Though the announced-at-the-last-minute “West Seattle Town Hall” a few hours ago was not primarily about the bridge, that was a major topic, unsurprisingly. No new information, but SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe‘s part of the program offered some new framing of where things stand. We recorded video of the entire event, which we’ll publish in a separate report; here’s a clip with just his 10-minute segment:
We screengrabbed key slides to summarize his update. First, project priorities:
Then he went through a quick recap of the heart of the emergency plan whose key points were unveiled last week (WSB coverage here):
This next slide was the first time we’ve seen SDOT try to give a visual explanation of the dramatic loss in street capacity to and from West Seattle:
Then, what seemed tailored to those who are worried nothing’s being done:
This one, for those wondering why the bridge isn’t already being repaired or demolished:
And here’s another promise that they’re working on traffic management, with the stay-home order potentially lifting in less than three weeks:
Another slide along the way recapped how many meetings they’ve spoken at:
Earlier in the event, both Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember Lisa Herbold included the bridge in their opening remarks. Durkan described the bridge as “a vital, vital piece of infrastructure … for our entire region.” She says she’s been discussing the situation with all levels of government – federal, state, county, regional. She also reaffirmed her support for current restrictions on the low bridge, saying it has its limit. But she promised the city will “do everything” it can “to increase mobility” (for West Seattle).
As she has before, Herbold declared the bridge closure a “crisis.” In counterpoint to the mayor, she said she will continue advocating for some changes in low-bridge restrictions, such as opening it to personal-car drivers during late-night/early-morning hours. (In subsequent Q&A, the mayor seemed to soften a bit on that, saying “all requests” would be considered.) Herbold also summarized recent developments such as the SFD announcement that another medic unit and ladder truck would be added to this side of the Duwamish River.
Again, we’ll recap the rest of the two-hour event – which featured more than half a dozen other city department heads – in a separate story.
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