unless, of course, you’re one of the very few who travel down Marginal and don’t cross the Duwamish, but the ‘extra’ travel time is ‘small’). This discussion is only about time, there are other considerations, such as pedestrian safety.

      • Rick April 23, 2020 (10:47 am)

        Continuing South on West Marginal to the South end of Boeing Field is a reasonable detour if the 1st Ave bridge is a bottleneck. Leaving an artificial bottleneck somewhere else is not good planning.

        • BBILL April 24, 2020 (2:22 pm)

          You call it “an artificial bottleneck,” others call it “safety.”

    • Calires April 22, 2020 (10:14 pm)

      I would also add to Paul’s list, let people work from home if it is not critical for them to be physically at work.  Most tech jobs are required to be in the office because there is this antiquated notion that good ideas and accountability only come from face-to-face interaction.  Not so.  Has the tech industry fallen apart in the last month since everyone is meeting on Zoom?  My customers have adapted well so far.  Being in the office is more of a social/work culture mandate, not a necessity as if you were a nurse or construction worker.  Of course,  many of the bigger companies (Amazon in particular) have invested millions in office space, so it would be interesting to see if they would let their WS staff keep working from home.

      • Jenny April 23, 2020 (9:04 am)

        I agree! It worked during the Seattle squeeze. Employers definitely won’t make exceptions out of the kindness of their hearts, though–local government has to spell out that expectation.

  • Mmarie April 22, 2020 (6:19 pm)

    Signed up yesterday. Never received the meeting link. 

    • WSB April 22, 2020 (6:38 pm)

      At least one person on another thread found it in their spam folder. I got it (gmail), my co-publisher (Outlook) did not, though we had both signed up separately.

    • Margaret April 22, 2020 (8:07 pm)

      Lack of consistent responsiveness and consistent communication to the public over time regarding the integrity of the structure put many in shock mode by the sudden closure.  I’d like the staff to acknowledge this.  I could then believe their transparency message.knowing the bridge had structural issues and that it is the main artery connecting a load get population to the “main land”,  how is it that developers got permits to rapidly build expanding the population who would put more pressure on the load?   I’d like to think there could be a coordinated over sight. if the bridge collapses ( say with more pile drilling scheduled, earth quake or weakening of the structure for any reason), what is the likely impact for number of feet from the structure? Gah! 

      • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:38 pm)

        First I recommend reading the reports that SDOT released for everyone to read. Lane reductions were recommended in late February, and that recommendation was for the reduction to be complete by the end of 2020. Then in March the recommendation was suddenly changed to immediate closure. Sam Zimbabwe discussed how communicating a lane closure of that nature can take 3-4 months, as in basically no one wanted to read the reports until after the closure. *YOU* could have requested the reports at any time, and you still can request the reports for every other bridge Seattle owns, and you can request other reports. For some reason, no one complained about lack of communication until the unexpected closure, which was immediately communicated. Also I have not found anyone complaining about the lack of communication about other bridges, such as the Ballard Bridge.

    • alki_2008 April 22, 2020 (8:39 pm)

      Signed up yesterday too. Never received a link, even in my Junk folder.

  • Beau April 22, 2020 (6:21 pm)

    Why are there not any representatives from the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Or SDOT at this town hall meeting? 

    • Tsurly April 22, 2020 (6:53 pm)

      Maybe because they have bigger things to worry about?

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:43 pm)

      Call me crazy, but I could have sworn Sam Zimbabwe and Heather Marx worked for SDOT…

  • Bob B April 22, 2020 (6:21 pm)

    The only answer offered about any traffic mitigation measures is “we’ve had some initial discussions about that . . .” It would sure be nice if someone could tell us what are the TOP actions they are exploring. Other than telling us to take the bus.  

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (7:47 pm)

      To be perfectly blunt, the only real options for mitigating traffic will be for more people to take transit, ride a bike, work from home, or work atypical hours. Your only other option is to sit in traffic. Nothing the city can do will change that.

      • dsa April 22, 2020 (11:56 pm)

        Not true, the HOV lane on the 1st Ave So bridge can be temporarily reassigned to SOV.  Also the So Park Bridge is a four lane bridge more or all of the traffic from Roxbury can be directed to it by closing the on ramp from it  to 509/1st So thus enabling use of the So Park bridge. 

        • CAM April 23, 2020 (1:28 am)

          They want to encourage more carpooling not less. They should double the HOV lanes. 

          • dsa April 23, 2020 (12:27 pm)

            And to  increase capacity over those two bridges in the interim  when your HOV lanes fail they can  resort to reversible lanes.

        • Ice April 23, 2020 (12:03 pm)

          HOV lanes move far more people per hour in rush hour traffic than regular lanes, so your suggestion would make things worse for a significant amount of people while having making a nearly imperceptible difference for everyone else.

  • SuperAwesome April 22, 2020 (6:23 pm)

    So far this update was pretty useless. Just about every answer was “we’re looking at that”. Alert me when there’s new info. 

  • Quinlyn April 22, 2020 (6:24 pm)

    Frustrating that more emphasis isn’t being put on the fact that many of us cannot rely on public transit due to various reasons. Yes establishing a more robust transit system would be great for West Seattle anyway but it doesnt really address the many issues involved in diverting to the first street bridge. I commute both north and south for various work sites and even with so many staying at home the traffic has been terrible. Seattle is going to loose a lot of business to a whole neighborhood because this isn’t a sustainable plan for people.

    • MJ April 22, 2020 (6:41 pm)

      I totally agree with you. 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:43 pm)

      SEVEN lanes across the Duwamish are no longer available. If you can come up with something magical that does not involved increasing the occupancy of vehicles, I’m betting the City would love to hear from you.

    • Keden April 23, 2020 (6:49 am)

      Yes, not everyone can use the bus/water taxi or commute by bicycle. I work in Renton, and the bus commute is over two hours each way. The city needs to do everything possible to keep cars moving. Buses will be stuck in the backups, even with bus lanes. 

  • dcn April 22, 2020 (6:31 pm)

    A toll would be difficult to implement unless they also tolled the lower bridge. People would divert to the lower bridge to avoid tolls on the upper bridge. And I don’t think we should be offering to pay tolls, unless every bridge in the city is also tolled (like the Aurora Bridge).

    • vincent April 22, 2020 (6:52 pm)

      Tolls are the reality if the voters demand keep demanding  services like roads while under-funding budgets, if you want 30$ tabs, then the only real stopgap is a user free for larger projects. Otherwise you can beg the federal government for a grant, but you have to get in line behind the collapse of the economy and larger cities with older projects.

      • dcn April 22, 2020 (8:43 pm)

        This is why I never vote for Eyman initiatives.

  • YES2WS April 22, 2020 (6:34 pm)

    Omg, that was so incredibly frustrating. I would love to have been a moderator tasked with keeping them on track with the questions. 

  • Sherlock H. April 22, 2020 (6:36 pm)

    Ah ha!  We’ve figured it out.  Heather Marx is Jort!

    • WSB April 22, 2020 (6:40 pm)

      I’m sure you meant that humorously but lest anybody take it seriously … no, she’s not.

  • DT April 22, 2020 (6:40 pm)

    Email them at 684/ w/ any questions & ideas! I will be.

  • Kyle April 22, 2020 (6:49 pm)

    Thank you WSB for this great coverage! Having a press presence like this is so valuable for the community. Especially with big impact issues like this that would get a much smaller clipping in other outlets.

  • Alki Beach Access? April 22, 2020 (6:54 pm)

    Was anything brought up about people coming into West Seattle trying to get to Alki this summer once the stay at home order is clear? How are we supposed to deal with loads of people who don’t live here coming in droves when we already can’t deal?

    • David April 22, 2020 (7:25 pm)

      What do you mean by “deal”? People always come to Alki when the weather turns. This won’t be any different. Get used to it. 

