WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Bicycle groups’ suggestions for ‘strategies and actions’

While we await a plan for how to move people from and to West Seattle without the high bridge when the stay-home order ends, we’re continuing to spotlight feedback that various groups are providing to SDOT. Tonight – here’s what bicycling-safety groups are suggesting for “strategies and actions to help mitigate the closure of the West Seattle high-rise bridge. This letter was shared with us this past week by Don Brubeck, president of longtime community group West Seattle Bike Connections, which along with three other groups sent it to SDOT:

You can also read the letter here (PDF). Previously, we’ve featured letters from a coalition of South Park/Duwamish Valley groups (here) and from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (here).

12 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Bicycle groups' suggestions for 'strategies and actions'"

  • Jay May 4, 2020 (10:28 am)

    Thank you so much for doing this! I am a new bike commuter and shocked some of these issues haven’t been addressed before, but it is clearly a good time and opportunity to improve bike safety from WS to/thru other neighborhoods…not just downtown. Hope SDOT and the city council take this seriously!

  • EF May 4, 2020 (11:40 am)

    I’m a big fan of this. Shifting commutes to bikes and public transit will improve life long term, no matter what happens with the bridge. 

  • poultine May 4, 2020 (4:02 pm)

    This is, at least in my experience, a very accurate description of the pain points of cycling in West Seattle (though I probably would have added Delridge to Spokane St. Bridge and South Park to Green River Trail as similarly tricky). The intersection next to the Chelan Cafe doesn’t see too bad to me, but that might be because I’ve been through there a few hundred times by now. It’s definitely “quirky” at best, and it’s pretty tough to get yourself merged into traffic when coming from Sodo to WS when it’s busy.

    Having tried to navigate through the 1st Ave Bridge cycle path on a dark winter night when the bridge at Spokane was stuck open… was interesting, to say the least. Luckily I had been through there a couple years earlier and kind of knew what I was looking for, but that was definitely a hair-raising experience. I can’t imagine dealing with that if I were a part-time bike commuter, and those kinds of things definitely are a barrier for folks trying to get more comfortable with alternate modes of transport.

  • David J Urbina May 4, 2020 (5:42 pm)

    Thanks for posting this! Excellent resource for the community and first time commuters. Glad to see that people are thinking of cyclists!

  • Pamela P May 4, 2020 (7:09 pm)

    Why doesn’t SDOT start a plan to build a new bridge across the water from W Seattle to close to the Piers where ferries are landing on the Seattle side now.  Instead of waiting two more years to tell West Seattle — we have to tear the bridge down.  Think Golden Gate Bridge — and Tacoma for instance figured out how to build a bridge that was aesthetically appealing.  Don’t we have anyone capable of building bridges?  Golden Gate was built in 1937 — so honestly instead of crying now that they can’t do anything about the W Seattle bridge, how about build one next to the current bridge than tear down the older W Seattle bridge upon completion.  Good grief.  

    • KM May 4, 2020 (9:17 pm)

      Despite the sheer enormous cost, visual blight, port disruption, environmental disaster, and maritime chaos building a bridge to the downtown piers would create, dumping that much car traffic onto downtown streets would be an absolute disaster, especially since the current bridge connects with I-5 (and not quite to I-90). The Golden Gate Bridge, starts and ends is two somewhat isolated areas, and the terminus in the city directs traffic to two urban highways.  

  • PDieter May 4, 2020 (10:36 pm)

    Nothing is going to do more to move cars in and out of W Sea than getting as many people as possible on bikes

  • Kathy May 5, 2020 (12:46 am)

    To be clear, we have been fighting for many of these improvements for years, especially since 2013 when Don Brubeck founded WSBC to ensure West Seattle didn’t get left out of the Seattle Bike Master Plan like we were initially.  Infrastructure projects to make the city safely navigable by bicycle  (and on foot) have received a lot of pushback and been deemed too expensive, when in reality investment in safe infrastructure for bike transportation would be a drop in the bucket compared with the building and maintaining of freeways, roads, tunnels and bridges that  people biking and walking are banned from using or can’t use safely. We wonder why more people don’t bike for transportation and the answer is there are many who are afraid to bike in Seattle because the city and state have put the preponderance of resources into infrastructure for transportation by car while deferring bike projects for many years. Good example: Fauntleroy Boulevard Project with safety improvements for people walking and biking was planned by the community for over twenty years, fully designed and funded, then suddenly dropped like a hot potato because it might interfere with a light rail project that will cost billions.  It may take this crisis for people to finally recognize how badly and urgently we need safe, connected routes for people to get around by bicycle.

  • David Boneham May 5, 2020 (7:33 am)

    Best wishes to fellow citizens. Spent my 60s up to retirement bicycle commuting from Arbor Heights to Seattle. Was sometimes stressful especially when my fellow citizens in cars were selfishly rude when I wasn’t fast enough. More often than not the ride was invigorating and interesting. Car commutes were always drab and annoying but whenever I switched to two wheels I found myself with more freedom than I had in cars. So while I accept that there are some folks whose circumstances trap them in their cars but for those who have a choice give it a try. You will be amazed at the adventures and unblocked access a bike will provide you.  And now you can “motorize” your bike with an electric motor and those hills become a non issue.  Give it a try. Find freedom within the pain of a broken bridge by getting your bike working.

  • WC May 5, 2020 (2:31 pm)

     I am a health care provider with a 5 day/week commute to first hill. I purchased an e bike a few weeks ago as that felt like my best and only feasible commute option. I rode to work for the first time last week and, and as a pretty seasoned bike commuter in the past, there are parts of my route that felt very unsafe, particularly in West Seattle heading south on Fauntleroy and California where there is no designated bike lane and I am riding with traffic and right along parked cars, where I envision getting either “doored” or hit by a car. All it takes is one driver glancing down at their smartphone.  While bike commuting is something I have done in the past and am motivated to do now, this stretch in particular feels death defying. I don’t see this stretch specifically mentioned in the spot improvement section in the letter to Sam Zimbabwe, I’m wondering if any other cyclists share this concern and hope for infrastructure improvement. Also interested in alternative/safer routes to head south from Trader Joes toward Lincoln Park?  Thank you.

    • PDieter May 5, 2020 (3:47 pm)

      WC 42nd ave is the designated/future Greenway from Alaska to Morgan. It’s nice ride off of Fauntleroy, I particularly like it coming up to Alaska.

  • Brian Nordwall May 14, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    P Dieter, that will be sweet.  Do they have any idea when it will happen?

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