WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: What SDOT director, mayor, councilmember said during ‘town hall’

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.

102 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: What SDOT director, mayor, councilmember said during 'town hall'"

  • Alki resident May 14, 2020 (10:22 pm)

    Thank you for the update. VERY frustrating that this was last minute and the community was not invited like the previous town hall. 

  • Question Authority May 14, 2020 (10:42 pm)

    Town Halls, slides, handouts, live data and never ending information supplied to the masses, when will the madness stop?  Instead of all this mumbo jumbo shouldn’t they be doing something productive like fixing or tearing down the bridge already!  That’s sarcasm folks, if you don’t get it your not paying attention to the enormity of the problem at hand and most likely cheat over the Low Bridge because your special.

    • Rob May 15, 2020 (4:48 pm)

      I don’t think they are doing enough and I don’t cheat, nor do I think the lower level bridge is for anything but mass transit and emergency.   If they don’t lose sleep and aren’t ready to quit, then they simply do not understand.  

  • Kendra Williams May 14, 2020 (11:10 pm)

    Thank you for the excellent recap. Did anyone mention the fact that they are going to be repacking Roxbury which means it will be closed for a week? One more reroute. Hope it’s done before everyone goes back to work. 

  • D May 15, 2020 (12:08 am)

    Thanks for sharing and summarizing WSB!

  • Rick May 15, 2020 (3:43 am)

    Glad I don’t have a job to get to anymore.

  • Rick May 15, 2020 (3:51 am)

    I liked this town better when it was run by Republicans. Period.

  • Reality Chick May 15, 2020 (7:26 am)

    My two cents on the traffic management: it is missing the word active. Handling the intersections remotely is one approach, but W Marginal Way with its long extended two-way left turn lane (and not very many places to turn left) could be actively managed in to reversible driving lanes outbound and inbound each working day. This gives an extra driving lane and helps with the taper to one lane at the Duwamish Long House. Also the five-way intersection will need to have active management, too. Not just by a computer from the monitoring center since that is a reactive approach; by having a human (likely police officer) direct traffic on the spot, there will be less opportunities for intersection blocking, which will be a big big problem once workers get back to commuting. 

    • Victoria Holic May 15, 2020 (2:04 pm)

      I like the reversible lane idea. I’d wondered about the feasibility of adding one to Highland Park Drive. Hope the Seattle Transportation Dept will consider this option… I understand that if the bottle neck just moved a few blocks, there would be no ROI.

  • Elton May 15, 2020 (8:02 am)

    How do the Stay Healthy streets mitigate traffic in the area? Do they think people were going elsewhere to bike around neighborhood streets or something? I thought the point of the Stay Healthy streets were to give people additional public space to exercise in safely, not improve traffic.

    As always: thanks WSB for the great summary and screengrabs!

  • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (9:40 am)

    People are more important than cargo. Cargo can be transported from other locations.  West Seattle residents have no other viable alternative than the West Seattle low bridge. The City values transporting “stuff” over human welfare.   We need to call them out on it.

    • Chemist May 15, 2020 (10:20 am)

      I wonder if it might be more of an issue of turns associated with alternate routes not being able to handle freight trucks, which often have a turning radius so large they steer into opposing traffic lanes.  I’m still disappointed that Durkan didn’t talk about reallocating transit resources from other areas of the city to meet the anticipated need in West Seattle.  She needs to be reminding the rest of the city mobility here isn’t West Seattle’s problem and the failing infrastructure is going to require sacrifice citywide to mitigate.

    • Carrie May 15, 2020 (10:29 am)

      Well but that stuff also benefits people. Would you feel better if we called “cargo” something like “food, medical supplies, and construction materials”?

      • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (12:07 pm)

        Most places aren’t ports, yet they get “food, medical supplies, and construction materials.”  There is a port on the other side of the Duwamish river.  They can offload the materials there.  Or, in any of the other numerous ports in the State of Washington.  Unlike cargo, people have no other viable  option.  How does a plumber in West Seattle get to Georgetown?  Very slowly.

