WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: How to RSVP for Wednesday’s Town Hall

(WSB photo, last week)

9:56 AM: As mentioned in our coverage of Monday’s council briefing about the West Seattle Bridge closure, Councilmember Lisa Herbold announced that she would host an “electronic Town Hall” Wednesday night. She has just sent details of how to be part of it:

West Seattle Bridge Digital Town Hall
Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Councilmember Pedersen and I will co-host a digital town hall with SDOT on the West Seattle Bridge and traffic management in West Seattle while the bridge is closed. The town hall will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 on Wednesday, April 22nd.

SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe will be presenting, and available for your questions.

You can sign up to participate here; you’ll receive the link to the meeting an hour or so before it begins.

(Councilmember Alex Pedersen chairs the Transportation Committee.)

ADDED 2:34 PM: We sent a few followup questions to Councilmember Herbold’s office; legislative assistant Newell Aldrich replied. How will participants be able to ask questions? The email you’ll get about an hour in advance, if you RSVP, will include the link for questions. You’ll also be able to ask during the event. They’re not yet sure what platform the event will use – they want to ensure they can handle all the participation (1,000 RSVPs already).

124 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: How to RSVP for Wednesday's Town Hall"

  • David G April 21, 2020 (10:20 am)

    5000 people should show up to this! SDOT has to answer the question as to Why it will take 9 months just to begin work shoring this up! Stop shopping for the best prices and just do it. Should take only a few months to complete, Max! :-/

    • MB April 21, 2020 (11:33 am)

      You’re putting a lot of faith in Max’s work ethic. And he’s just one guy.

      • sam-c April 21, 2020 (1:12 pm)


      • wscommuter April 21, 2020 (2:41 pm)

        MB for the win.

    • C CP April 21, 2020 (12:45 pm)

      I’d add a few more…these people also need to answer to:- Why this isn’t being treated as an emergency.- Why this isn’t getting attention at the county (Constantine), or state legislation (leading up to Insley). – Why the bridge is failing.  Was it design, construction, or the decision to expand 3 to 4 lanes?- What, exactly, is the failure mechanism(s)?- Why this known issue has not been addressed or planned for sooner?- Why SDOT is still in control of this. They clearly aren’t doing a good job.  

      • wscommuter April 21, 2020 (2:48 pm)

        Your rant is unhelpful and pretty uninformed.  What makes you think this isn’t being treated as an emergency?  I’m as concerned as anyone, but I understand that figuring out what is possible using sound engineering judgment takes some time.  And as for the rest of your comment – this isn’t a county or state problem … we may get help from either to some degree, but neither the state nor the county has the ability (much less the desire) to “take over” for SDOT.  

        • Mark Martinell April 22, 2020 (1:24 pm)

          I’m sure Dow Constantine and the others with heads in the sand will take notice when WS property owners contest their King County  property tax valuations coming up I will argue a 300,000 assessed value decrease just for my property in WS maybe more due to elimination of reasonable property access that SFOT has direct control of the situation they should be prepared to get involved to speed up repairs etc or suffer the consequences of less tax revenue due to their inaction 

      • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:50 pm)

        Rather than this bridge closure, I’m guessing there might be another emergency that is much more urgent which Inslee, Constantine, and others have on their mind. Maybe something to do with the fact that there is so little traffic on the road, or something.

        • Katmac April 22, 2020 (7:16 pm)

          What? There is so much traffic on the main life line to this large Seattle neighborhood! I can’t believe the bridge was closed so suddenly indicating repairs have not been kept up with.

  • Marta Hoskinson April 21, 2020 (10:28 am)

    How about making the West Seattle bridge a priority. Stop plans on the newest stadium and redirect funds for repair. Plan B make it a toll bridge. Just get it fixed.

    • WSJ April 21, 2020 (11:21 am)

      The stadium renovation is 100% privately financed. The city is spending $0 on the project. 

      • 1994 April 21, 2020 (8:54 pm)

        Sept 2018: A divided Metropolitan King County Council gave final approval Monday to spend $135 million in taxpayer funds on the Mariners ballpark despite objections that the billion-dollar company could pay for its own needs.Is that the ‘private’ stadium renovation?

        • WSJ April 21, 2020 (9:31 pm)

          I was taking about Key Arena. But as you yourself pointed out, the city is not paying for anything in Safeco either, that’s the county. So again, nothing related to SDOT. 

  • SM April 21, 2020 (10:41 am)

    Why isn’t the rest of the council going to be there? 

    • WSB April 21, 2020 (10:50 am)

      This isn’t a council meeting. The addition of CM Pedersen is new since the original announcement, but understandable since his committee will be working on the issue for a long time.