      • AlkiView April 23, 2020 (3:53 am)

        Alki’s loss is Tukwila’s gain…[Chuckle, snort]

    • WSJ April 22, 2020 (7:34 pm)

      I hope people continue to make the trip to Alki, dozens of businesses need summer customers to survive. And what is there to bring up about it? We can’t restrict the roads to locals, and weekend traffic would be a fraction of weekday anyways. 

    • Carlo April 22, 2020 (7:56 pm)

      I’m afraid the answer to this is simple: they will quickly learn to stay away.

  • erika Borges April 22, 2020 (7:06 pm)

    Neither of my questions got addressed, so looking to whom to direct them to, but in the meantime I post them here. I know there have been a LOT of discussions on how to alleviate the impending traffic situation in WS once the COVID restrictions are rolled back and people return to work. I am wondering about a few things, I have not yet seen be addressed.First, there are numerous students, both HS and College, that have to get to school outside of WS. What considerations are being looked at for these students to ensure they will be able to reach their schools in time when dealing with the traffic that will ensue?Second, in WS alone many people work for large companies such as Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and numerous other companies that absolutely have the means to allow for a long extension of WFH for these employees. Or ,at the VERY least, should be able to accommodate schedules for late start/staggered start to the traditional work schedule. Is the city talking with these companies to try to negotiate arrangements for them to do this? Getting even half of these employees who work for these companies off the commuting road would greatly help the traffic issues the entire city will be impacted with. 

    • Rumbles April 22, 2020 (7:51 pm)

      @ erika borgesFrom a Google search, who to address your SDOT questions

    • AN April 22, 2020 (8:23 pm)

      I asked the same question and it never got answered. I work for a large company downtown (not listed above) and would like to work from home almost full time with this going on. I currently am now due to Covid, but it will take pressure from the city for them to agree to letting us work from home once we’re “supposed” to be back in the office.

      • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (8:39 pm)

        Do you have a union? Maybe the union could push for more schedule flexibility. If you don’t have a union, have you looked into starting one?

        • AN April 23, 2020 (5:55 am)

          No I don’t have a union. Most don’t. 

      • J April 22, 2020 (9:40 pm)

        Same. I’ve asked my employer already if they can allow the WFH to continue longer but we need the city put some pressure on them. 

    • Tony April 22, 2020 (9:26 pm)

      This is, in my opinion one of our only real options for headway once the covid-19 shut down ends. Employers who have had their employees working from home for what will be IMO close to 4/5 months need to, with encouragement from the mayor and city council, allow/encourage employees who live in west seattle to continue to telecommute or work from home after others return to work. It’s our only real option to help alleviate congestion.

  • vlado April 22, 2020 (7:15 pm)

    I doubt that there are many who watched this town hall who came away with a sense of confidence  in SDOT, or our city government.  Noone on the panel was technically capable of answering the key questions regarding the bridge failure.  No structural engineers or technical staff, just politicos who are a barrier to understanding the massive problem facing West Seattle.  Sam Zimbabwe is a big picture policy wonk and Heather Marz is a communications specialist.  This is a capital project problem that reuires an entirely different mindset.  One thing that I have learned after decades of involvement on transportation issues is that unless you get to the technical people doing the work, you will never get to the answer.  

    • Jon Wright April 22, 2020 (7:47 pm)

      What “answer” are you expecting? There are no answers! Harping about “the key questions” over and over isn’t going to magically conjure up anything new! We’re a month into what is likely a multi-year process. Projects like this don’t happen any faster just because impatient people think they should.

      • vlado April 22, 2020 (9:01 pm)

        The last major project I was involved with was SR99, which took over a decade, so I certainly understand the time it takes to deal with complex transportation projects.  Having said that, step one is getting the facts straight so that we can (eventually) get to the correct course of action.  That is why getting direct access to the technical people is essential.  

        • KM April 23, 2020 (8:25 am)

          I don’t think engineers should have to deal with questions from the peanut gallery. That’s what elected officials and public-facing leadership positions are for. Plus, if engineers showed up to sit through these public meetings, people would cry that they are wasting time not working on the bridge and instead sitting through a “dumb town hall” or whatnot.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:57 pm)

      SEVEN lanes crossing the Duwamish were suddenly and unexpectedly shut down. That capacity cannot suddenly be replaced. If you have some magic way to quickly add SEVEN or more lanes of pavement across the Duwamish, please let the City know.

      • ARPigeonPoint April 23, 2020 (10:21 am)

        Okay, you’ve posted that response multiple times now.  We’ve seen it.  Thanks.

  • WS-ite April 22, 2020 (7:30 pm)

    Does King County Metro Vanpool count as public transit and therefore lower-bridge eligible?

  • William L Tracey April 22, 2020 (7:34 pm)

    Let’s talk about shoring up the bridge. Shoring is required to: a) Inspect damage to the bridge b) Make repairs to the bridge c) Tear down the existing bridge to replace it.Why aren’t SDOT starting the shoring?

    • bill April 23, 2020 (9:29 am)

      Perhaps because Home Depot does not stock Large Bridge Shoring Kits locally.

    • dsa April 23, 2020 (2:03 pm)

      I think it is not safe to start shoring until pier 18 movement bearing is restored to working condition.  That procedure has to be done correctly or disaster could happen to the center span.  So I suspect SDOT wants to have a consensus of experts on board with that direction.

  • Js April 22, 2020 (7:40 pm)

    I forgot about Summer on Alki. Visitors down for the businesses for sure. The only upside will be no hostile cruising and random violence, I guess.

    • AlkiView April 23, 2020 (3:56 am)

      That is one fabulous upside! Free Alki from the biker rabble!

  • Tim K April 22, 2020 (7:44 pm)

    Just took in the whole meeting. While the offers of “everything is on the table” for traffic alternatives and mitigation seem sincere, some answers say otherwise. If I understood Heather Marx correctly, corporate/private shuttles aren’t considered “transit” for use of the Spokane swing bridge…at least not for now. That should be an easy “Yes!” (And, no, that doesn’t help me.) As for other use of that bridge, I watched traffic cam video this afternoon as a police officer diverted some vehicles and not others. Some passenger vehicles were let through, while others weren’t. One local plumbing company van was let through and an area mechanical company van was turned away. (Why?) When the officer wasn’t there, (and maybe he had a partner on Harbor Is.) dozens of passenger vehicles cycled east and west every few minutes. We don’t need police there to determine “winners and losers” and they probably don’t want to be there either. Yes, we should all obey the restrictions, but let’s know what they really are. Study the traffic load and settle on the authorized use.Then install cameras and issue passes like the “Good to Go” system. That way, we all know there’s a system in place and if someone wants to violate it, they get a HEFTY fine in the mail…no need to pull anyone over. If your wife’s in labor and you need to get to a downtown hospital, take the bridge, get a ticket and have a simple appeal process. I know, “one more thing to do” with a newborn (been there), but for that or an ER visit — get a note from your doctor. It could be a standard form the city provides to hospitals that you send in with the ticket. We’re all going to have to make adjustments.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (9:59 pm)

      The low bridge is open to “freight,” whatever that includes.

      • WSB April 22, 2020 (10:01 pm)

        Big trucks. We’ve already had that one answered. Not package-delivery-type trucks; tractor-trailers.

  • Sherlock H. April 22, 2020 (7:48 pm)

    Ah ha!  We’ve figured it out.  Heather Marx is Jort!

  • TJ April 22, 2020 (7:50 pm)

    I’m guessing rerouting ferries downtown isn’t a option as that would disrupt the schedules from Bremerton and Bainbridge. The Coleman docks constantly are either loading/unloading a boat or the next one is due within minutes. I would hope they are planning right now to replace the 3 center sections as my guess is that is what will need to be done. And get started right away. Any talk of rebuilding the bridge and lowering it to accommodate light rail since it will supposedely only have 10 years of life is ridiculous. People acting like going from 2 years to 5 is worth it? The politicians here like to throw around “bold plans” when referring to their pet social projects. I’d like to hear that for getting our bridge back, like JFK’s goal to get to the moon. I won’t hold my breath 

  • Beth Waldron April 22, 2020 (7:50 pm)

    I havent done any looking into this, but does anyone know if vanpools will be able to use the lower bridge?  I’m assuming not if corporate shuttles aren’t but I would love to find out I’m wrong!  Also….I commute to Bellevue, Medina specifically,  and often work off hours but would any other Bellevue/ Eastside bound West Seattlelites be interested in trying to form some sort of carpool group/meet up? If there is enough of us we could hopefully cover a variety of schedules.  It would take some planning, but I’d be willing to give it a go if people are interested!