        • Mike May 16, 2020 (6:04 am)

          Containers have to be unloaded at the port of seattle due to size of the vessels. 

      • There’s a better spot to build a big port May 15, 2020 (12:21 pm)

        Dumping half a billion dollars into Terminal 5 makes zero sense right now. We don’t have the infrastructure to support. Move it to the other side of the Duwamish where there is a cargo terminal sitting empty. I would vote to move it to Everett or Tacoma. And saying we won’t have groceries or building materials is pretty obnoxious. How many cities have those things without a massive port destroying their bridges? We need ports, just not in the middle of our urban core and one that Is super dependent on a single bridge. 

    • 1994 May 15, 2020 (9:04 pm)

      Time is money. Maybe the trucking industry or large stores made a plea to have access to the low bridge? Time is money – taking an extra hour to 2 hours to make a delivery costs someone money.

    • Go gull May 16, 2020 (12:25 pm)

      As I understand it, the low bridge won’t be able to handle the flow of regular traffic, and needs to remain fairly open for emergency vehicles, which is why it’s closed to regular traffic. Allowing freight to use the low bridge is a solution that both benefits these drivers and businesses/consumers and also keeps their vehicles out of the regular car traffic on the alternate routes.

  • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (10:15 am)

    People are more important than cars.  Cars can find other ways to get around.  West Seattle residents have no local hospital, and emergency services have no other viable alternative than the West Seattle Low Bridge.  The City values saving human lives over reducing commute times.  We need to laud them for that.

    • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (10:47 am)

      My family has had to take one of our children to the ER at Children’s Hospital.  Is our only answer now to take an ambulance?

      • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (12:15 pm)

        If you need to take your child to the emergency room, you should damn well be taking the low bridge.  I cannot think of any officer who would stop you and cite you for taking the bridge in an emergency.  Do you have evidence that anyone with a life-threatening situation has been turned away from crossing the low bridge?

        • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (1:04 pm)

          “Life threatening.”  There is the rub.  What if my kid has a broken arm?  Is that justifiable to use the low bridge?  Or, say someone has an allergic reaction.  Enough?  Or a baby hasn’t eaten in 6 hours.  Enough?Could the bridge be available to residents on off hours, say 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.? This would give people who have urgent health care services on the other side of the bridge at least some access. 

        • Tom May 15, 2020 (3:38 pm)

          We just had a baby a few days ago and you better believe we took the lower bridge! No hospital in west seattle so if you have to go you need to take the lower bridge.

      • Matt P May 15, 2020 (12:17 pm)

        No one is going to stop you from using the lower bridge in a true emergency.  If the police do stop you, tell them and then you’ll get waived through or they’ll transport you.  

        • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (2:47 pm)

          Maybe.  Can someone please give me a hall pass?

      • Go gull May 16, 2020 (12:31 pm)

        If someone has a medical emergency of any kind, it’s totally reasonable to take the low bridge… another reason to keep the low bridge free of regular traffic and congestion.

    • Termbomp May 15, 2020 (12:18 pm)

      I love how all the Low Bridge Usage evangelists forget three HUGE things: 1) the high bridge could collapse 2) people from WS wouldn’t be the only folks allowed to use the LB 3) traffic would be backed up due to the lack of connectivity on the Spokane viaduct side, possibly causing a collapse or force a closure of the low bridge, this further isolating WS.West Seattle needs to practice resilience and be less dependent on a single piece of infrastructure. This bridge may never get rebuilt, then what happens?

      • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (1:08 pm)

        Would it collapse if cars were allowed at nonpeak times?And, I thought that the weight of trucks and transit was a much bigger problem that the weight of cars.  If the lower bridge is at risk of collapse, it is doubly important that freight destined for places other than West Seattle not be transported on the lower bridge.

        • Neighbor May 15, 2020 (1:39 pm)

          I believe they were referring to the high bridge collapsing. I not sure if you’ve seen where the low bridge is, but much of it is directly under the high bridge. If the high bridge collapses, the low bridge, Spokane St, etc are crushed.

          • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (2:02 pm)

            Again, if there is a risk of collapse because of traffic on the low bridge, why is freight allowed on the low bridge?

