WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: WS Transportation Coalition’s letter to council and mayor

(2 pm screengrab from SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge camera)

Tomorrow marks two weeks since the sudden surprise safety shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge. As reported here Thursday, SDOT is still working on the analysis that will enable a short-term “shoring” plan, to be followed by permanent repairs, so it’s warning the closure will be “lengthy.” One local organization that has long advocated for more attention to the West Seattle Bridge Transportation Corridor (WSBTC) is the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC). This week the WSTC sent a letter to the City Council and Mayor with its recommendations on what should be done along the corridor because of the closure. From the letter:

… Thus, the WSTC proposes the following immediate and longer-term actions to help ease strains on mobility for Peninsula workers and residents, including but not limited to:
Immediately create and install re-route plans and detour signage, to move traffic away from the WSBTC, including:

. SDOT to manage SODO and the Spokane Street corridor diversions

· SDOT to work with WSDOT to manage I-5, SR 99 and SR 509 diversions, and use other statewide notification modes;

. SDOT to create individual street plans and detour signage, to reduce or eliminate cut-through traffic impacts on West Seattle neighborhoods

. SDOT to install oversized signs to highlight high bridge closure and re-route requirements in key
Peninsula centers – Alki, Admiral Junction, Alaska Junction, High Point, Morgan Junction, Fauntleroy Ferry Dock, 35th Ave. SW at Barton, Arbor Heights, Westwood Village, South Delridge, Highland Park, Pigeon Point, North Delridge, and the Junction Triangle.

install traffic signals at –
. SW Holden and 9th Ave. SW-SW Highland Park Way (SDOT completed 03-29)
. SW Delridge and 21st Ave. SW, to allow L & R turns onto Delridge, and ease pressure on SW Holden from SW Highland Park Way,
. AND improve signal timing and operation on all anticipated detour routes

allow (1) registered King County Van Pool vehicles and (2) medical staff vehicles to use the low bridge,
initiate SPD traffic patrols over the low bridge and authorize violation fines;

Longer-term –
Re-activate appropriate Seattle Squeeze transportations options, as when the general population returns to work, the high bridge will likely still be closed. Options would include, but not be limited to:
. Increasing West Seattle Water Taxi service if demand warrants, expanding parking for Water Taxi commuters, and coordinating 773/775 with new sailing schedule,
. expanding 773/775 service to Morgan Junction, for the duration of the High Bridge closure;

. adding midday bus service for Admiral area residents, who are most effected by the closure,

. helping coordinate re-routes for commuters from Vashon and Southworth-Kitsap, who drive more than 800,000 vehicles a year through Fauntleroy, and put additional pressure on Fauntleroy Way and the WSBTC. …

Read the full letter here (PDF). Your thoughts?

34 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: WS Transportation Coalition's letter to council and mayor"

  • Question Authority April 5, 2020 (2:44 pm)

    O Lordy them fines a coming like a sign from heaven above.  Get ready for the rightful reckoning you Low Bridge sinners.

  • Alice April 5, 2020 (2:53 pm)

    That is impressively calm and logically thought through in terms of what is actually possible instead of daydreams.The whole city is often vitriolic and firey about tragic and transit issues. This doesn’t have any of that, and I appreciate seeing it for once. This clearly isn’t asking for a magic solution, and looks almost achievable—when the workforce is back to full strength. I hope SDOT, and WSDOT can make progress on some of this in the meantime.

    • Craig April 5, 2020 (5:45 pm)

      Agreed,  Thanks for this thoughtful and timely message WSTC .   

    • Bill Rudd April 18, 2020 (5:54 am)

      Solid plan!Let’s try some vitrol inspired, practical, overnight magic, though: …Harbor island a giant parking lot. Visitors and West Seattle commuters heading out through Seattle  leave cars overnight, take surge of mass transit options to doorstep. …Cops at West Marginal are upgraded to human traffic lights. Actively engaged in custom traffic diversion based on vehicle type, number passengers, time of day. Supported by centralized tactical advice via earbuds.
      Replicated at key intersections throughout city. …Color coded alternate arterials through neighborhoods via road signs. …All 3-lane roads with double side parking in Alki or similar neighborhoods converted to one-way streets.
      …Better lighting and signage under the bridge. Confused drivers equals congestion. …We should do everything the WSTC recommended. And we should do even more.

  • AD April 5, 2020 (4:03 pm)

    KC METRO should pony up They’ve known for awhile that their buses were running on Seattle streets over weight limits Look at all street pads ruined through out the cityTime for some accountability 

    • Craig April 6, 2020 (12:22 pm)

      Amen to this. The KC Metro busses are always on 60,000 pound street destroyers. The Junction has crushed lanes from frequent heavy vehicle loads, so does Westwood area, and now the Bridge is cracked we’re still supposed to not ask Metro if they have anything to do with it and let them keep doing it? 