    • Anne April 22, 2020 (9:42 pm)

      I sent emails to our reps as well as contacted King Country transit with that very question and as it stands now the answer is no until there is data to support classifying VanPools officially as transit. In the meantime, go on King County Transit website and from there it gives information and the process to organize a VanPool. The gentleman at King ConTransit said there are at least 100 vans ready to go, but sadly cannot use the lower bridge…yet?

    • Go gull April 22, 2020 (10:15 pm)

      Good thinking! Maybe people could begin to organize carpools using the Community Forums section of WSB, or some other platform.

  • Beth Waldron April 22, 2020 (7:54 pm)

    Using appropriate safety precautions of course!  I’m sure sitting in a car with strangers doesn’t sound good/like a great solution to anyone right now, however with right precautions could work…couldn’t be any worse than being on the bus!:)

  • uncle loco April 22, 2020 (7:55 pm)

    I shoulda bought a house in Shelbyville.

    • Topo Chico April 22, 2020 (9:41 pm)

      Nah, you should have bought in Brockway, Ogdenville or North Haverbrook!

  • Wsresidentsince1985 April 22, 2020 (7:59 pm)

    Was there no mention of putting 35th back to 2 lanes each way? I saw the Roxbury question, but 35th is an even longer stretch of 1 Lane. And I agree with many of you that they had no helpful information at all. If they are all West seattlites, why do they not feel the urgency here?! Do they get to take the lower bridge?

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:02 pm)

      No capacity was lost on 35th, or Roxbury. SEVEN lanes crossing the Duwamish were closed. Widening 35th to 10 lanes won’t add a single lane across the Duwamish. Same with Roxbury, and so on and so forth. Sure there will be surface streets that are congested from the sudden new demand, but no matter the “improvements” made, the number of lanes crossing the Duwamish is down by seven.

      • Bunnyfer April 23, 2020 (1:40 am)

        Dude, you can shut it with your SEVEN lanes across the Duwamish noise. Opening up lanes on 35th, Roxbury, Holden and Delridge is to alleviate congestion even further into WS. I live on 35th in the 3 lane part, and I have to travel south, not north, for work. Making sure those who don’t need to cross a bridge can get through quickly is just as important as bridge access. 

        • 1994 April 23, 2020 (10:13 pm)

          Totally correct – it is about keeping as much traffic moving as possible by allowing those that need to drive south be able to drive south and get out of the way for those going east and north over bridges….  I live near Roxbury, on the road diet end, and just getting over to White Center from 35th can take 6 to 8 minutes because cars are lined up one by one. Maybe if they are lined up 2 by 2 it would only take 4 minutes like it did when there were 2 lanes in each direction? 

      • chemist April 23, 2020 (2:53 am)

        It’s not about lost capacity, it’s about expecting greater volumes for the next few years, with most of the new traffic being predictable.  Pre-35th SW Phase 1, the volumes at Morgan and South were noted as 20-15,000 by SDOT.  That section of 35th SW road diet is now being marked as a detour for everyone coming south from California.  It’s totally reasonable to expect traffic volumes to double once COVID19 restrictions relax and that would not meet FHWA recommendations for the road diet at that point (suggesting the prior 4 lane configuration would be better).  It’s data-driven to evaluate the detour corridors with fresh eyes based on living with increased volumes for the next few years rather than refuse to adjust any prior projects based on earlier conditions.

        A 2011 Kentucky study showed Road Diets could work up to an ADT of 23,000 vehicles per day (vpd). … The FHWA advises that roadways with ADT of 20,000 vpd or less may be good candidates for a Road Diet and should be evaluated for feasibility.

        • 1994 April 23, 2020 (10:16 pm)

          Yep – as Jim Curtain from SDot, the face of the road diet said, it is just paint. Doesn’t that imply the roads, 35th and Roxbury, can be un-dieted and restored to 4 lanes easily??? Where is Mr Curtain these days? 

          • chemist April 24, 2020 (1:18 am)

            Jim still is at SDOT as far as I know.  He was in a story where he was talking about possible changes to the Holden/Highland Park Way intersection back in October.  It’s good to see that slide deck again, since it shows traffic volumes of 15k on the West leg of Holden and 20k on the Highland Park Way segment to the north.  I’m guessing the full intersection re-design of Holden/HPW is on hold given these new developments.

  • JT April 22, 2020 (7:59 pm)

    The Town Hall was less than informative, and in fact, torpedoed any confidence in the leaders on the call (I went into it feeling neutral about all of them as a newer resident). Clearly none of them has had even basic media training. If you’re going to engage with the public you need to come prepared to *answer questions* not pass the buck back to us to “figure out what to do” (thanks Heather Marx, super helpful) or tell us you’re “open to ideas” (we could have played a drinking game to that one, Sam Zimbabwe). Oh, and the property tax issue. Lisa Herbold, we’re looking to you to help answer this, not to pass us on to the assessor. The bridge situation is what’s going to cause property values to stagnate, at best, not “our neighbor’s values.” Our entire community is impacted by this! Therefore we need to be assessed as a community impacted by this disaster, not as individual homeowners. 

    • WSJ April 22, 2020 (8:42 pm)

      Why does everyone think the city has ANYTHING to do with property valuations? We have an elected KC official who’s job it is to manage this, explicitly. Take it up with the county. 

      • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (10:52 pm)

        Other than adding to what is collected on those valuations.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:05 pm)

      With seven lanes of pavement suddenly closed crossing the Duwamish, other than plan to walk, bike, use public transit, no one has any immediate answers on how to replace the capacity, but if you do have an idea on how to add capacity to cross the Duwamish, please contact the City and let them know your idea on how to replace seven lanes of capacity.

    • Stickerbush April 22, 2020 (10:13 pm)

      A couple of things to know about property taxes.1) Property taxes are managed and collected by King County, not the city of Seattle. 2) Assessed values are required by law to be fair market value. If indeed property sales prices go down in WS  compared to the rest of the city then assessed values should reflect that. It will take a couple of years for this to play out and be reflected in tax bills if this is what happens with real estate values.

    • Ersatz Mossback April 22, 2020 (10:56 pm)

      I’ve lived in West Seattle for 18 years and feel the same as JT on this one. There was no sense of urgency from Herbold, Zimbabwe, or Marx. Herbold’s answer to “take property values up with the assessor there’s an appeals process blah blah” was ridiculous. Yes, I know it’s not the City that does assessments. Thanks. I’m a more or less functional adult, so I have in fact noticed who that bill comes from. But as someone who is supposed to REPRESENT the District, do you seriously have no interest in finding a more scalable solution than each and every one of us going through an assessment appeal? The appeal system would f-ing break down under that approach. Just futile and disappointing. 

      • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (7:01 am)

        If only we had someone in the neighborhood who worked for King County, perhaps high up in the organization.  Hmmmm….if only….

    • KG April 23, 2020 (12:17 am)

      Spot on assessment JT!  Totally agree. The collective passive tone and lack of strategy was astonishing and the meeting only served to further heighten anxieties.  A simple “here’s our 5 point plan to date” would have gone a long way to easing the near hysteria this infrastructure emergency is stoking.  “We need to come together as a community” is not a leadership statement. This is not about the convenience of driving.  This is about losing access to jobs and schools.  It’s about plummeting property values.  It’s about safety.  And it’s shocking.  Acknowledge the severity of the situation and outline a plan.  Lead or step aside for someone who will.

  • Boop April 22, 2020 (8:04 pm)

    What is the fine for crossing the low bridge when not authorized?