          • WSB May 15, 2020 (2:27 pm)

            Before this turns into the old game Telephone … the problem with the low bridge is NOT a risk of collapse. The problem is CAPACITY. Even if it’s full all day long, it can only carry a fraction of what the high bridge carried.

  • Brian Zenk May 15, 2020 (10:45 am)

    It sure would be nice to allow scooter and motorcycle traffic over the lower bridge again. I miss riding over it two times a day as a commuter.  

    • GAM May 16, 2020 (5:11 pm)

      There is no reason to keep motorcycles and scooters off the lower bridge.   There is no obstruction to emergency traffic from motorcycles or scooters as they only occupy 1/4 the space of a car and account  for only 0.6% of commuting traffic according to 2017 SDOT Commuter Mode Split Survey.   Why not open it up?

    • alki_2008 May 17, 2020 (12:41 am)

      Yes. Scooters that fall under the moped category can’t even take the 1st Ave bridge according to RCW. They couldn’t use the high bridge before the closure, so the low bridge was their normal route. Now they’d have to go all the way down through South Park to cross the Duwamish at 16th.

  • Aerial Observer May 15, 2020 (10:46 am)

    ‘The City values transporting “stuff” over human welfare.   We need to call them out on it.’

    That “stuff” goes into West Seattle’s grocery stores, pharmacies, and those of our restaurants which are still bravely operating. You’re advocating putting single-occupancy vehicle drivers over the human welfare of everyone who eats or needs medicine in West Seattle. I’m calling you out on it.

    See how that feels? :-)

    • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (11:52 am)

      The “stuff” can be unloaded in: Tacoma, Everett, Vancouver, Olympia, Port Angeles, and even in Seattle east of the Duwamish.  The food and medicine needed by us can be unloaded in any of these lovely ports.  Why must this cargo be unloaded in West Seattle?I have birthed two babies after crossing the West Seattle bridge to go to Swedish Hospital.  I am glad my husband didn’t have to midwife them on the side of the road.  I am glad I had an epidural. My guess is that you haven’t had to endure roadside labor.  If not, imagine how it feels.

      • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (12:19 pm)

        I am not sure you realize that if the Low Bridge were open to all traffic there would be a permanent traffic jam there–NOTHING would be getting through in under and hour.  And in that very real situation, yeah, if you chose the low bridge rather than another route you would indeed be enduring roadside labor.  It’s not like they closed the bridge to spite you, or West Seattle in general–it’s because people are so stupid that if they left it open it’d be a permanent parking lot, and that would be REALLY dangerous in terms of blocking emergency services.  I don’t see what you’re not getting….

        • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (1:12 pm)

          Oh, but traffic can be staggered!  There could even be a Good To Go Pass installed so that people who can’t take metro to work (medical workers, the fictional plumber headed to Georgetown) could use the bridge under a special category of workers.  There could be a category for vans for kids in SPS who have to go over the bridge for special education services.  It ain’t all or nothing.

          • KM May 15, 2020 (1:40 pm)

            It’s a public roadway. Along with other suggestions that only employees with certain levels of education should be allowed to use the roadway, allowing certain private vehicles depending on job or whatever else would be a huge inequity issue. 

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (1:47 pm)

            Now you’re completely changing your argument.  How would staggered access help with your previous examples of taking a child to the emergency room or a woman in labor?  I guess you just hope your child gets injured during a time when you’re given access?  Or people only go into labor during non-peak times?  

        • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (2:53 pm)

          I think the low bridge should be allowed to have limited traffic.  And, I don’t need to use the bridge, except in an emergency.  I don’t work across the bridge, and neither does my husband.  So we shouldn’t be the ones to use it, except in an emergency.  And the rules should spell out what an emergency is.  Currently emergency access is disallowed.

          However, I do have a neighbor who is a P.A. whose commute to Harborview has increased 2 hours per day.  I don’t think it is good public policy that she has to suffer in this way during a pandemic.  I think it is doubly bad policy that cargo can continue on the low bridge when across the Duwamish there is capacity to unload the cargo.  Like Tina Fey and Russia, I can see the cranes from my house.