  • TJ April 21, 2020 (11:09 am)

    A toll is absolutely out of the question. A 36 year old bridge requires the city to get this done with existing funds. 2 times in 40 years West Seattle has been marooned by a broken bridge defies the law of averages. Beg the feds for money. If this was the Brooklyn Bridge or Golden Gate you can guarantee this would be fast tracked. 

    • JB April 21, 2020 (12:46 pm)

      While I agree with your sense of urgency and sentiment about tolling, I don’t think it is helpful or comparable to bring up Golden Gate or Brooklyn bridges. Not only are they structurally different from ours, West Seattle bridge connects a neighborhood, while those are part of intra/interstate infrastructure. 

      • Dan Torak April 22, 2020 (6:43 am)

        Let me correct you, it is not JUST “a neighborhood.” Let me represent the thousands of people that commute from Vashon Island and other areas on the west side using the WSF system.   And exactly what criteria deems it an emergency??? Seems like 100,000 cars a day is a pretty big number to be downplaying it by calling it a “neighborhood.”  It’s that kind of thinking that undermines my faith in your intelligence. We put our faith in you people to make the best decisions.  Sadly, you’re letting us all down. I hope you can live yourself knowing at least 100,000 people’s lives are being impacted every single day by your decisions on this issue or lack there of.

        • JB April 22, 2020 (11:14 am)

          Simmer down, Dan.Still not the same as intra/interstate freeways.And what decisions do you think I am making?  I have nothing to do with the fix/replacement beyond being one of the 100,000 people impacted by this bridge closure.  This is my ‘hood, I’m impacted too.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to rant to the wind and bring up other bridges that have no bearing or help in getting the issue solved.Focus, people.

  • KT April 21, 2020 (11:16 am)

    How about our non-existent Mayor?

  • drahcir61 April 21, 2020 (11:24 am)

    The navigational clearance of the high bridge is 140 feet; the low bridge is 45 feet.  Scrap the high bridge in favor of another lower bridge that could be built quicker, cost less, add light rail (in time), & likely be much safer during an earthquake. 

    Stacked shipping containers would have to be limited to 2 or 3, instead of the 4 or 5 that we have now.  The larger ones could off-load elsewhere & move via rail. Would this negatively affect some maritime businesses on the Duwamish? 

    Yes, but building massive yachts or transporting stacked shipping containers down the Duwamish should be a secondary consideration to the transportation & commerce needs of West Seattle residents.

    • nick April 21, 2020 (11:36 am)

      wholly s–t this actually makes sense

    • WSJ April 21, 2020 (11:58 am)

      I posted this in another thread…

      Ironically your suggestion would make bridge replacements much more expensive and take longer. The viaduct approaches to the span are still likely in fine shape, and a replacement would most likely not replace anything except the 3 spans at the highest point. Replacing more of the viaduct would add major scope and time. A new span might lower things a little bit, but not so much that it would make the river unnavigable.

      • Um, No! April 21, 2020 (12:52 pm)

        Yep,  the quickest and most cost effective way, assuming it can be done, is to replace the 3 spans that are the issue.   Scrapping the entire bridge and the approaches would takes years longer and cost way way more. I know lot of people are also calling for light rail to be incorporated into the fix  but that’s not going to happen.  Fix the bridge and get traffic back to normal ASAP.   The light rail route was never going to be on the bridge anyway.  One thing at a time people!  It’s going to be 2 to 3 years at best right now, do you want to make that 5 to 6 years?I wonder if the replacement of the 3 upper/middle spans would increase the life span of the overall bridge?   Not sure I have read any comments on this?  Or maybe I just missed them?And finally,   I wonder if the pile driving nearby has caused any damage to the bridge?…………  ducks and runs for cover!  :)

      • BBILL April 21, 2020 (1:16 pm)

        Even if blocking the navigable water was cheaper and faster in terms of direct construction, the Coast Guard is not going to approve–it would take an act of Congress, signed into law by the president, to accomplish what’s being suggested, and that’s highly unlikely. Getting Congress to allow Seattle to block that channel would take much more time than just getting Congress to fund a new high bridge.

        • 2 Much Whine April 21, 2020 (2:09 pm)

          Just tell the president that Obama always wanted the navigable water open to water traffic and it would be shut down immediately. 

          • wscommuter April 21, 2020 (2:50 pm)

            Another winner!  Well played.  

          • Calires April 22, 2020 (3:17 am)

            You have won today’s internet, sir/madam.

    • BBILL April 21, 2020 (1:13 pm)

      Simply put, maritime traffic has the right-of-way, even if the “navigable water” is not currently being used (“I don’t see anything today”), if it *might* be used in the future, then the Coast Guard will not approve. You can have a desire to have highway traffic prioritized, but it simply is not going to happen unless you get Congress to act, and the president to sign such act into law. No amount of “but it’s cheaper and easier for my highway project” will work, especially when an existing structure is already present–one that could be repaired or replaced without further disrupting the navigable waters.