      • WS98116 April 7, 2020 (1:57 pm)

        Or maybe Jeff Bezos, the BILLIONAIRE who tripled the population of this city with infrastructure not made for those numbers and a refusal to pay taxes to help the local community he has put so much pressure on along with displacing so many, should pony up?

        • Kanti S April 21, 2020 (3:56 pm)

          Right on!!!

        • KEL April 21, 2020 (6:43 pm)

          Amen to Amazon stepping up!  They are hugely responsible for inflated rents, grossly congested traffic & the cumulative destruction of roadways – and for this they don’t even pay taxes into the local coffers?  That seems whacked!

  • Josh April 5, 2020 (4:41 pm)

    … there should be something about Roxbury- it’s going to be a main route. Maybe emergency/quick pothole repair ASAP and left turn situation at 26th and Barton?We stopped allowing our kids cross at that intersection. 

  • dsa April 5, 2020 (6:08 pm)

    It will make little difference what detour improvements are made in WS if access to and over the 1st Ave So bridge is not addressed.

  • Steve April 5, 2020 (6:19 pm)

    Can some Vashon/Southworth ferries be redirected to Colman Dock?   Many of the car passengers on those ferries might actually appreciate not having to do the West Seattle detour, especially if headed downtown or points north.

    • Janelle April 5, 2020 (7:46 pm)


      Also wondering if this, and/or the idea of a route from Fauntleroy, are being considered

    • LG April 6, 2020 (5:32 am)

      Define many. Not all ferry riders work downtown though. So no, a good chunk would not appreciate this kind of diversion. 

    • MarFaun April 6, 2020 (4:59 pm)

      The Fauntleroy ferry detour idea sounds good, but unfortunately isn’t viable.  First, Colman lacks slip space to accept the extra ferries, and downtown lacks road space to accommodate the extra 3000+ vehicles a day coming in from Vashon & Kitsap.  Second, it would (1) require coordinating sailings between four locations, one distant (downtown), instead of three (Fauntleroy-Vashon-Kitsap), (2) require sorting downtown-bound vs. Fauntleroy-bound traffic at the V & K docks, and (3) with just three boats on this run, we’d lose two for long periods from the morning & evening schedules just getting to downtown & back.  The Fauntleroy Community Assoc. has been trying to divert ferries for decades, to help relieve pressure on the dock and the neighborhood, but the challenges are always the same — even more so when WSF has to run a two-boat schedule there. The 800,000 vehicles a year mentioned in the WSTC letter are only those heading east-bound through Fauntleroy.   They all return every day, which means that more than 1.6 million vehicles a year pass through Fauntleroy dock.  

  • WS_Resident April 5, 2020 (6:26 pm)

    I would like them to place turn lanes (left and right turn arrows) at the light on 16th and Holden and time the light with 16th and SW Austin Street to ensure a steady flow of traffic, and if it helps congestion…do something with the free right onto 16th and SW Austin Street — either remove it or add a light instead of a Yield sign. 

  • LivesInWS April 5, 2020 (7:10 pm)

    Clicked on the link to the West Seattle Transportation Council website. Nothing newer than 2016 there. Odd. 

    • WSB April 5, 2020 (7:19 pm)

      Community groups do not always keep up their websites, unfortunately (some don’t even have them). They’re all volunteers; WSTC and many other groups collect no dues and have no funding, and sometimes,for example, a website is set up by someone who then leaves the group … and it’s orphaned.But the organization is very much up to date – they meet almost every month and we’ve covered almost every one of those meetings. – TR

    • West Seattle Transportation Coaliation April 6, 2020 (10:47 am)

      @LiveInWS, Thanks so much for checking us out online! The West Seattle Transportation Coalition web site is current, we just no longer make blog postings there. Please see our Facebook page where we post news and links.

  • Nuclear Marc April 5, 2020 (7:16 pm)

    Have the cracks widened since there has been no traffic on it?Curious of SDOT has this sort of information to share?I seriously hope not but, knowing is better than guessing.

    • WSB April 5, 2020 (9:07 pm)

      Did you miss our Thursday story? Linked in the first line above.

  • Pigeon Point RN April 5, 2020 (9:02 pm)

    I’d love it if they started enforcing use of the low bridge.  I’m literally an RN driving to work at Harborview who lives like 6 blocks away from the WS bridge, and I’m driving aaaall the way south to take the appropriate bridges over to I5 or 99 north, but soooo many people are taking the low bridge.  It irritates me every morning to take all the extra time driving south, but I’m a rule follower and can’t bring myself to take the low bridge when it is currently illegal.  If I can drive that far out of my way to get to work, everyone else should be able to also.