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (5:06 pm)

            I think the low bridge should be allowed to have limited traffic.”

            uh… For the last time!!!: It is allowed to have limited traffic.  It just wasn’t you who got to decide what that traffic was.

            And yes, it sucks that medical workers have a longer commute.  It also sucks that maids and cops and firefighters and teachers and those working multiple low-paying jobs have longer commutes.  It absolutely sucks!   

          • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (7:31 pm)

            Yes, some of the limited traffic allowed is cargo on big trucks.  Why are those big trucks, that could be diverted elsewhere, more important than West Seattle health care providers?  Particularly during a pandemic?

            That is why People > Cargo.

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (7:53 pm)

            So your plan is to have the city come up with a definition of “health care provider” that everyone agrees with, give those people and those people alone access to the Low Bridge and somehow prevent everyone else from using it, all while diverting 18-wheelers and other freight trucks up through the middle of residential West Seattle?

            And you honestly think this is a good plan?  

          • People > Cargo May 16, 2020 (6:58 am)

            No, that is not my plan.  The low bridge is currently at 20% lower than normal traffic.  It has unused capacity.  Some of that capacity could be used by medical providers, particularly because we are in a pandemic.  And, it wouldn’t have to be cars.  Public health could weigh in regarding having vanpools for hospital employees that could use the bridge.  That would seem to reduce risk of spread.Even more capacity could be freed up by having freight offloaded east of the Duwamish.I don’t care about cars.  I care about people.  

      • KBear May 15, 2020 (12:28 pm)

        Losing the thousands of jobs provided by the Port of Seattle and associated businesses would not be good for West Seattle. Yes, it sucks that the high bridge is out of commission. But they are not going to shut down the Port or end shipping on the Duwamish so you can have your low bridge back. Get over it.

        • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (2:05 pm)

          How many jobs are depend on cargo being offloaded in West Seattle vs. on the eastern side of the Duwamish?I don’t need the low bridge.  However, I do care that medical workers who cannot take metro can’t take it.  Doctors and nurses who work at medical facilities are not allowed to take metro, even when there is no pandemic, for health reasons.  Wouldn’t it make sense if these individuals were allowed to use the low bridge?

          • People > Cars May 15, 2020 (2:48 pm)

            Doctors and nurses who work at medical facilities are not allowed to take metro, even when there is no pandemic, for health reasons.”

            I’ve never heard this, and a quick Google search doesn’t turn up anything.  I am curious and would appreciate a citation.  Thanks.

          • NH May 15, 2020 (4:23 pm)

            Which doctors and nurses aren’t allowed to take metro when there’s no pandemic? My hospital subsidizes our metro passes and encourages all to take public transit in normal times, and I take the bus to work 3 days a week even now. I’m sure CCU and Covid unit staff might not be on public transit now, but they definitely were pre-pandemic.

          • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (5:37 pm)

            The health care worker I know who can’t take the bus works in the ICU at Harborview at least part of the time.  Maybe the requirement of driving is for health care workers working with the immunocompromised? For example,  I would be surprised if health care providers in oncology take the bus.  I am not a health care worker myself, so this is anecdotal. 

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 15, 2020 (7:07 pm)

            Yeah…  It is indeed anecdotal, and I think the person who told you they can’t take the bus might be, well–let’s just say they might rather drive for personal reasons.  I’d be shocked if they had any sort of directive or order from Harborview to avoid taking a bus.  

            Like NH said, I’ve only ever heard of hospitals ENCOURAGING people to take public transit, and I’ve never once (outside of current crazy pandemic world, ofc) heard of health care workers being told not to take mass transit, whether they be in oncology or whatever.  

          • NH May 15, 2020 (8:53 pm)

            Agreed. I used to work on the transplant floor. That’s definitely immunocompromised, many of us still took the bus. Our hospital discourages us from driving and encourages public transportation (during the lockdown now it’s a little different). 

          • People > Cargo May 15, 2020 (8:27 pm)

            If crazy pandemic world lasts 12-18 months, would it make sense that health care workers’ transportation take priority over cargo?  Or do you think cargo takes priority over public health? 