  • Scott Collins April 22, 2020 (8:14 pm)

    Three things.1)   Tear it down.  Stop analyzing and tear it down.  It’s an eventuality anyway so let’s rip the bandaid off quickly.  If I understand the history correctly, the original bridge was built in 3 years without the advantage of an existing structure, hopefully much of which can be re-used or at least just replicated.2)  Permits?  Really?  This will be a limiting factor?  3)  We need a heliport.   Joking4)  Refusing to undo the two lane to one lane pinch point on West Marginal is asinine.  It’s just a bunch of plastic pylons.  Someone explain to me why this doesn’t make sense.OK….one more.  Is there any reason why they can’t manipulate all the signals out of WS, esp the 5 way, so that there are really long green lights with the flow of traffic…ie out of WS in the AM, back in the PM?

    • alki_2008 April 22, 2020 (8:53 pm)

      Yes. #1.  Just assume replacement, since it will have to happen now or within 10 years.  Save the shoring up time and start dismantling, rather than shoring now and removing all the shoring work when it gets torn down anyway.

      • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:07 pm)

        SDOT was clear: The shoring must be completed regardless of if it’s going to be repaired or torn down. The shoring must be completed to tear it down. So there is no “save the shoring up time and start dismantling” option.

      • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (10:15 pm)

        You have to shore the bridge first before you can safely dismantle it. The shoring has to happen one way or the other.

        • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (10:56 pm)

          Someone else mentioned this in response below. For tearing down, I am wondering if the shoring up is a shorter and different process.

          • ColumbiaChris April 23, 2020 (2:14 am)

            Probably pretty similar requirements for either decision, because both repair and dismantling likely require heavy equipment to be able to access the bridge without it collapsing.

          • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (7:07 am)

            There was hesitancy in the answer that kind of hit on this; I do believe Sam and the SDOTs are on a path to juice 10 more years out of this if at all possible.  This I believe to be a grave error as nothing in this tells me that it’s going to be anything other than spend the $ to shore it up for repair and find out that it can’t be repaired.  Would like them to put more energy into the “art of the possible” for a new bridge quickly.

      • Alki Heights April 22, 2020 (11:37 pm)

        We keep saying it’s only would last for ten years if we can fix it…Where did we get this ten year figure? That my big question! Why wont it last for, Lets say thirty more years?

    • wscommuter April 23, 2020 (2:29 pm)

      Since we don’t know what is technically feasible, I realize my opinion isn’t worth much … my initial take was to agree with #1 – tear it down and go straight to rebuild.  But if – IF – a repair can get the bridge open in 2-ish years, whereas any tear-down/rebuild will be more like 4+ years, I am probably in favor of the fix-it option.  Taking the time to do it right probably makes more sense in the long run – to avoid the urge to be penny-wise and pound foolish by rushing straight to a new bridge.  Yes, it would mean “wasting” $50M (I’m upping the current $33M estimate) on the short-term fix.  But that is pennies on the dollar to the replacement which will no doubt be closer to $1B.  In order to fund a new bridge, we’re going to need federal help (hello Senators Murray and Cantwell – we need you on this) and that will take some time, as will designing and building the new bridge.  I think I’d rather see the current bridge opened quicker (if it can be at all) and buy the time (8 years or so) to design and build the long-term replacement.  

  • Blbl April 22, 2020 (8:19 pm)

    ‘Think about buying a bicycle”.  Nice.

    • alki_2008 April 22, 2020 (8:51 pm)

      Yeah.  My elderly neighbors that regularly drive to First Hill for medical treatments are going to buy bikes.  And biking in the rain is not a problem at all, and very safe when it gets dark at 4pm.  <s>

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:08 pm)

      There are other options, such as “Think about moving,” “Think about transit,” “Think about staying in West Seattle,” and so on and so forth.

  • APM April 22, 2020 (8:41 pm)

    The Empire State Building was built in a year (during the Great Depression no less). It took 8 years from JFK’s speech to put a man on the moon. There you have it – the West Seattle Bridge is more complicated than the Empire State Building, but thankfully not as complicated as spaceflight! 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:11 pm)

      Something is telling me the ESA, signed into law by Nixon in 1973, did not exist during the Empire State Building, but even if it did, I suspect far fewer salmon were swimming around the building site. Oh, yes, that’s right, that’s only one part of compliance, there is also the CWA, Rivers and Harbors Act, and so on.

      • CAM April 23, 2020 (1:39 am)

        And I’ll bet you more workers died or were seriously injured building it than will be true for the WSB. 

      • ColumbiaChris April 23, 2020 (2:17 am)

        That timeline of one year to build the Empire State Building also probably doesn’t include the time to shore up and demolish a structurally unsound skyscraper already occupying the city block where the new tower needed to go.

      • Steve April 23, 2020 (2:45 am)

        Haha. Right…Yet the GW bridge had never been closed in NY/NJ for longer than a weekend and moves 3-4x as many people…Stop with the Seattle style excuses. People screwed up here and I 35- no excuses. Same people that didn’t sign up for light rail when federally offered- short sighted and close minded thinking. 

    • Joe Z April 23, 2020 (7:33 am)

      I’m sure if we devote 10% of the federal government’s budget to the bridge we’ll have a replacement in faster than 8 years.

  • sna April 22, 2020 (9:00 pm)

    I’m not sure I learned a ton new info because I’ve been following closely, but thought the meeting was a great idea and appreciate them setting aside 45 mins for questions.  And I actually liked the virtual town format hall better than the in person ones since the effort to attend is so much less.

  • Thistles April 22, 2020 (9:04 pm)

    Has it been discussed anywhere that using public transit is going to be a problem for awhile due to COVID? Was it even acknowledged during the meeting? Anyone who rides the C-Line knows how jam packed those buses used to get. There’s zero possibility for social distancing. How safe can it be, even after the city officially reopens? But all they keep saying is to use transit. 

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:13 pm)

      Inslee had a press conference today that addressed the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, but “social distancing” was going to be in place for some time. I suggest calling King County Metro and asking. The City of Seattle does not operate the transit.

    • MLM April 22, 2020 (10:58 pm)

      This is an excellent point and from what I can tell it was not addressed. I’m an essential worker.  Right now my company’s policy is ‘no transit’ to help limit possible exposure. I brought this back up to my bosses after the bridge was closed and it was still a resounding “no” to taking the bus. It adds a layer of complexity that I fear they are not addressing. 

    • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (7:10 am)

      I’ve been asking this question in multiple forums, including submitting it last night.  Crickets.  It’s all fun and games to say “go board a bus” but how many times were we already complaining about not being able to board buses during commute hours because they were full?  Without testing/vaccine, this is a bit like eating cotton candy for nutritional fulfillment.

  • sna April 22, 2020 (9:06 pm)

    A few things they did seem to confirm: One of the final answers confirmed that a “rebuilt” bridge *might* reuse the existing piers.  And that would speed up and lower costs of a rebuild quite a bit I would imagine.  The docs confirm they’re only worried about the 1/4 mile high bridge, not the entire 1.5 mile roadway we broadly call the west seattle bridge. Question regarding a light rail shared bridge got a very lukewarm answer noting it could drag out the schedule (and, IMO, makes no sense if you’re only potentially replacing 1/4 mile).  They’re afraid of hurting the feelings of the urbanists. 

  • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (9:07 pm)

    After the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, state and local leaders came together quickly with funding and rebuilt in one year and under budget – study this innovative approach. And please, no Seattle five year process – get it done, now. Oh yeah. Sam Zimbabwe needs to go  yesterday, and a bold visionary leader who will get right to work  needs to be appointed. We have had two awful  SDOT leaders in a row, and this needs to change.

    • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:14 pm)

      One major difference, one thing that did not have to be done with the I-35W bridge is shoring it up before tearing it down, as it was already in the Mississippi.

      • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (10:41 pm)

        True, but the process was expedited and efficient with various governmental entities working well together, and across political divides – we shall see if Seattle can turn a new leaf in this regard. I’m not hopeful.