  • Franci April 21, 2020 (11:25 am)

    Has there been any talk about sending the ferry traffic downtown during this closure?  Dumping a boat load of cars into WS during seems kind of crazy.Last Friday returning to WS via Ambaum – I encountered a 7+ block long backup headed eastbound at Roxbury and 17th.  And this is during the shut down.  I can’t imagine what it will be like when people do start returning to work.

    • QueenB April 21, 2020 (1:33 pm)

      I just sent this comment/suggestion to the Seattle Council. They have a comment section on their website. Please post this suggestion so they see it from someone else. 

    • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (10:44 am)

      My understanding is that Colman Dock is already at capacity and cannot add more ferry service.

  • Brenda Schornak April 21, 2020 (11:56 am)

    Not everyone can take public transit. Some people need to be able to drive. They have to come up with a better solution. They need to get this fixed as quickly as possible. 

    • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:54 pm)

      How soon do you expect “as quickly as possible” to be?

  • Go gull April 21, 2020 (12:04 pm)

    Good to see this opportunity for people to participate and voice their questions, concerns, and frustrations. Hope it’s constructive and informative.

    WSB, will it be recorded and shared here after?

    • WSB April 21, 2020 (12:25 pm)

      We’ll be recording it in one room, monitoring/live-chronicling in another. Don’t know yet if there will be an official city version.

      • Go gull April 21, 2020 (12:55 pm)

        👍 Thanks WSB

      • WSB April 21, 2020 (3:04 pm)

        … and CM Herbold’s office confirms there’ll be an official recording too.

  • QueenB April 21, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    Is there somewhere to post questions for this meeting? Specifically:Could the State of WA consider rerouting the Vashon/Southworth ferry directly to the Colman dock to alleviate traffic coming through WS? Most ferry commuters drive straight through WS to downtown or elsewhere.I sense when the engineers calculated the life 40 years ago, they did not include the daily onslaught of ferry traffic every hour on the hour five days a week. Alternately, could WA State Ferry consider using Passenger ONLY Ferries that are met by transit at the Fauntelroy dock when they depart the ferry. NO PASSENGER CARS. One of these suggestions will alleviate at least some of the WS traffic.

    • BBILL April 21, 2020 (1:18 pm)

        “Most ferry commuters drive straight through WS to downtown or elsewhere.” Please provide the source of your data.

      • Barton April 21, 2020 (1:55 pm)

        Why?  Is it really debatable that West Seattle, hub of commerce that it is, is not the end destination for most of the M-F ferry commuters?

        • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:43 pm)

          I have no data on the final destination distribution of those who take the ferry, or how much ferry travel demand will change based on the new road conditions.

          • Barton April 21, 2020 (5:45 pm)

            I don’t think data is required for the obvious statement that most weekday commuters on the Vashon Ferry are not traveling to jobs in West Seattle, where employment is largely limited to retail and restaurants – in court it’s called “taking judicial notice” of a commonly know fact.

          • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (12:57 pm)

            In terms of the big picture, it doesn’t really matter how vehicles using the Fauntleroy ferry go over the West Seattle Bridge. Even if you assume that every last one of them does, it still only accounts for ~2% of the daily traffic on the bridge. The *vast* majority of traffic over the West Seattle Bridge originates or terminates in West Seattle.

      • ACCM April 21, 2020 (5:30 pm)

        All the cars and motorcycles get dropped off at Lincoln Park. Where else do they go? What data is needed?

    • QueenB April 21, 2020 (1:45 pm)

      I’m sure the city traffic folks have the detail data source you request. As a 30 year WS resident and commuter I’ve learned that when a ferry unloads Fauntleroy, it takes cars about 15 minutes to start hitting the WS Bridge. The “ferry traffic” provides a noticeable increase on Fauntleroy, 35th SW and the WS bridge.When they designed the high-rise bridge 40 years ago, there were no where near the number of daily commuters coming over from Southworth/Vashon.  (WA State Ferry can provide you with that data). That increase amounts to a lot of wear and tear that was probably not included in the estimated traffic/life of bridge. This could be a reason the bridge is wearing out so early. 

      • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:45 pm)

        I found the travel report for 2019, which includes counts of vehicles/passengers who board the ferry, but does not include any information about final destination. https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/traffic_stats/annualpdf/2019.pdf

      • AN April 21, 2020 (3:53 pm)

        @QUEENB -As a 56 + year resident of WS….They also did not plan for the additional 50 + high-rise apartments and condos that have been built over the past 20 years!