            After all, NYC showed us that subways can be a vector for disease. I would much prefer my oncologist, if I had cancer, use a private vehicle. I hope you will volunteer to have the oncologist who uses mass transit.

          • Go gull May 16, 2020 (12:46 pm)

            Medical workers who really want to use the low bridge could choose to get a bike and ride over. It’s a 15-30 minute ride from WS to downtown, depending on pace and destination.

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 16, 2020 (12:54 pm)

            (The website keeps eating my post–I think it’s too big, so will break it into smaller parts, sorry)

            If crazy pandemic world lasts 12-18 months, would it make sense that health care workers’ transportation take priority over cargo?”

            No, that doesn’t make sense to me as you’ve put it, and I will explain (again) why.

            1) It would be hard to determine who to let drive across.  Healthcare worker is an elusive term–would you include everyone who works at a hospital?  After all, a hospital can’t run without security, reception, cafeteria-workers, cleaning staff, etc.  Would you also include hospice workers who work in homes?  Would you include individuals caring for dying or sick relatives?  Would you include researchers at UW working on a vaccine?  Would you include any of these people who are not crossing the bridge to go to work but to make a Costco run (and if so, how could you possibly determine their destination)?  

            2) Related to the first point, how would you ever put a system in place to monitor this vague group of people who have access?  You clearly can’t stop and ask each car for ID, etc.  So placards?  They can be borrowed or stolen or counterfeited.  Registry of license plates with video monitoring?  Good luck convincing people in Seattle that’d be a good idea, not to mention the cost of setting up such a program. 

            The way it stands now–big trucks, ok, small cars not–very simple, very easy to police.  Not much cost or outlay which, in the grander scope of public health, is quite important–you frequently mention “public health,” but I think you are considering it in too limited a scope.  Having cops on the street rather than monitoring bridge traffic is, by and large, a boon to public health for example.  Having city funds available, rather than spending them on some intricate bridge monitoring solution, is good for public health.

          • PEOPLE > CARS May 16, 2020 (12:56 pm)

            (Part II)

            3)  There would be times of the day where the bridge is nearly empty.  When people see this they will be immediately clamoring for it to be open to more people.  After all, you’ve already seen what a slippery-slope the concept of healthcare worker is–why not include pharmacists, teachers, students, homeschooling parents, City workers, etc., etc.  Then guaranteed, certain times of the day huge traffic jams, emergency vehicles unable to get through–at the cost to public health.

            4) Circling back to the larger picture of public health, say you close the Low Bridge to cargo.  What happens to all those big, smoky, rumbling trucks?  Perhaps you read on this blog concerns about pollution in South Park?  Imagine what would happen if in addition to all the new cars driving down that way we included every freight truck that was using the bridge.  It would be an unmitigated disaster for residents all along the peninsula–roads would get torn up (hazard to public health), the noise from traffic would be incredibly high (hazard to public health), and pollution would increase considerably (hazard to public health).  All of these things matter when it comes to public health.   

            So when you ask, “Or do you think cargo takes priority over public health,” I have to say I think it’s not as simple as that. 

            I think healthcare workers are great, especially in these times; but I also appreciate the sanitation workers, and the fast-food workers and all the people out there volunteering.  And as much as it pains me, I think that given the strategic difficulties and the complicated overall nature of public health it really doesn’t make sense to prioritize the healthcare workers commute at the expense of so much else.   

  • Stuck in West Seattle May 15, 2020 (11:19 am)

    I dont feel any sense of urgency from city leaders. If anything this feels like its an opportunity to punish drivers once again who have little choice to drive or add two hours or more for our inefficient and fractured transit plan. We dont need light rail. We need a proper subway system or high speed elevated transit. And no monorail was not that. Been saying that for 30 years but it always comes back to the we cannot do attitude of the city leaders. I would hire a firm from Europe or Japan who specializes in mass transit to redesign our infrastructure. More busses is not really the answer though if implemented more like Amsterdam possibly could be.

