WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Low-bridge enforcement begins

Earlier today, we showed you the new signage and bus-lane markings being installed to underscore that the low bridge is NOT for general motorized-vehicle traffic. Now, multiple texters (and Dean, who posted photos in comments) report that police have been out pulling over violators. One texter repoorted at 3 pm, “There are about six motorcycle cops down here, handing out tickets left and right.”

We don’t know whether they issued citations or warnings, but do you really want to risk it?

76 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Low-bridge enforcement begins"

  • Also John April 6, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    Haha……..  I love seeing these ‘laws aren’t for me’ people getting tickets.

    • Alki resident April 6, 2020 (6:55 pm)

      Did you think maybe it’s their first time coming over?

      • andrew April 6, 2020 (8:31 pm)

        people drive on new streets all the time.

        they still should look for and follow all the signs.

        • West guy April 6, 2020 (10:31 pm)

          But what about all the folks that normally take the bridge to get home?

          • Tsurly April 7, 2020 (6:49 am)

            Take the detour like everyone else.

    • Darin April 7, 2020 (7:49 am)

      You’re the same guy who drives a Subaru and is mad when other people are successfu. I can see enforcement when traffic is ramped back up but for now- really? Go bust the crack dealers…

      • WSB April 7, 2020 (8:15 am)

        Driving a Subaru (::waves::) means you’re not successful? Or did you really mean “not rich” Or “not ostentatious”?

        • Elle Nell April 7, 2020 (10:32 pm)

          Did he really try to put down a subaru driver..!? In Seattle… ha! I’m on my 5th!!  He’s probably the “any fast car” driving, jerk that thinks he can come to Seattle and put people down. And success is not the car you drive… FYI. 

      • chemist April 7, 2020 (10:37 am)

        The photo in the story makes it look like the convertible driver (if a WA resident) could probably get a ticket for lacking a front license plate in addition to whatever the bridge-use citation is.

    • Eechoo April 7, 2020 (10:33 am)

      Uh, arbitrary and unnecessary laws/regulations are really where civil disobedience is required.

    • Steve April 8, 2020 (1:49 pm)

        Why are so many people so happy these guys are getting tickets?
      Everyone pays taxes for these bridges.. Why does public transit
      get priority? Doing this under utilizes the bridge. If someone did the
      numbers they would see more people drive across in cars than the # of
      people using public transit.The cars just use more gas driving around this
      mess. It does not makes sense.

  • Jody Ulrich April 6, 2020 (4:56 pm)

    Traffic is already congested, with relatively few cars on the road compared to when people return to work. I encourage everyone to email Seattle DOT and the mayor to urge a fast- track fix. Otherwise, we’re going to have hellish commutes getting anywhere.

    • Really? April 6, 2020 (6:30 pm)

      Wouldn’t it be wiser to not bog them down with your emails and demands and just let them do their job? As if they really need us all complaining and pointing at the broken bridge and telling them it needs to be fixed quickly.

      • Really?? Really? April 6, 2020 (10:29 pm)

        You think if we don’t say anything that they’ll put it as top priority? If we say nothing, they’ll take that as a sign to take their time. Our city’s in a mess, so how about we all work together and try to make the people who run our city do their jobs? Let’s see eye to eye on this and work as one. No hard feelings man, we good?

        • Nolan April 6, 2020 (10:50 pm)

          … yes, I do think re-establishing a major severed link in a constrained transportation network is a top priority for the city.

          Why, specifically, do you think otherwise? What about this scenario makes you so confident in your anti-government platitudes?

        • Really April 6, 2020 (11:05 pm)

          Yes I do.

          Why would they be unaware of the impact and choose to take their time with this?

          It seems we just see it differently. I believe they are fully aware of the situation and working on it, and that it wouldn’t be most constructive to write them to complain and assume they aren’t doing their job.

          We may have a different perspective, and that’s okay, we can share different perspectives here.

          • WSlite April 7, 2020 (9:13 am)

            I agree with ‘Really‘. I’ve lived in Seattle a long time and notice things get done faster when Seattle Departments and higher ups are held accountable and are heard from us. We have a voice and should use it. I could see the bridge project being stalled and taking a longer time for completion if the public didn’t stay on it with asking about progression status, etc. We pay for it don’t we, we should know where our money is going and what leadership actions will be made on this. Having the WS bridge closed has a huge effect on everyone.

          • Elle Nell April 7, 2020 (10:36 pm)

            Seattle is a smart and thoughtful city. You don’t like how fast things get solved, move back to NY or LA… with the quickness. Otherwise, work on your patience. That’s how we roll. 