      • CAM April 21, 2020 (8:49 pm)

        The city can track where trips terminate and where trips begin. They do not have the capacity to track the two linked together for commutes. The only way of doing that I can think of would be to install a GPS devise on everyone’s car and follow their every movement. Thankfully, that is illegal. As far as the ferry traffic, why should everyone on Vashon have to alter their life more to accommodate people in West Seattle altering theirs less? These aren’t our private roads. We share them with everyone and can’t say that we are more entitled to drive on them than others. 

    • Just Wondering... April 21, 2020 (4:13 pm)

      Or, what about running ferries from Fauntleroy -> DT; car & passenger only?

  • Cami April 21, 2020 (1:13 pm)

    They have to do something in the interim. Let’s get creative. Maybe using the lower bridge for one way traffic during rush hours? (You can always have a swing arm for emergency vehicles). How about a temporary bridge or three?? If Oklahoma can build a bridge over a river in a year, we should be able to do the same. If LA can rebuild 10 miles of collapsed highway in 10 months, so can we. Two years is NOT acceptable.

    • QueenB April 21, 2020 (1:49 pm)

      Two years is not acceptable.

      • Jort April 21, 2020 (1:59 pm)

        Welp, better get used to accepting it! It’s happening, whether you approve or not.

        • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:21 pm)

          JORT- How long do you estimate until the West Seattle Bridge is restored, that is how long until a structure is in place that will carry the same amount of vehicles as the West Seattle Bridge carried in 2019?

      • QueenB April 21, 2020 (2:32 pm)

        For future reference, I believe “welp” is spelled with an “h”. Casting aspersions undermines group Cohesiveness and Cooperation. With Collaboration, Cooperation and Respect, this project could be done in 12 months. Be part of the solution, Jort

        • WSB April 21, 2020 (2:54 pm)

          In this colloquial usage, “welp” is correct.

        • Jort April 21, 2020 (2:56 pm)

          Expert engineers, whose entire career involves making estimations and planning significant roadway infrastructure projects like the bridge repair, have reported that  the bridge will be closed until at least 2022. Yet you say it will be done in 12 months if we just respect each other. Yeah, I’m going to take the engineers’ word on this one. Simply put, there’s no easy fix for this. We collectively put all our eggs into the automobile + bridge combo basket, and now we are royally, epically screwed. There is no quick way out of this, and we are all going to have to make severe changes to what we were used to, every single one of us, for a long time. That is not changing and that is our new reality. Period.

          • Hunt April 22, 2020 (9:56 am)

            I can guarantee you that those engineers estimations include bureaucratic processes that could be reduced or removed entirely should the will to do so exist. Other places have constructed similar projects in reduced time spans at greater expense, it could be done here too. Construction companies tend to find a way when you are willing to pay the premium required for speed.

        • Go gull April 21, 2020 (3:29 pm)

          Wait… isn’t that what you just did here, QueenB? 🤔

          I’d say Jort encouraging people early on to begin adjusting and finding individual solutions/transportation alternatives, to reduce the number of cars participating in the upcoming traffic mess, is being a part of the solution.

      • Joe Z April 21, 2020 (2:55 pm)

        The odds of having something open in 2 years are essentially zero. 2 years happens if they determine the bridge is fixable AND choose to appropriate funds to fixing the bridge rather than building a replacement. I consider 5 years to be the optimistic scenario, but am planning on 6-8 years assuming it takes 2-3 years to stabilize and then demolish the existing bridge, followed by 4-5 years of construction for a new bridge.

        • BBILL April 21, 2020 (3:09 pm)

          Reasonable time expectations IMO.

    • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:01 pm)

        “(You can always have a swing arm for emergency vehicles).” Before changing direction, a person must verify the stretch is clear of all vehicles. After it is verified that the roadway is clear of all vehicles, then the direction of travel may be switched. To do this “quickly” (probably 10 to 15 minutes of time) would require someone to standby at all times ready to block the road for any/every emergency vehicle seeking to go the opposite direction. So all the rush hour traffic would sit for 20 to 30 minutes while the direction of traffic is switched twice to accommodate each emergency vehicle. I highly doubt that’s practical.

  • Mj April 21, 2020 (1:43 pm)

    SDoT should be restriping 35th to 5 lanes now, Roxbury to 4 lanes now.  This is an obvious alternative route that provides direct access to the 1st Ave S. Bridge via Myers Way.  What is the hold up?

    • BBILL April 21, 2020 (2:46 pm)

      35th and Roxbury are not among the current “choke points.”

      • Joe Z April 21, 2020 (2:57 pm)

        SDOT should be striping bike lanes on 35th right now. 