    • WSJ May 15, 2020 (11:33 am)

      “We don’t need light rail, we need high speed elevated transit”?high speed trains are for inter-city routes. Light rail *is* the right solution for neighborhood connections, and our geography prevents cost effective subway access for most areas. If we hired a .jp or .eu company to advise us, they’d say the exact same thing. Sound transit is the right solution, the only limiting factor is $, not “urgency”You should educate yourself before you start going off about what the right solution is. 

      • Joe Z May 15, 2020 (1:31 pm)

        What we don’t need is another high bridge. The broken one had more lanes than necessary and basically served as queue holding to merge onto 99 or I-5. Light rail can eat up half the car trips that were using the high bridge, the other half can be moved to a second low drawbridge. 

        • Ross May 15, 2020 (5:20 pm)

          We do need another high level bridge.   The West Seattle Peninsula has always been connected to Seattle.  Even before the tide flats where Sodo sits was filled in.   The I5 Freeway with its junction to I90, and Hwy 99 are both across the water.   We will need bridges, we will have cars, and we will use mass transit.  What we won’t do is fly, walk, or swim downtown.

        • 1994 May 15, 2020 (9:10 pm)

          Joe Z – we all have our fingers crossed for you that you will never ever need an  ambulance to take you to the hospital in a hurry.  

      • Stuck in West Seattle May 15, 2020 (2:07 pm)

        So if I disagree with you I need to educate myself? Fair enough. The Cato Institute actually covered this in an article and we both are gonna get schooled a bit. They argue Light rail is bad and more bus service is the right answer. In this I was thinking more along the lines of my comment on how Amsterdam has their bus system setup with private lanes etc. I took it from the airport to Harlem and it was actually pretty nice on its own dedicated path away from traffic. Probably a bit hard to adopt that around here. x I stand by my statement that I dont think light rail was the ideal choice. Maybe not the worst but Sound Transit has really lost a lot of credibility with costs and timelines and of course the who MSRP fiasco. But anyways happy reading and happy Friday! https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/light-rail-wrong-choice-cities

        • BBILL May 15, 2020 (3:59 pm)

          One commentary piece by Randal O’Toole published by Tucker Carlson’s “Daily Caller” & Cato Institute is not exactly what I’d call extensive agreement about the cost and benefit of light rail, much less situations where light rail might be the best option.

        • KM May 15, 2020 (5:14 pm)

          Cato Institute. Lol.

    • Rob May 15, 2020 (5:10 pm)

      Stuck in West Seattle hit the nail on the head.  And we DO need a high level bridge.  There was even a trestle back in the early 1900s…  West Seattle has never been this isolated from downtown.   Even before the tide flats of what is now SODO were filled.    With so many people new to the area they make assumptions.

    • bill May 16, 2020 (2:20 pm)

      It’s you drivers who are punishing yourselves. Look around! It’s cars to the front, cars to the sides!Into the valley of frustration drove the single-occupancy driver.There isn’t a war on cars. There is a war among cars.

  • WS Resident May 15, 2020 (12:36 pm)

    This whole thing is a disaster.  These supposed city brains need to come up with a solution- and cars need to be part of that.  Drivers need to be able to get in and out of WS  easier.  So typical of this city- to do a town hall without the town.   You know,  these brains know what’s best for this city better than the people who live  here.  What is the big idea of lowering the speed limit all of this city?  Especially for roads that are main roads. Who were the brains behind that?  30 MPH on West Marginal? 25 on 35th?  Really?  That is crazy. JD is almost as inept as the previous pedophile that was elected.  We need someone that has this city and all of the citizens of Seattle in mind and not there own agenda.  Not just the homeless or not just the folks that work in downtown proper.  I don’t understand how JD can use $$ for that- but then leave these dilapidated Rv’s all over the city and not clean up the downtown area?  It does not make any sense. 