  • WS commuter April 5, 2020 (9:05 pm)

        WHAT R THEY THINKING!!!!!!  The following request will only serve to INCREASE PRESSURE on the section of SW Holden St west of 16th AVE SW. IT IS NOT…. IT IS NOT AN ARTERIAL!!!! For years it has had an unenforced speed limit of 25MPH that drops to 15MPH at the top of the switchback at 20th AVE SW & SW Holden St. Scary driving westbound there with speeders tailgating. Why not put a traffic sensor on the 7-11 corner light at 16th Ave SW & SW Holden St so we can safely drive the Arterial route down to SW Orchard St & Delridge Way SW.
    DO NOT DO IT !!!!!:

    install traffic signals at – . SW Delridge and 21st Ave. SW, to allow L & R turns onto Delridge, and ease pressure on SW Holden from SW Highland Park Way,

  • chemist April 5, 2020 (10:01 pm)

    One missing idea, the Seattle bikeshare program included and rated companies for a provision about making the bikes available and free in the event of an emergency if requested by the mayor.  Mayor durkan should use that emergency provision and ask that Jump make all rides originating or ending in West Seattle free until the high bridge is open to traffic again.  

  • 1994 April 5, 2020 (10:53 pm)

    adding midday bus service for Admiral area residents, who are most effected by the closure……I have to disagree that any one neighborhood is most effected. ALL areas of WS are equally impacted. Because I live 3 miles from the 1st Ave S bridge does not mean I am less impacted. My usual 10 minute drive to the 1st Ave S bridge may take me 30 minutes or longer! with the increased traffic from ALL of WS.  

    • NH April 6, 2020 (6:36 am)

      But you don’t have a 10 mile round trip detour if you live farther south, that’s what they are pointing out.

      • KM April 6, 2020 (9:57 am)

        That’s key, it’s a huge detour for drivers, but why not increase bus service during rush hour instead of mid-day? Non peak service improvements would be great, but it seems like we need to focus on peak times of day first where there is likely to be more congestion on our roadways.

        • West Seattle Transportation Coalition April 6, 2020 (10:40 am)

          @KM, Admiral already has rush hour service in the form of the 37, 55, 56, and 57. But those routes only run during peak commute hours. We are advocating that service on those routes be extended to off-peak hours, too.

          • KM April 6, 2020 (11:28 am)

            Thanks for the note–is the current rush hour service sufficient? I’m not familiar with these routes and their service.

  • KM April 6, 2020 (8:26 am)

    21st and Delridge light is a pretty awful idea. Signage at 16th and Holden should encourage people a block north to use the SW Austin light, and then add protected left turns from SW Orchard onto Delridge. We should heavily discourage people from using the hairpin turns between 16th and Delridge as a detour, as they are narrow, with blind curves and the arterial solution listed above is designed for more traffic and likely cheaper to implement protected left turns. The intersection of Orchard and Delridge is already channeled as such, just need 2 new lights and some paint. Also confused on the “oversized” signs that they requested…seems like too much information. Simple (temp) wayfinding signs would be fine. People driving can’t and shouldn’t process a ton of written information if their vehicle is in motion, just direct them to the closest route from their location. 

  • Two wheeler April 6, 2020 (11:01 am)

    A request for Low Bridge access for motorized two-wheeled vehicles.  As the weather warms up there will be more motorized two-wheel vehicles out on the roads.  I suggest that motorized two wheeled vehicles also be allowed on the Low Bridge.  There is plenty of width on the bridge so that motorcycles, scooters, and the like can share the road without interfering with emergency vehicles.  They wouldn’t be a good fit for the bike lanes, which may soon have more electric-power bikes on them.  Similar to the West Seattle Transportation Coalitions suggestion about King County Van Pools, two-wheeled vehicles are easily identifiable for any forthcoming patrols and enforcement.Thanks!

    • DP April 7, 2020 (7:41 am)

      Very surprising there’s no other mention of any such proposal or request. There’s no way that permitting motorcycles will cause congestion. 

  • Wakeflood April 6, 2020 (11:56 am)

    Thanks for a reasoned and “solution-oriented” communication. This is one of those, choosing the lesser of evils and making it as functional as possible, scenarios. And it’s going to take a little bit of every option to make it work.  I for one, second the notion of direct sailings to downtown for at least SOME of the sailings during the commute. There’s only so much traffic that can use Roxbury/1st Ave Bridge.

  • Wallace Grommet April 6, 2020 (8:11 pm)

    Nothing outweighs the rebar-laden trucks crossing the bridge after exiting Nucor. Nothing.

Sorry, comment time is over.