        • PigeonRidgeBen April 21, 2020 (5:18 pm)

          35th should be re-striped to a single, reversible lane of car traffic (against rush hour) with the rest consisting of 1 lane of Ebikes and 1 lane of pedal bikes in each direction and 2 transit lanes, one in each direction. No on street parking. I love those Ebikes but they shouldn’t be sharing a lane with pedal bikes. 1st Ave and South Park bridges should be reserved for vehicles with disability placards, work vehicles (with special placards), HOV vehicles, car share services, and vehicles displaying a 3 times a month “ticket” given to each vehicle registered to a WS address. We wouldn’t even need to replace the upper bridge. 

          • Frank April 21, 2020 (8:57 pm)

            Pedal bikes can’t “Share the road”, huh?  Hypocrisy is such an ugly thing.  

          • tsurly April 22, 2020 (9:12 am)

            Frank I think Ben was suggesting that eBikes shouldn’t be sharing a lane with pedal bikes.

    • Jort April 21, 2020 (3:03 pm)

      The hold up is that this won’t actually solve anything, and that the 1st Ave S. Bridge is already at capacity. Again, you could convert every single road in West Seattle into a freeway, and all that’s going to do is rush people to the 1st Ave. S. Bridge bottleneck faster. MJ, you have railed against the 35th Ave SW road diet for years and years, and have actively campaigned against it at every step of the process. It’s a bit disingenuous to hear you advocate for this knowing your history opposing the project.

  • 1994 April 21, 2020 (2:23 pm)

    Someone please get this question on the agenda:Will the Delridge Rapid Ride reconfiguration work be put on hold until the WS Bridge is fixed? The detours are painful enough and a major road construction project will only add to the pain. Thanks.

    • WSB April 21, 2020 (2:27 pm)

      That’s actually a question I am asking SDOT. Meantime, CM Herbold’s staff just replied to a couple questions I asked about how this event will work – adding above, momentarily.

    • Jort April 21, 2020 (3:28 pm)

      Actually, that project should be prioritized so that there are more reliable transit links for people getting downtown. If it requires eliminating vehicles from Delridge entirely, that will be the price we pay for losing our bridge.

      • WSCommuter2 April 21, 2020 (6:19 pm)

        Sure Jort.  Right after Admiral Way south of Belvidere Park gets road dieted or all lanes “eliminated” for transit.   This “should be prioritized” as yet another “price we pay” for essentially losing access to 2 bridges.  I definitely can see the equity promotion angle in it as well, can’t you?  

      • 1994 April 21, 2020 (9:03 pm)

        If they close the lower bridge they will have no reason to delay Delridge Rapid Ride reconfiguration – there could be little traffic then? The 120 would need to take the detour along W Marginal like all other commuters. Guess commuters should keep their fingers crossed the 5 way under the bridge remains open.

  • Mj April 21, 2020 (3:20 pm)

    Jort – there is capacity at the 1st Ave. S bridge outside the peak times.  Improving the capacity of Principal Arterials like 35th and Roxbury makes sense to better utilize the capacity.  Essentially traffic will be spread out over a much longer time period.

    And regarding street fitness projects I have not railed against restriping projects when the traffic volumes are appropriate for the revision.  Please do not make a statement that is not correct.  

    • Joe Z April 21, 2020 (3:47 pm)

      The capacity of the 1st Ave S bridge hasn’t changed so why would the roads leading to it need to be widened? Car volumes are going to remain drastically lower than pre-COVID, especially in the Avalon Triangle and east Junction areas. Most of that car capacity is no longer needed. But more bus and bike capacity is desperately needed to get people faster and easier routes to the low bridge, water taxi, etc. So the obvious solution is to replace car lanes with bike lanes. All of the major arterial streets from the Junction north are going to need to be able to handle a significant increase in biking. 

    • Jort April 21, 2020 (3:51 pm)

      And there’s plenty of capacity on 35th outside of peak times, too. There’s no need to undo a safety-focused road project just to satisfy old grudges and rush people into a bottleneck a couple seconds faster. The only solutions that should be on the table, now, involve increases in transit capacity and alternative transportation methods. Nothing we can do on this planet is going to make it easier for people to drive. For people who live here but work on the Eastside, or have kids in day car or whatever, they better start thinking of ways they can either take the bus themselves, or find ways to encourage 95 percent of their fellow car travelers to take the bus, instead. Again: there are no possible mitigations to the traffic situation, period.

      • 1994 April 21, 2020 (5:21 pm)

        Please remember that not everyone is needing to cross a bridge. Plenty of people will want to be heading south – skipping the bottleneckedup bridges entirely! Surely you would have interest in them being able to move on southward out of the way of the transit heading north or east? That is the idea behind restoring capacity on some of the road dieted arterial roads in WS – helping move everyone in all directions.

        • CAM April 21, 2020 (8:56 pm)

          “Everyone” would include those not in a SOV, right? How does restriping the lanes promote the safety and transit of those populations?