    • Neighbor May 15, 2020 (1:45 pm)

      Just so you know, that there has been a ruling by the state already. It’s not legal to enforce homeless laws unless you have adequate alternate housing for them. So, until you stop complaining just for the sake of complaining and start actually trying to find funding to build more alternate housing for these citizens, nothing will change. The citizens like yourself are as much to blame for the failures of ANY city as those in charge of running it. Change begins with you. :D

      • WS Resident May 15, 2020 (3:03 pm)

        Thanks Neighbor- Please don’t give me that BS re. homeless laws.  What about the laws that protect the tax paying citizens of Seattle?  Give me a break.  Citizens like myself!?  I don’t think funding is the problem- obviously.  As the Mayor distributes ridiculous new speed limit signs all over the city or tries to sue the citizens of Seattle bc she doesn’t like that we voted No on the car tabs.   So – forgive me if I don’t think funding is the issue.  That is a load of crap.  Oh and btw- that is the lamest law ever. 

        • Blang May 15, 2020 (6:01 pm)

          Seattle is broken.  

        • KBear May 15, 2020 (9:31 pm)

          WS Resident, if you “voted NO on car tabs”, you have no right to complain about ANYTHING. You created this mess.

          • chemist May 16, 2020 (1:14 am)

            Those crafty 1980s designers put in a flaw that would break the bridge in the period of time after a vote to reduce car tabs but prior to anyone in Seattle actually paying less because of court review?  That’s impressive foresight.  Can we ask those psychics how long before traffic can resume?

  • Bradley May 15, 2020 (1:54 pm)

    SDOT/WSDOT should set charges at key points of this DANGEROUS monument to failed civil engineering and bring it down safely ASAP. Every day that it stays up is one more day we’ll all be without a replacement. Mayor Durkan’s support for “shoring-up” the disaster is just giving us another example of why it was a mistake to elect her.

  • Crabby Voter May 15, 2020 (3:10 pm)

    SDOT and the Mayor gave 5 hours notice before permanently closing the West Seattle Bridge.  And now you give hours notice on a Town Hall?    NOT HELPFUL !  Many of us on the peninsula are watching steps and mis-steps by elected officials.  Was West Seattle Bridge Now notified and invited to the meeting?  How long will it take to stabilize the existing bridge?   How long will it take to decide whether the bridge can be repaired/rebuilt or if the bridge needs to be totally replaced?  Is a subcontractor working on this, is SDOT driving this decision, is the Mayor overseeing it, is it by committee?  Who will make the final assessment/decision?    HOW MANY YEARS DOES THE MAYOR CONSIDER IT ACCEPTABLE FOR WEST SEATTLE TO BE WITHOUT A BRIDGE?  WE ARE WATCHING….WE ARE MAD….AND WE ARE VOTERS !

    • Jon Wright May 15, 2020 (5:45 pm)


  • Dan May 15, 2020 (3:24 pm)

    I realize that some actions have been taken to help mitigate the situation but honestly the only physical thing done to the bridge in several weeks is to install some sensors.   A whole lot of time has gone by and….no shoring…..no repair….no demolition (if needed).   This should be a 24/7 effort that gets results and action.

    • bill May 16, 2020 (2:25 pm)

      [eyeroll] Riiight…the solution is soooo obvious to the ignorant, why can’t the professional engineers see it? You have to make a choice: Do something hasty that will likely make the situation worse (drop the bridge onto the lower bridge and block the Duwamish), or let the people who specialize in heavy construction do it right.

  • beth May 15, 2020 (4:50 pm)

    I’m new to the area but it seems like the 50 or so crossings of the ferry to and from Vashon should be reduced and some ferry  plan that allows vehicles to Seattle could be adopted or at the least ped ferry. not a taxi !  Reroute something!  (not build another ferry or terminal) I understand there are different ferries for varying bodies of water etc. I also have watched countless metros with zero riders-  a smaller vehicle would make sense but that would involve too much HR training.  Definitely not labor or citizen- centered, forward thinking leadership.

    • Rob May 15, 2020 (5:14 pm)

      very good points.