        • BBILL April 22, 2020 (11:43 pm)

          If Seattle can get the Federal Government to expedite this, then yes, that’s great, but if the Federal Government does not expedite the project, don’t blame anyone in Seattle. My personal experience as of late is much different than a few years ago–nearly everything moves much more slowly as of late.

  • lowmanbeachdrive April 22, 2020 (9:23 pm)

    Is there a possibility that the lower bridge will fail as well? I thought I heard that.  

    • WSB April 22, 2020 (11:39 pm)

      The lower bridge needs maintenance work. What you probably heard was another allusion to the fact that if the high bridge seemed in imminent danger of falling apart, the low bridge would have to be shut down.

      • BBILL April 22, 2020 (11:44 pm)

        Hopefully the lower bridge passes its upcoming stress test.

  • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (9:35 pm)

    A couple of days ago, a friend in RE north of the city, shared that in her weekly Zoom meetings with RE colleagues, the topic of discussion was WS! And, possible decreasing home values in WS and offices up north are already fielding inquiries from WS residents exploring moves. 

    • Greystreet April 22, 2020 (10:19 pm)

      Yea, my partner and I are thinking of speeding up our move date to Portland now; this just isn’t going to get any better for the foreseeable future…our only saving grace is we can put in the listing “only 1/3 mile from Roxbury, the main route to Downtown!” 

      • WSWatching April 22, 2020 (10:36 pm)

        >>>only 1/3 mile from Roxbury, the main route to Downtown!
        Yes, indeed. Feature that prominently in the ad!
        Good luck – we are also moving (north) by end of summer. We are fed up with everything here. We had just gotten into a nice commuting routine when the tunnel opened and made things so much easier, and greatly improved our work-life balance – now this, done. I visit Portland each year and love it there – such a great city.

    • Joe Z April 23, 2020 (7:31 am)

      This could be a net benefit for West Seattle if car commuters move out and are replaced by people willing to bike or take the bus. And Seattle in general is better off if people live closer to where they work. 

      • NH April 23, 2020 (3:07 pm)

        You are assuming we can move. Renters can, I guess, but myself and 3 neighbors all had sales fall through in the last two weeks due to the bridge. Owners may be stuck.

  • WSRes April 22, 2020 (9:58 pm)

    I was stunned to read Heather Marx said – “It’s really not an option for everybody who used their car to get to and from West Seattle” to continue to do that.” What a breathtakingly out of touch response from a representative of a municipal department of transportation. Especially since we’ll be emerging from a highly contagious virus that’ll still be present in our population. If she’s advocating everyone pack into public transit that’s a reckless statement at best. If that’s an example of the talent selected to be on the team to solve this problem I’d say our community deserves better. 

    • Stevie J April 22, 2020 (10:27 pm)

      There literally isn’t the capacity anymore. She’s absolutely right. If your broadband was knocked out and you had to use dialup, would you be surprised if your downloads were slower? Getting a second dialup line (aka “retime the signals!”, “float me and my car for free from Fauntleroy to downtown!”) isn’t going to make your Netflix work either. You’re going to have to alter your habits. Unless you’re a plumber and have to carry lots of equipment. Luckily most people aren’t plumbers. 

    • Calires April 22, 2020 (10:28 pm)

      I have been extremely underwhelmed with Heather Marx since the viaduct closure.  She has the demeanor of “let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best”.  She may be highly competent, but her public persona does not inspire trust.

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (10:34 pm)

      She’s simply acknowledging reality. The lost capacity due to the West Seattle Bridge being out of service is so severe that no amount of mitigation can replace it until the bridge reopens. You simply will not be able to use your car the same way you could in the past and nothing will change that.

    • flimflam April 22, 2020 (10:50 pm)

      i know its not an option for everyone, but i would walk uphill, both directions, in the snow, before i rode metro anytime soon.

    • West Seattle Guy April 22, 2020 (11:10 pm)

      Or it is perhaps simply the reality of the situation.   Seeing people in this thread is reminding me of the different stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Some are in different stages it seems.

      • Rumbles April 23, 2020 (12:05 am)

        YES!!  I was trying to remember the list of stages.  Seems like a lot on here are in the anger-bargaining part of that list.

    • Jon Wright April 22, 2020 (11:37 pm)

      I’m afraid you’re the one who is “out of touch” if you think there is any way the remaining roads can some how magically absorb the 100,000 trips into and out of West Seattle that used to take the bridge. However distasteful it may be to you, transit is our only hope.

      • Thistles April 23, 2020 (6:34 am)

        But it’s not just about not wanting to use transit, it’s about public safety in the current situation. With the buses jam packed with commuters, the spread of COVID could easily become a big problem. 

        • Nicole April 23, 2020 (8:29 am)

          RIGHT?? Why is this not being addressed…..No way I am riding public transportation when COVID will continue to be a an issue for an extended period of time… And public transit is supposed to be the answer…??? Give us a real, viable plan.

          • KM April 23, 2020 (9:24 am)

            The real, viable plans are transit (with recommended precautions), biking, limiting car trips, working from home, and using alternative routes while driving. I’m not sure what you’re asking SDOT for here if not magically replace the West Seattle Bridge in a couple months, which is not happening.  If you don’t like their suggestions, that’s your prerogative, but they are both real and viable.

    • KM April 23, 2020 (8:34 am)

      I’m extremely glad she’s in tune with how we cannot support driving volumes in ways we have in the past, she’s spot on. People need to adapt. If not for the next several years while the bridge is down, so it for the health of our planet and safety of our roadways. We cannot continue to subsidize and support our past ways of living.

  • BBILL April 22, 2020 (10:56 pm)

    Be thankful there are alternate routes. As far as the “expectant mom” having to cross the Duwamish, consider this Alaska case where the regular air service was suspended because the airline (Ravn) entered bankruptcy, so a woman had to pay $9,000 for a chartered flight to the hospital. “On the Bering Sea island of St. Paul Thursday, for example, there was a woman pregnant with twins who needed to fly to the mainland. But the only way to Anchorage right now was chartering a plane at a cost of $9,000 or more, said Amos Philemonoff, the president of the local tribal government there.”

    • Steve April 23, 2020 (2:40 am)

      Yeah…a story about Alaska is irrelevant, people’s point is getting to a solution in a large city in the US – on a bridge that moves 100k people a day. Not a page where Sarah Palin can see Russia. 

    • AN April 23, 2020 (6:38 am)

      This is interesting but I’d argue that we don’t live in Alaska. When you choose to live there, you know there are few options and you’re often in very remote areas. We are literally a stones throw from our downtown city center.

      • BBILL April 23, 2020 (12:08 pm)

        Losing a vital transportation like, just like in Alaska, West Seattle is much more remote today that it was a month ago.

    • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (7:19 am)

      We’re not talking a couple of people who hose to live on an isolated island.  We’re talking 86,000 taxpayers who had every right to believe that they had a link for the next 70 years.  While it may sound like anger and we can conveniently attribute it to “the five stages of grief” or troll it out as “you lost 7 lanes”, the real issue here is – this isn’t death.  The outcome that this is a decade’s long effort is not something we need to accept.  We have every right as taxpayers and a city to rally all the energy necessary to affect different, frame breaking responses to meet a need.  This has to be closer to a war-time footing than business as usual, and it would be best if we unified around this and continue to expect more vocally and continuously.  If you don’t like it, please just step aside instead of quoting some absurd example from the Aleutians as a justification of why we aren’t entitled to expect our city to move mountains.  We’ll allow you to benefit from any acceleration we manage to achieve.

  • Leo Shaw April 23, 2020 (7:04 am)

    That was a waste of time….. exactly what I expected.  No solutions … just “you  have to find your own way”.  In 2013 any intelligent engineer, considering the bridge is a one of a kind, unique structure..with no history, would have asked the question…What’s the worse case scenario?  and let’s plan now for that…and communicate that to the mayor and city council.  Did they do that…well I think you know the answer to that question.Now there is no transportation plan…no medical facility in West Seattle and no idea of how this will play out.  But you can be assured it’s not going to be good.