        • Ice April 22, 2020 (2:01 pm)

          As someone who lives on 35th I can tell you that the re-striping would not help me to move in all directions.

      • Frank April 21, 2020 (9:12 pm)

        Jort,  You officially have my attention now.  You seem to believe our 35th Ave SW road diet was a good idea and is executing well.  Do you also believe the City has done a great job on the 35th Ave SW Paving Pjt as well?  I just want to gain some perspective to calibrate.  

  • Mj April 21, 2020 (3:26 pm)

    And Jort please provide reasonable alternatives for people who live in WS and work on the east side, have kids in daycare or school, contractors needing to bring materials to a job site.  Transit and bikes (during 8 to 9 months of the year) can work for people working in Seattle itself.  Your anti car rhetoric is not helping anyone dealing with the impact of this closure of a major major facility.  

    • Joe Z April 21, 2020 (3:51 pm)

      The solution is to get as many people using transit and bikes as possible so that the people who really need to drive can do so. The path to that solution is to build more bike and transit infrastructure. 

      • Canton April 21, 2020 (10:09 pm)

        In theory, it sounds great. But how many millions should we dedicate, to the 2.8 percent that can use bikes for their commute? Sounds good on paper, but the reality is people will use whatever mode is the least prohibitive to their daily functions. People shame dictators, then try to be ones themselves. 

        • Tsurly April 22, 2020 (7:04 am)

          Whelp, cars are about to become extremely prohibitive, so maybe it will force people to try something different.

    • Solution April 21, 2020 (3:58 pm)

      Move to the east side and enroll your kids in daycare / school over there.    

    • Go gull April 21, 2020 (4:09 pm)

      People who have to drive, will have to drive, and face traffic. These people should try to adjust their schedules, if possible, to avoid highest traffic times.

      Everyone else who can make adjustments, like telecommuting or utilizing alternative transportation should do that, to remove their car from the traffic equation.

    • Ice April 22, 2020 (1:47 pm)

      There are no ‘reasonable’ alternatives, dude. If you’ve set your life up so that you are dependent on the West Seattle bridge, you are going to have to reconfigure your life considerably. There is no easy way around this. That’s reality. Re-striping 35th Ave or 1st isn’t going to do anything perceptible to alleviate the massive bottleneck.

  • Mary April 21, 2020 (3:40 pm)

    WSB, maybe this came up elsewhere but if so I haven’t seen it. Given the talk of closing the low bridge due to possible danger from the high bridge, is there likely to be any risk to the marina and the office buildings on the southwest (I think) corner of Harbor Island?

  • Armchair eng April 21, 2020 (4:24 pm)

    They rebuilt the I-35 catastrophic failure bridge in Minnesota in 1 year something to think about carried roughly the same load of traffic as West Seattle bridge but not as high of a bridge. Not sure why this would take so long other than lack of funding. 

    • uncle loco April 21, 2020 (4:59 pm)

      Completely different bridge designs. Apples to oranges unfortunately.

    • WSJ April 21, 2020 (5:30 pm)

      Well for one, the “stabilize the bridge so it doesn’t fall down” part of the project was skipped since it was already in the river.

      • sna April 21, 2020 (7:55 pm)

        Kind of sad that the fastest path to getting the high bridge reopened is to have it collapse.

        • WSJ April 21, 2020 (9:34 pm)

          Well sure, except in that case we would have an actual emergency not just an inconvenience, given that it would block the river and take out the lower bridge.  

  • Bh April 21, 2020 (4:52 pm)

    While I appreciate all of the humor here, this will probably result in me losing my job. My wife has a two mile commute that by car will become something like 45 minutes each way. I live right next to Holden and the noise alone lately has raised my stress level, and the thought of the City making me lose my job and still wanting taxes is downright sickening. 

    • Stevie J April 21, 2020 (8:31 pm)

      Two miles is not a distance anyone should be driving unless they are carrying heavy equipment. A regular bicycle or even an E bike if needed could make that distance in 10-15 minutes if you are taking your time. Even a simple folding non motorized scooter could cut that car commute in half. When it’s raining you can wear a poncho and wear your normal clothes underneath. I understand not 100% of people have the mobility to ride a bike but even if only 50% of people do they should consider it for short trips. My partner rode her ebike on a 2 mile errand today and was back before I realized she had left. 

  • Mj April 21, 2020 (5:05 pm)

    Jort – you’re anti car attitude is not needed.  I agree that it is not possible to replace the capacity lost with the WSB closure.  I absolutely disagree with your exertion that there are no Traffic Mitigation when in fact there numerous improvements that can be made to reduce, not eliminate (I agree with you on this), and these improvements need to be made.  