    • Steven Lorenza April 7, 2020 (7:18 am)

      There’s no fast track fix. You can come to terms with that now or later.  Your choice.

  • CS April 6, 2020 (4:56 pm)

    While we need to prioritize transit and freight, does this need to be a 24/7 bus lane? Even when we go back to normal life and commute patterns, I think we should designate the Spokane St Bridge a bus lane from something like 8-10am and 3-7pm. That way drivers outside of commute hours can still use the bridge without slowing transit riders.

    • Jon Wright April 6, 2020 (5:48 pm)

      8 to 10 and 3 to 7 is w-a-y too optimistic; the restriction would need to be all day, along the lines of 6 am to 8 pm.

    • m April 6, 2020 (5:54 pm)

      Absolutely. They do the same thing on Aurora Avenue, but for some reason this logic doesn’t apply south of the Ship Canal.  

    • WSresident April 7, 2020 (7:02 am)

      The restrictions aren’t to prioritize transit, the lower bridge was build to withstand NO MORE than 20k cars a day, think the only way to enforce that is to allow the 18k bus riders over and keep cars off. 

    • WSlite April 7, 2020 (9:17 am)

      CS – I’m right there with ya wondering if passenger vehicles can go over lower bridge during off-peak hours. If there’s less traffic at that time, don’t see why there should be a issue. Maybe the weight stress on the bridge, I have no idea….? Just would be nice if they worked with the citizens a bit on this since it impacts so many people. 

  • RayWest April 6, 2020 (5:00 pm)

    Glad the police are cracking down on the “cheaters.” I am wondering, however, can cars use the lanes under the bridge to connect to West Marginal Way (completely avoiding the lower bridge) to head south or to connect to the 1st Ave. Bridge?

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (5:29 pm)


  • josh April 6, 2020 (5:04 pm)

    So that bridge is not open for any drivers? 

    • JAT April 6, 2020 (7:49 pm)

      Truck drivers, ambulance drivers, bus drivers – yes it’s open to drivers. 

  • AlkiBeachGal April 6, 2020 (5:11 pm)

    Awesome!!  It’s nor fair to the rest of us who are going around this mess and sitting in traffic.  I’m glad they are enforcing this and hopefully giving out tickets!!

    • chemist April 6, 2020 (6:54 pm)

      I’m curious what the citation would be (maybe failure to obey traffic control device/restrictions?) but it sounds like they’re not forcing drivers to make a 180 either.

  • Chuck April 6, 2020 (5:31 pm)


    I had to pick up some supplies from a warehouse within spitting distance of the bridge on the sodo side. It was tempting to just zip across it. But I didn’t, and went all the way south and back up. While sitting at the lights, car after car just kept going over the low bridge without a care in the world. Kind of like what they do at every on-ramp in the area with an HOV lane.

  • AB83 April 6, 2020 (5:40 pm)

    Thank God I work on Harbor Island.

    • AN April 8, 2020 (2:47 pm)

      are you allowed to dive over the bridge because you work on Harbor Island? 

      • WSB April 8, 2020 (2:55 pm)

        I am asking for official clarification on this.

  • West Seattle Coug April 6, 2020 (5:41 pm)

    Sigh. Looking at the live camera feed of the lower bridge showing lots of cars going both ways… and not a single SPD officer in sight. We’ll see how this goes. Probably like the sporadic MC officer on the high bridge looking for bus lane violators.

  • Pilsner April 6, 2020 (5:55 pm)

    There is too much info too shift through, can bicycles and pedestrians still use the lower bridge?

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (6:53 pm)


    • JAT April 6, 2020 (7:52 pm)

      I love the Freudian Typo: too much info the shift through – and I’m interpreting this through the bike-friendly filter, though it’s funny the other way.

  • GG April 6, 2020 (6:31 pm)

    Just now looking at cam, gonna be a ticket field day! Get em SPD,

    • Will April 7, 2020 (9:12 am)

      Can the cops legally give people a ticket without pulling them over?

  • Ken April 6, 2020 (6:36 pm)

    So wonderful to see these drivers getting tickets – there’s always someone who thinks that rules don’t apply to them. Yeah, it’s definitely a hassle to go around to the 1st Ave or South Park bridge, but certainly better then a potential ticket.

    Since this is going to be a very long term situation, I wonder if they could setup a dual camera type system for “contactless apprehension”? Stick a camera on the east side and another on the west side. If the vehicle is indeed traveling to Harbor Island, no worries; but if it continues to Spokane Street corridor or East Marginal Way, then the driver can expect a ticket in the mail. Seems it would free up a lot of police resources for more pressing matters.