  • Alki res April 23, 2020 (7:15 am)

    I would have liked to have seen more specifics about the increased water taxi runs and possibilities of opening up alternate water taxi routes.  I felt like Heather Marx was very open about the reality of the situation.   

  • Loretta April 23, 2020 (7:37 am)

    From the Seattle times: The “temporary optimal/ideal” passenger limits are 12 riders on a 40-foot bus and 18 on a 60-foot bus, according to a bulletin to drivers from Metro director of bus operations Tim Flanagan. This isn’t going to work when we get back to work and the bridge is down. How are we going to social distance on public transit with the west Seattle bridge out of service??

    • WSB April 23, 2020 (10:31 am)

      Finally found the source of that, a Metro blog post

    • sgs April 23, 2020 (4:25 pm)

      I’m wondering about the bus limiting the number of people on it.  If everyone wears masks, is the 6-foot separation still needed?  Doesn’t make sense that the 6 foot separation works the same when you are not wearing a mask and when you are wearing a mask.   Not meaning to pack them in, but that will be so frustrating to be person #13 and have to wait for the next bus…An aside – did you see Stenny Hoyer on MSNBC today?  He had his mask hanging off of one ear NOT covering his face and when Chuck said it was OK to wear the mask, that he would be understood, Stenny said that he was “wearing it to protect your (MSNBC) cameraman.”    I had a laugh.

  • CMK April 23, 2020 (8:44 am)

    “24 answers” Ha! I appreciate the irony in that headline. More like “No” answers. I did watch it and was struck by the attitudes and apparent lack of understanding of the gravity of this situation of both Sam and Heather. I kept thinking “how do these two still have jobs?!”. And why waste time on silly questions like “can I ride a seal lion to work?” when they only had time for 24 questions?  I get they think it’s funny, but to a lot of us it isn’t. I need my vehicle for work, as well as access to the freeways in order to perform my job. People like me need our cars. I can’t drive a100 lbs of samples and material around on a bike. And let’s not forget that Covid is raging and no one should be crammed into busses right now, even if they can commute that way. How about some solutions? And are they going to give us a break on our car tab bills if we aren’t using the roads? Property taxes (briefly addressed that you can fight on your own with govt about their assessment values- good luck with that)? What about repurposing terminal 5 into a car ferry terminal? Are they going to stop up zoning and allowing apartments being built in our residential neighborhoods? Where are the real answers?! 

    • BBILL April 23, 2020 (9:51 am)

      “Where are the real answers?!” Given there are SEVEN lanes of pavement crossing the Duwamish no longer available, and the existing alternatives were already busy, what would you accept as a ‘real’ answer?

    • Stevie J April 23, 2020 (10:54 am)

      The problem is MOST people who use cars are driving alone and not carrying more than they can carry. Leave the 1st Ave S Bridge for people like you and the plumbers who actually use a car to carry heavy objects.

      Regarding a car ferry, this is a very inefficient way to move cars. Even a best case scenario of finding a spare 200-car ferry, unloading/loading (say 20 minutes), sailing time (10 minutes), unload/reload (20 minutes), sailing time (10 min), that’s an hour between sailings just to move 200 cars in each direction. That’s 3.3 cars per minute per direction. At that dismal rate, we may as well just let 200 SOVs in each direction on the lower bridge per hour. At that rate, running every hour for 19 hours every day, at full capacity you would move 7600 extra cars. And we don’t have any spare 200-car boats, so let’s see what WSF has to say…

       Limited spare vessels: With 19 vessels in service in summer, 17 in service in the winter, and two vessels rotating out for required annual maintenance (four in winter), WSF typically has only one funded standby vessel for emergency service relief throughout the summer. Unscheduled repairs can quickly consume this extra capacity, and there have been periods during most recent summers when the entire fleet was either in service or out for repairs with no service relief vessel available. This is far below the transit industry standard of a 20 percent spare ratio. In addition, the programmed service relief vessel for 2019 is Sealth, which has a capacity of only 90 cars. When a larger vessel goes out of service, WSF typically repositions a number of vessels in order to get each route as close to its planned capacity as
      possible. These boat moves are often complex and costly.

      Welp, I guess you won’t get your vroom vrooms to Downtown by boat unless you buy your own or commission a 100 million dollar vessel to be built in 2 weeks. 

      PS: People who live in apartments and townhomes are also residents. 

      PPS: Car tabs don’t even begin to pay for roads. Driving is subsidized via general taxes on all Seattleites, whether or not they drive. 

  • Westwood April 23, 2020 (8:52 am)

    Did the bridge start cracking due to the weight of the longer metro busses?  I’ve noticed how the street in front of Westwood Village (Sw Barton St – where all the busses park) is VERY uneven due to the weight of all of the busses. This only happened in recent years so I’m assuming the busses have gotten heavier through the years. If this affects cement on the ground it must have had an effect the bridge too!  

    • BBILL April 23, 2020 (12:12 pm)

      If you are suggesting the quality of road construction in front of Westwood Village has something to do with the quality of the construction of the West Seattle Bridge, I’d like to hear how you’re connecting the two. Cheap road construction (poor drainage, a base that is not as deep, and other factors) generally does not produce roads with a long life expectancy. Again, please explain the connection between the (low) quality of the road construction in front of Westwood Village to the carrying capacity of the West Seattle Bridge.

  • Loretta April 23, 2020 (8:52 am)

    Is there a west seattle bike commuting group? Or maybe we need to start one? I’m happy to ride my bike to work everyday but I was assaulted last Oct at 8:30am (daylight) under the bridges. Maybe we can form commute groups?

    • Don Brubeck April 23, 2020 (9:39 am)

      Loretta, West Seattle Bike Connections has lots of members who commute by bike. We’d be happy to work with you for matching up commute buddies or forming scheduled bike trains.  We are working to make it safe, efficient and comfortable to walk and bike in West Seattle, and now, to do our part to keep people and goods moving without the high bridge. You can find us on Facebook and at our website.  Email westseattlebikeconnections (at) gmail (dot) com.

  • dsc April 23, 2020 (9:04 am)

    Long-term/permanent remote-work arrangements for jobs where being in person is not essential is the only way to go. We know it’s doable.  And we know there are benefits to productivity (in a normal non-COVID situation…), the environment, home/family life, health and wellness of employees, the list goes on and on. I hope the city puts significant pressure on our local companies to make this shift so we can keep the roads prioritized for those who must *be* somewhere in order to do their job effectively.

    • KM April 23, 2020 (10:24 am)

      DSC, such great points! In the long term, I wonder if this shift is made more permanent (when feasible–not everyone can work from home), businesses use less office space in our core business districts that already have abundant transit and services, and we can convert some of that surplus space into housing. It would ease the demand for new construction in places where density isn’t currently allowed or easy to accommodate.

  • Graham April 23, 2020 (9:40 am)

    The mayor and county should jointly appoint a leader/manager to oversee this project and coordinate stakeholders and a response. The town hall indicated inefficient coordination between stakeholders and representatives, which was particularly obvious in the answers that indicated a lack of progress on some immediate on the ground issues (e.g. alternative transportation options) after a month since closure. A former civic leader in good standing that knows all the key players and has solid relationships could be engaged by the mayor and county executive to lead this cross-government project and response. This situation calls for extraordinary management, coordination, and relationship engagement among a complex group of stakeholders and interests. Let’s get someone respected in there to solve this problem efficiently and with confidence.

    • Jon Wright April 23, 2020 (5:36 pm)

      “Solve this problem.” What is your notion of what a solution looks like? Are you expecting that there is a secret path that can handle 100,000 vehicle trips out there just waiting to be discovered?

      • Graham April 23, 2020 (8:17 pm)

        No, but yesterday the only answer was “we’re looking into this or that.” And there were indications of inefficient redundancies as each part of government was looking into the same things, or was not fully aware of what the other was doing. So, yes, it would be nice to have someone solve THE problem and associated problems in a coordinated way. Do you have ideas to share?