    • Jort April 21, 2020 (9:28 pm)

      The argument here isn’t about how “anti-car” I am. With the closure of a 100,000 vehicle per day bridge, our existing infrastructure suddenly and immediately became “anti-car.” The limited funds we have should go to where we can make the biggest positive mitigations, and those are transit and cycling improvements. Throwing money at car lanes is throwing money down a drain for minimal, if not negative, results. There is no way out of this, and anybody promising easy solutions are charlatans trying to make people “feel” like something can be done. 

  • Steve April 21, 2020 (5:22 pm)

    Drove from Alki to downtown for the first time today…took Roxbury to 509 to Michigan to 5.  It was SUPER annoying that the lights on Roxbury have not been retimed for the increased east-west traffic!  We were all sitting there waiting for the n-s lights to change when there were no cars in sight.

  • Lori April 21, 2020 (5:25 pm)

    Has there been any conversation about running shuttle vans from the west side of the bridge up to the junction?  It is possible to walk across the lower bridge, if there is a reliable shuttle on the other side.  Public transit can work, if it runs often enough.  

  • TJ April 21, 2020 (6:04 pm)

    While there will be bottlenecks, that doesn’t mean that adding lanes and repurposing roads shouldn’t be done. Not everyone will be traveling on 35th, West Marginal, or Roxbury to get out of West Seattle, so the more capacity the better. Just like on the West Seattle freeway to I-5, there certainly is a bottleneck to get on I-5 north, but we wouldn’t just say get rid of the right lane then as some cars head for I-5 south or up Beacon Hill. They need to start this now 

    • Ice April 22, 2020 (1:52 pm)

      If this logic were correct than Mercer Street would never be clogged and LA would be traffic free.

  • TY April 21, 2020 (6:46 pm)

    The current bottleneck is actually at 16th & SW Austin!  So many vehicles driving on Orchard/Dumar Way/Austin.   Then, at 16th & Austin, the drivers who are supposed to MERGE from the right onto SB 16th SW continually block the intersection at SW Austin.  Cars that want to go SB on 16th SW have to wait until those vehicles sitting in the middle of the road move into the left lane.  And, 90% of the time, the “blockers”, often do not even make it to Holden to turn left on the first green light.  This same thing happens on the return route, when drivers turn right onto 16th SW from Holden and block NB 16th SW in front of fire station #11.  The crosswalks are for pedestrians, not for drivers to idle, before the light turns green.And, this is all BEFORE everyone goes back to their routine driving.  It amazes us how many cars are using this route, when we are supposed to “stay safe, stay home”. Lisa Herbold, who lives in the neighborhood, should come down the hill and check out this intersection!

  • Innovatio April 21, 2020 (8:17 pm)

    Let’s build a Shweeb from West Seattle to downtown and other neighborhoods.  Dust off the plans and accomplish something new for the first time ever. Let’s do better.

  • Totally Not A Renter Looking For Cheap Real Estate in WS April 21, 2020 (9:36 pm)

    In protest, people should move away from West Seattle. Show them we mean business.

  • Jeff April 21, 2020 (9:44 pm)

    Anyone notice the abandoned ferry-style terminal in the north end of the Port of Seattle dock?  They could activate that and a couple of those ferries mothballed in Eagle harbor. They could run opposite the Bremerton-Seattle WSF schedule 

    • Steve April 22, 2020 (5:48 am)

      That is a ramshackle, rotten old loading dock for rail cars onto barges…and definitely not in any shape for being used for anything but a perch for seagulls. 

      • Jeff April 22, 2020 (12:04 pm)

        If the fix-decision isn’t going to start until 2021, they could certainly fast-track ferry dock construction and get some relief in place. Even if planning and contracts took a year, construction of a terminal like that shouldn’t take more than 10-12 months. Worst case they could start accepting cars sometime in late 2022. The Fauntleroy terminal isn’t exactly Coleman Dock, it doesn’t need to be fancy! Beach drive would need a stoplight at the park entrance and probably a lot of thought. The the whole job could be done for half of what the exploratory shoring is going to cost. 

  • Rachael T April 21, 2020 (11:18 pm)

    Seriously…why isn’t this an emergency? Let’s all tweet, tag SDOT, Constantine, Inslee. Am speechless by this women’s comment:
    “Heather Marx, the director of downtown mobility for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), said people will need to adjust how they get in and out of West Seattle.”
    Does she live in West Seattle? That comment lacks empathy and sensitivity to our situation. Stoked to find out about the virtual town hall meeting because I want to know what is up! 