  • Franci Pease April 6, 2020 (6:46 pm)

    No it should not open to traffic outside the ‘commuter hours’ posted above.  Anyone who commutes early – before 8:00 am knows how backed up the high bridge can get before 8:00 am.  Letting commuters back up the low-bridge is a bad idea.  I get it, its tempting when volume is low, when we can all go back to working in the office, the volume would always be high pretty much 6:00 am – 8:00 pm, if it was open to all traffic.We need to prioritize emergency vehicles – who knows it could save your life or that of someone you love!!

  • LiouxLioux April 6, 2020 (6:49 pm)

    If they had been there at 530pm  and writing real tickets we could be half way to paying for all the bridge repairs we will ever need. I realllly doubt THAT many WS folks work on Harbor Island.

  • Kathy April 6, 2020 (7:06 pm)

    We need to ask them to change the timing on the lights. It just took me 25 minutes to get through the intersection at Chelan/ Marginal Way getting into West Seatlle. Ridiculous!

    • Steven Lorenza April 7, 2020 (7:21 am)

      Sure.  They’ll just deploy the Kathy signal priority system.  Have you ever worked on traffic signal timing plans?

  • Joe Z April 6, 2020 (7:17 pm)

    Now that the slip lane from Delridge to the low bridge is painted bus only it appears cars are just making the sharp right onto the low bridge instead. It also looked like it was taking about 3 light cycles for buses to get through the 5-way intersection because of all the illegal car traffic. This was at 7 PM.

  • Commuter513 April 6, 2020 (7:20 pm)

    Seems like a simple solution to solving the “I work on Harbor Island” claim they’ll be getting is to ask all business that are still in operation to issue proof of employment to employees that must use the bridge. Then, an officer stops their vehicle and they show their proof. Then they carry on. 

    • Jennifer April 6, 2020 (9:39 pm)

      I do work on harbor island, and have been carrying around proof since they announced we could still use the lower bridge. I wonder if I will get stopped every day going to and from work until this is over. 

  • 22blades April 6, 2020 (7:21 pm)

    It’s disappointing that people don’t see the reasoning behind the restrictions to the point of enforcement. It’s like “I’m just running in to get something so I’ll just park in front of the Firehouse.” I agree with Franci Pease above: give an inch & people will take a mile. Exceptions will just make swiss cheese of the rules. Incentivize responsible patterns & make it rewarding. Penalize entitlement.

    • West Seattle Rob April 8, 2020 (9:34 pm)

      1. Herbold better start doing what “we” elected her to do.  As much her mess as Sam’s. 2. SDOT needs to outline a complete, short, mid, and long term traffic plan during the bridge closure.  More lights and temp stop signs to ensure appropriate traffic flow through neighborhoods. 3. Overall traffic enforcement needs to be at choke points.4.  Toll the low bridge.  $50.00 a crossing?  That’ll pay for something.5. One inbound Ferry to WS a day.  Or limit boat loading.  They can all go around.6. Everyone that can have a work day shift should try.  Especially after the current mess.7. Find another temp crossing, maybe for just certain vehicles, try to use the train bridge?  Passenger train cars?8. Get 35th construction done as soon as possible.9. Can a big ferry load off terminal 5?10. Be well everyone!

  • David April 6, 2020 (9:58 pm)

    Shame they couldn’t send a few cops to Alki to dissuade the evening car gangs form speeding around like lunatics.You know the gross, small brick bathroom at the beach? I saw 5 or 6 guys come out at the same time the evening. Definitely the new(?) drug spot now that all the businesses are closed.

  • Rico April 6, 2020 (10:18 pm)

    Freight?  Does that mean tractor trailers only or does it include smaller vehicles like pickup trucks?

    • WSB April 6, 2020 (10:41 pm)

      Tractor-trailers. Asked that one some time back.

  • small businesses Question April 6, 2020 (10:56 pm)

    There are small businesses, restaurants etc on harbor island that I hope will not suffer from lack of business… are we “allowed” to use the bridge to patronize these establishments? I would prefer our tax dollars to go to police enforcement for actual laws and people who are committing crimes. How much does it cost for this type of enforcement and how do we find that out???

    • WSB April 7, 2020 (12:13 am)

      Restaurants on Harbor Island? Where?

      • Rob April 7, 2020 (12:53 am)

        There’s a deli in the marina business park, but afaik that is the only restaurant on the island.

        • WSB April 7, 2020 (1:32 am)

          Thank you.