  • Realsteel April 23, 2020 (9:55 am)

    Of the 7 major variables impacting bridge design, durability was #5. Kinda funny actually…

  • Bridge-pocalypse April 23, 2020 (10:06 am)

    Who is going to champion the repair or replacement of the West Seattle Bridge ?  Mayor Durkan ?  Governor Inslee ?  Representative Pramila Jayapal ?  Sam Zimbabwe and Lisa Herbold demonstrated last night that they are in over their heads.  With all the talking and power point slides, they did not show any tangible steps have been taken in the last 30 days.Where is the sense of urgency ?  Where is the collaboration with Mayor Durkan, Governor Jay Inslee, Representative Pramila Jayapal,  Senator Murray, and Senator Cantwell ?There are a lot of voters on the West Seattle Peninsula.  Mayor Durkan – this could become your “Bridge- pocalypse” if you don’t step up and prioritize this.  It would be in your best political interest to notice that West Seattle is on fire – to stop thanking us for our patience – and take tangible steps towards repairing/replacing the West Seattle Bridge.

    • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (10:52 am)

      Amen – we need a leader on this – someone who will “Alexander Haig” this and step up and say I’m in charge, I’ll drag Dow into this call, I’ll not let Pramila continue to tilt at national socialistic agendas and focus on getting us the fed funds, will get the state agencies to radically modify the different ferry schedules, a public health leader (perhaps the same Covid leader as it is a direct overlap) to guide on policy as it relates to transportation and emergency services.  In short, not business as usual.  What we say last night was the Seattle Government deli counter – take a number and not my department.  Thought maybe Lisa would step up and be the organizer, but seems more like she’s teeing up softballs for the rest of the government to say what can’t be done.

    • WSJ April 23, 2020 (10:58 am)

      The reason you’re complaining about a lack of “tangible steps” is because you are either not paying attention, or have unreasonable expectations about how these kinds of projects should happen. They have identified a year’s worth of things they need to do (monitoring, p18 bearing, shoring, etc.) and clearly communicated why they are a priority. The fact that you’d not believe it, or think they’re doing it wrong is a symptom of your ignorance, anger, and impatience, nothing more. 

  • ScubaFrog April 23, 2020 (10:20 am)

    Amazon’s shuttle being allowed to use the lower bridge 4 times per day, while the “proletariat” (Harborview doctors, off-duty fire/police, medical workers, and other West Seattleites) have to slog through the detour is so remarkably grotesque. 

    • WSB April 23, 2020 (10:50 am)

      To clarify, currently SDOT plans to NOT let private shuttles use the low bridge

      • ScubaFrog April 23, 2020 (2:27 pm)

        Phew, I read that in one of the questions, I couldn’t believe it — thanks for clarifying WSB!!  

    • NH April 23, 2020 (3:15 pm)

      That attitude is cutting of your nose to spite your face. Corporate shuttles help remove SOVs from the road. Congratulations, this way they are adding to the detour traffic. Might make you feel better, but it’s irrational. 

  • D-Mom April 23, 2020 (10:25 am)

    I was unimpressed with this presentation and obviously, based on the comments here, the feeling was mutual.  No answers and empty comments about taking the time to find the multiple options (really?) to get to the mainland.  And Highline hospital?  Yes its an option, but it takes 15-20 minutes to get there from my house in Arbor Heights with no traffic.  Try getting there from Admiral while the roads are clogged.  I fear the backup that will happen on our neighborhood roads.  I live south of Roxbury/35th and my son goes to school on that corner.  Those roads will be completely backed up at all hours of the day.  I saw someone comment a few days ago that the backup on Roxbury was 7 blocks long and this is while most of us are at home!  I worry about the kids that go to school on Roxbury at Summit and Holy Family.  Roxbury/35th is normally very busy during school drop-off and pickup, with many kids crossing the street and Holy Family has young kids.  Of course, they are all at home now, but they will be back eventually, before the bridge is fixed/rebuilt.  It will be difficult getting around West Seattle whether you are trying to get off the peninsula or not and it does not feel like the city understands the urgency at all.

    • AdmiralBridge April 23, 2020 (10:57 am)

      The lack of awareness of the potential impact to health and safety was appalling.  The Highline remark was a complete blow-off of the distance and sophistication relative to what we have downtown, or the distance and traffic.  At best this is 20-30 minutes from North Admiral.  I don’t find that acceptable and think if we were willing to build a field hospital on a soccer pitch, we should have mechanisms to establish a facility quickly here – golf course or stadium sound like a place to start.  This would relieve a lot of pressure for emergency vehicles and perhaps loosen traffic on the lower bridge.  Then there’s that whole mass transit in the life of Covid thing….

      • Ice April 23, 2020 (12:19 pm)

        I agree with you that West Seattle needs a hospital, we are horribly underserved by not having an ER here. However, I think you are severely catastrophizing this situation. In an ambulance, I seriously doubt it would take 20-30 to get to Highline. Even worse case scenario at 20-30 minutes access to emergency services is still far far far faster than even somewhere like Vashon or many small towns. If you think it is unacceptable to have to drive 30 minutes for non-emergency services then I suggest you move to First Hill.

      • Foop April 23, 2020 (12:49 pm)

        First hill is also  20-30 minutes from admiral.

        • Chemist April 24, 2020 (12:39 am)

          not anymore

  • JJ April 23, 2020 (11:00 am)

    I think it is completely crucial that the city/county governments put extensive
    pressure on local businesses to allow and accommodate WS residents to continue
    to work from home post COVID restrictions, there is simply no way any rerouted
    roads, public transit etc can accommodate WS workers commuting post COVID.
      In the interim with COVID restrictions in
    place it is a TOTAL joke for public transit to be considered any sort of viable
    option for commuting out of WS in regards to social distancing.

    It would be super, and a very inexpensive item to implement, if the WS water taxi
    can add in some kind of secure bike parking, such as the “bike barn” like they
    have at the Bainbridge Ferry.  I will
    gladly ride my bike from my house (off the existing WS water taxi shuttle
    lines) to the WS taxi if I have someplace secure to leave my bike during the
    work day.  It’s not practical for me to
    take my bike on water taxi and lug it up the hills to I5 where I work.  Nor is there even room on water taxi for more
    than say 20 bikes per trip anyhow.

    Even if the WS water taxi adds double the runs after COVID, where will all these new
    riders with no WS bridge be parking their cars if they do not live on a WS
    water taxi shuttle route (such as myself)?   I know not everyone can and/or wants to bike
    to downtown or the water taxi, so we will need some kind of parking options  and shuttle options at an expanded water taxi  schedule going forward as well.  Think viaduct scenario:   Open
    up secured parking lots down by jack block and run non stop shuttles from there
    to water taxi.  Explore park and ride
    options with shuttle to water taxi. 
    Significantly ramp up shuttle lines (not the “RIDE2GO” call ahead
    shuttle van we had during viaduct) to service the full range of WS and southern
    portions of WS (we don’t all live in the junction or on alki!)

    I own a car and I nearly never drive it outside of WS, there is no way on the
    planet I intend to drive my car on these horrific reroutes to go to work downtown,
      all of the above MUST be explored.  

  • Rr April 23, 2020 (12:34 pm)

    I wrote an email to Ms.Herbold this morning to suggest an interesting pilot project the city could try to help alleviate some of these and other concerns. Help West Seattle residents who want to leave the area by offering to purchase their property for fair market value provided they have at least 1 vehicle registered to that address and as long as fair market value does not exceed some reasonable amount. Then, resell those properties as affordable – say at half of cost – provided the purchaser does not exceed a reasonable income threshold and can qualify for the mortgage. and agrees to use transit exclusively for 3 years (audited yearly). In that time the purchaser cannot sell or rent the property and if they sell after that period can only realize a set percent of value increase per year (say 3%) to keep the property affordable. I know that would cost the city in the initial loss during resale but would probably be favorable compared to the cost of new construction . If for example the city purchased a home for 500k and resold it for 250k, that 250k lost would essentially be the cost of 1 family unit of subsidized affordable housing. I think there would probably be a good number of home owners willing to sell without the inconvenience of listing right now. Just a thought, gotta think out of the box right?