    Read more here: https://www.king5.com/article/traffic/detours-west-seattle-bridge-traffic/281-c18938e5-c64a-402c-b669-c7ccaa74a25f

    • WSB April 21, 2020 (11:21 pm)

      Yes, she does. As does SDOT’s director. That quote is from yesterday’s briefing, which we covered thoroughly here:

      and it is absolutely realistic because, as she also said (following line is from our report linked above): The current detour routes “cannot support the level of traffic we had before the stay-home order.” In other words, you cannot just take the 80,000 cars (according to an SDOT count quoted by CM Herbold) that were using the bridge and move them all to the 1st Ave. S. and South Park bridges

      • ColumbiaChris April 22, 2020 (11:20 am)

        I am consistently amazed by the fact that numerous commenters on this blog complain about how no one cares about the plight of West Seattle when the reality is that, if anything, West Seattle is over-represented in local government based on who actually lives west of the bridge.

  • WS Rob April 21, 2020 (11:20 pm)

    Couple things.Yeah, road diets kinda suck.  When the kids go back to school, remember, every single route to HPW, Myers and Ambaum will have at least one, if not two 20mph school zones active.  Car-to diet?Maybe SDOT can be asked if cameras will be installed along the routes so they can be monitored like the other major routes are.  This should help with which one to pick.  And maybe catch a few bad people trying to leave the area…  oh wait..Any kind of passenger traffic off the Isle of WS will need a massive change to the local bus service, ie, the 22 running once an hour?   Maybe?   How about every 15?  WS bridge to Magnolia bridge, hold my Pabst.  That one will need attention too.  Jusy sayin’.  How long have they been lobbying?They should accelerate ANY required repairs on the low bridge, and any others before things really open up.  If one of them goes down too…Maybe with (assumed) the lightening of load on the hotel business, there could be a weekly/monthly rate for people working downtown. If they knew they would be getting some low impact dollars, maybe they would give a good deal. Oh, and locals wouldn’t get dinged the exceptional taxes for, what, the stadiums?ok, more than a couple.

  • Calires April 22, 2020 (3:39 am)

    It seems like outreach could be done once the quarantine is lifted with employers on behalf of West Seattle workers who could work remotely.  I know during the viaduct shutdown back in 2011 (or early 2012?) my employer was very flexible about letting WS employees work remotely for those weeks.  But I could see that some employers may not be aware or would need a “work from home note” and the City could help with that.  I’ve been working from home for years now, so this doesn’t really affect me, but it seems like a sensible solution to alleviate a lot of traffic during the bridge closure.

  • Nick April 22, 2020 (9:15 am)

    How long would one expect it to take until property values start falling? If the commute pain is as bad as people say it will be, there should be a serious drop, yeah? Wondering how much a willingness to, say, bike commute for five years is worth. 

    • alki_2008 April 22, 2020 (11:03 am)

      Commuting by bike in Seattle is not the same as if this was San Diego – because weather.

      • tsurly April 22, 2020 (1:00 pm)

        Bike commuting in Seattle, despite what you hear or perceive, is not hard. The weather is very forgiving compared to many other places in the US/world. As far as what bike commuting for 5 years is “worth”, consider 1) the money you will save on gas/parking/car maintenance; 2) the health benefits of getting consistent, low impact exercise; and 3) having a commute that is mostly not at all impacted by the surrounding car traffic. 

  • Allen Bentley April 22, 2020 (2:18 pm)

    Rode my bike from Alki down to the Chelan Cafe this morning and, at about 8:45, saw what appeared to be heavy trucks, with lights flashing, up on the high bridge.  Can anyone tell me what they were doing up there?   Checking on the cracking?  It seemed like a lot of vehicle weight for just the “routine” checking.

  • WS Marco April 22, 2020 (3:02 pm)

    What about motorcycles on the low bridge? I prefer riding the bus in inclement weather and I hope that buses get priority for commuting to the city… but motorbikes wouldn’t slow buses down.  

  • mark April 22, 2020 (3:58 pm)

    Why aren’t you bringing in the best consultants on bridge repair in the country.  You seem to be in no hurry to set up your so-called “advisory board”.  Then you stated in the city council meeting that you are only going to “bounce ideas off them” once it is formed.  Are you kidding me.  Seems like you do not want the real experts to view and understand how we got in this mess and the best way to fix it.  You are being anything – but transparent!!

    • WSB April 22, 2020 (4:23 pm)

      Who beyond WSP should they be working with?

  • JERRY April 22, 2020 (5:24 pm)

    I registered for this event but was not sent a response or link, so could not join. (Yes, checked my junk folder too.) Very disappointing. Wondering if that happened to others…?

    • JERRY April 22, 2020 (5:31 pm)

      I emailed CM Herbold and received an immediate reply with the link. Problem solved.    

  • Rebecca Kelly April 22, 2020 (5:34 pm)

    Buy a bike? – town hall suggestion from Heather Marx.

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