  • Will April 7, 2020 (1:50 am)

    I drove through there earlier today and was not aware of the changes. I saw a cop there but he didn’t pull anyone over.  I only drive through there once a week. I won’t be doing that again. 

  • Wsresident April 7, 2020 (7:06 am)

    Reading that it would be months before they even had a plan in place- is super worrisome, thankfully many workers will not be commuting anytime soon. 

  • David Boneham April 7, 2020 (8:07 am)

    I rode my bicycle to work from 2013 until I retired in 2018. Every day I would be about the 35th rider across the low bridge. I rode in daily about 5 am so I saw few people. Anyhow I was in my mid 60s and did this daily and in the winter etc. It took me about 20 minutes longer to get to work on a bike compared with using the car. Even an older person can ride to downtown from West Seattle regularly; I suggest that West Seattle folks seriously consider getting an ebike to get to work for about a year. There are plenty of good dealers in Seattle though with the bridge out I would suggest Stu Hennessey’s shop in Admiral. He has ebikes that will do fine in Seattle. While it sounds awful compared to the comforts and ease of a car you really can survive and commute happily in a bike.  Those of you who already motorcycle have a big advantage in switching to temporary use of ebike because you already know how to deal with crummy weather and distracted carr drivers. And for those whom bicycling was a childhood memory, you will be amazed at the fun and freedom a bike will give you. Riding a bicycle will give you adventure when you discover trails and things cars can’t use. And it will give you hope for your daily commute versus the horror of being trapped in traffic for hours that will result when we all go back to work with high bridge.

    • Tsurly April 7, 2020 (8:51 am)

      Well said. 

    • Adam April 7, 2020 (11:23 am)

      Thank you David, we all need to embrace our new bicycle future. Everyone is going to soon see how frustrating car commuting is going to be for the foreseeable future. 

  • monroe1200 April 7, 2020 (8:24 am)

    Why can’t the emergency vehicles do the same exact thing they do every day in stopped traffic around the world? This is not a special road that doesn’t allow for vehicles to pull to the side when emergency lights and sirens are activated.  

  • skeeter April 7, 2020 (9:10 am)

    I work on harbor island and usually bike.  But sometimes I drive.  Are employers supposed to issue some kind of Harbor Island worker pass?  

    • Harbor rat April 8, 2020 (12:25 pm)

      I spoke with SDOT this morning and a police officer last night about working on the island. Policeman said your company or union should provide you with a yellow paper to put in your window signifying you work on habor island. TWIC card works too. That’s how I got off the island last night. I made papers today for my crew.

      • AN April 8, 2020 (3:36 pm)

        Just a yellow piece of paper? or is it an official document on a yellow piece of paper?

  • Perplexed April 7, 2020 (9:29 am)

    So only essential businesses are open.  So people going to work are essential people, no?  Why can’t they use the small bridge if they are essential to an essential business?

    • tsurly April 7, 2020 (11:31 am)

      Because those essential people are NOT driving emergency, transit, or freight vehicles, and only act as an impediment to those vehicles. Why is this so hard to people to understand?

      • WR April 7, 2020 (1:11 pm)

        This is bs.  My wife works at a first hill ICU and got turned around this morning.  14hr shifts.   This is bs to put it politely. 

        • Pigeon Point RN April 7, 2020 (8:51 pm)

          I’m an RN at Harborview and live like 6 blocks from the WS  bridge.  And I drive myself all the way down to the 1st Ave bridge just like we’re all supposed to.   Your wife can do it, too

        • Bye bye April 7, 2020 (10:49 pm)

          Looks like it may be timeto leave West Seattle..

          • Ron April 10, 2020 (5:10 pm)

            Just don’t take the low bridge.

  • Monica Lundberg April 7, 2020 (10:21 am)

    What about a motorcycle or scooter on the lower bridge? Is that ok?

    • Natalie Wiegers April 9, 2020 (8:37 am)

      I’d like to know this too…does anyone know?

  • Inside Information April 7, 2020 (2:55 pm)

    Once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted and everyone returns to work, the neighborhoods will be inundated with vehicle traffic.  There is no way all personal vehicle traffic going to downtown and north/east can be funneled into Highland Park and Roxbury/Myers Way.  Side streets adjacent to the main arterials will be clogged.  SDOT will have to figure out something with that low bridge, but this will not be sustainable for the 12 -18 months expected for the repair.  Increased transit will be part of the answer, but it won’t solve the problem.  SDOT is going to have a mess on their hands especially when it comes to explaining their preventative maintenance and state of good repair records.

  • SB April 9, 2020 (5:23 am)

    Divert the ferries to Coleman dock in downtown Seattle.  

Sorry, comment time is over.