    • BBILL April 23, 2020 (7:28 pm)

      No thank you. Taking 50% losses is not how I want my tax dollars spent, and let’s not even get into who would be buying at 50% off the “fair market value.”

  • ScubaFrog April 23, 2020 (2:25 pm)

    Lisa and Sam are way cool.  I think it’s great they took the time out to talk to West Seattleites, even if they don’t have many answers.  They’re not pretending to have answers, they’re working hard to get answers.  They know what’s wrong, what needs answers, that shoring up needs to happen regardless of a new bridge/the old one, and they’re not blowing smoke re any false claims or non-answers.  I can think of a barking pumpkin who’d say the bridge is going “perfect, so tremendous, it’s going to be so cheap, Idaho’s going to pay for it, this is the best thing you’ll ever see, it’ll be ready in 2 months, you’re the luckiest people in America I’m telling you, I knew this all along!”.  So thank goodness for pragmatic officials and honest journalism like WSB

    • Out for a Walk. April 23, 2020 (5:08 pm)

      Thanks so much for posting. I needed a laugh right now!   Well said!  

      • MM April 24, 2020 (10:07 am)

        Does anyone else think they might have had time to get actual answers? If they have known this since 2014 I think 6 years is long enough to possibly come up with a what if plan at least but I’m probably asking too much from elected officials, anyone else think this is sad performance?

  • sf April 23, 2020 (2:46 pm)


    I would also add that urgency doesn’t have to resemble panic.  In face, we do better without the adrenaline.  I know that the urgency police would like to see them all running around putting the barricades up themselves or repelling off the side of the bridge to showcase their commitment but it is unnecessary and counter productive.Additionally, can we lose the ‘they built the Empire State Building in 12 months argument?  Sure they did.  But they didn’t get funding, design, procure supplies/contracts and build it 12 months.  Design/permitting/funding are required steps and take time/energy.

    • Mark47n April 23, 2020 (4:29 pm)

      A footnote to the whole Empire State Building nonsense: At that point in history the mortality rate in construction was 1 per story. That’s one death per story completed. This doesn’t include other casualties. So, how many workers lives does your convenience need to cost? 1? 10? 20? Comparing how things were built 100 years ago  to now is apples and oranges. For so many reasons. 

    • MM April 24, 2020 (10:19 am)

      yes things take time but looks like somebody had 6 plus years to get all this done prior or a contingent plan in place but hey lets just start now and maybe in 2030 we get a bridge back? Of course my assessed value for property taxes will be down to a 300,000 dollar valuation as they every year impede our access off our now full “Island”

  • AS April 23, 2020 (5:53 pm)

    Have there been any proposals to fund a hospital in West Seattle?  We continue to have population growth; couple that with commuter detours and delays, perhaps a facility would provide emergency traffic offset while also filling a community need.   Building a hospital in West Seattle doesn’t solve the bridge construction and light rail need but can fill community need during  limited access.  A WS Hospital offers   future preparedness to address novel needs,  such as CoVid19 outbreak,  to natural disaster medical needs and everything in between … right here in WS. 

  • SP April 23, 2020 (6:01 pm)

    My brother lives in Minnesota.  He traveled this bridge but was fortunate to already have made it home before the collapse. ********************Ten years ago, the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis collapsed, sending cars, trucks and even a school bus that were crawling over it in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic plummeting into the river below and onto the rocky shore.Thirteen people were killed, 145 more were injured, many of them seriously.The bridge collapse sparked immediate calls in Minnesota and across the country invest big in repairing and replacing the nation’s aging and crumbling infrastructure.A decade later, experts say there have been some improvements, but there are still tens of thousands of bridges nationwide that need to be fixed or replaced.In the immediate aftermath of the 35W bridge collapse, the Minnesota Department of Transportation came under intense scrutiny. The interstate highway bridge had been classified as structurally deficient, meaning that it was aging and in need of repair. In fact, some repair work was going on when it fell. And the bridge was also rated as fracture critical, meaning the failure of just one vital component could cause the whole bridge to collapse.

    • MM April 24, 2020 (10:13 am)

      you know folks we had a bridge on I-5 up north that crossed the stilly river collapse a few years ago that got put back up with lightning speed and that should have been a warning to these WS and city officials to get things going or a contingent plan on the WS bridge but looks like some people cannot plan more that for today or more that one move ahead of themselves. We need chess players that can play chess 10 moves out not someone playing checkers. I for one will be arguing my property tax assessed value with King County and citing this as the reason. I will have professional assistance that I have utilized before to lower my assessed tax value and this time it will be a huge decrease I will seek.

  • what about businesses? April 23, 2020 (6:42 pm)

    Based on my review of the summary/ transcript here, it seems like the answer is ‘NO’ but I’ll ask anyway….  Did any West Seattle based businesses ask any questions about how this closure affects their business and operations, or if the City of Seattle will offer any sort of mitigation for lost business or impacts to costs/ efficiency due to this closure?   Yes, there are a lot of West Seattle residents impacted by this closure, but what about the West Seattle based businesses, who have to drive out of West Seattle to do their jobs/ make money?

    • 1994 April 23, 2020 (10:38 pm)

      Businesses outside of WS will also suffer. Stores, venues, and eateries in SODO or other parts of the city will probably get fewer WS customers. The city hopefully can see what a lose lose this situation is not only for WS residents but all businesses in other areas of the city. Putting aside the Covid, I will probably not be frequenting my favorite places in SODO because what used to take me 15 to 20 minutes one way will take much longer.

  • Orwell April 24, 2020 (10:29 am)

    25 Years Last time

    West Seattle Citizens Action Group or Lobby Needed?

    When left in hands of well-meaning government people, it
    took almost 25 years from First Planning to opening of this broken bridge.

    1960 – Planning to build the current bridge to replace the
    biggest bottleneck in Seattle started  

    1968 – a Forward Thrust initiative passed to fund

    1977 – After never-ending fights in City Council and after bribery
    realized the State withdrew funding and project for new bridge considered dead.

    1978 – Ship hits bridge. 
    Seattle can’t find funding.  Federal
    Govt opposed to end of decade.

    1981 – 1984 – Bridge Constructed

    What West Seattle did not have back then was a collective
    voice to lobby for residents.  We had
    strong dedicated elected representatives who had to bow to other masters.

    This meeting, set up to be helpful by an elected
    representative, where residents respectfully submitted questions to leaders
    exemplifies why in addition to elected leaders we need a trusted, FOCUSED  voice/group to expedite who leaders know won’t
    tolerate the same slide set over and over. 
    A lobby to and through necessary players.  The nature of government is to delay, create
    focus groups, pay for studies, explain delays and budget issues and this will c
    o n t I n u e unless constantly challenged by a respected lobby.

    Perhaps a Jort/bike, the WSB, WS Chamber, Pro car sanity, Mental
    health, Engineer/Tech, a bridge builder, Funding specialist, real estate rep, Mom…

    The City will go tone deaf as they are overwhelmed. Asking
    them will only drive us insane.

    I imagine WSB might get a Pulitzer as this unfolds over the
    next decade.  It will be Dramatic!  Perhaps they know if something like this can
    or is being considered.  ?


    • WSB April 24, 2020 (1:27 pm)

      There are a couple of existing peninsula-wide community groups. One met just last night (West Seattle Transportation Coalition)….

  • JetCityGirl April 24, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    Sorry if I missed it – but : WHY NOT BUILD a TUNNEL – Immediately?Upper bridge once repaired: Weight load limit- vehicular car traffic only, add traffic monitor lights at entrances to control flow (so that the cars are flowing, not parked)Keep Low Bridge for: Transit, Freight, Emergency vehicles

Sorry, comment time is over.