  • Rob May 15, 2020 (5:00 pm)

    Ha, I was angry when they built the lower level bridge with only one lane in each direction way back when.  I was shushed and told there was no reason for it to be two lanes because THE HIGH LEVEL BRIDGE WOULD NEVER REACH CAPACITY.    Before the West Seattle Bridge (originally called the West Seattle Freeway) was built we did have two (2) two-lane drawbridges.  Ships kept running into them.  That was before all the density and development.   so, Port Of Seattle, Ante up.   As for West Seattleites, there are families with generations over here.  It’s not just any Seattle district.    Furthermore, the lack of actions of SDOT since 2013 have led to us facing an immediate decrease in property values that will not recover with the rest of in the post coronavirus economy.    Let’s not even get into the construction of the bridge.   West-Seattleites:  You have now left Seattle.  That may be a good thing.  Maybe make it absolute.

  • Sarah MacKenzie May 15, 2020 (7:07 pm)

    My husband and I have been talking about the merits of an immersed tube tunnel  in place of a bridge when I ran across this op ed article in Westside Seattle (4/24) by Bob Ortblad,  He is a retired engineer and a UW Professor.  He confirmed everything we thought:  all the reasons that contributed to the West Seattle Bridge failure still exist today. We still have bad soil (big deal), we are still in a seismic zone and we still need a high bridge which is radically steep  to permit vessels to travel to and from the Duwamish Also, the loads on the bridge will only increase with time.   With these conditions remaining the same, why do we expect different results with the repair?https://www.westsideseattle.com/robinson-papers/2020/04/24/op-ed-bridge-history-its-time-immersed-tube-tunnelNone of us will want to be on the bridge during rush hour when we we have the “big one”–not only would we have a catastrophic loss of life and property but we would have lost the $33 million we just sunk on the repair….and West Seattle would have another multiple year period without a direct means to means to cross the Duwamish.On the other hand, a tunnel which would be trenched under the Duwamish, deep enough to allow vessels to cross over, would work well for us just as it has for our neighbors to the North on Vancouver’s Frasier River.  Our issues with soil, earthquakes and geography would be addressed.  Moreover, it would cost less AND be quicker to build.  Complete sense!

    • bill May 16, 2020 (2:31 pm)

      @Sarah  I don’t think you paid attention to the 99 tunnel. It cost $3.3 billion. A tunnel to West Seattle would be about half the length, so it is reasonable to expect it to cost $1.5-2 billion. How is that cheaper than rebuilding the bridge?

      • Sarah MacKenzie May 16, 2020 (8:28 pm)

        I  not suggesting a tunnel. It is drop and cover. See link3 mllion is for stabilizing..per link .I do not have the figures on a tube v bridge but it would cost less and would be quicker

    • bolo May 16, 2020 (7:06 pm)

      [None of us will want to be on the bridge during rush hour when we we have the “big one”]

      Wait– none of us let that stop us from using the bridge in the past so why would it be any different in the future?

  • randy May 16, 2020 (4:04 am)

    I thought of this before the bridge was closed. Look up the saying. “Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?”

  • StopTheLies May 16, 2020 (11:53 am)

    From everything I’ve been reading and the interviews I’ve heard on the news, there is no possible way there will be a solution in place by 2022. I wish they City & SDOT would stop treating us like children. Give us the bad news, we will not have a bridge for another five years or more most likely. I was on the other side at 5:30 trying to come home along Marginal way. Didn’t mean to be there at our current rush hour but it couldn’t be helped. I waited for 7 lights and just sat there and finally flipped around like others and made my way home a solid hour-and-half later. And this is during quarantine. Face it folks, there is no bridge for the foreseeable future and clearly there’s something wrong with the low bridge.  On her weekly KUOW interview with Bill Radke, Durkan made it clear she won’t even consider allowing others on the low bridge even after hours.  2022? that’s when you’ll get home if you leave for Seattle right now. 

  • TheReeker May 16, 2020 (1:37 pm)

    I am going open a coffee stand @ 35th and Roxbury because when everything reopens it’s going to be a parking lot from there till first avenue bridge. I would hate to have to go downtown every day from admiral side I don’t know what planet our mayor is on?

    • WSB May 16, 2020 (1:50 pm)

      There IS a coffee stand just a few blocks east, drive-up, in fact, at 30th/Roxbury, conveniently on the outbound side.

  • W SEA Fields May 17, 2020 (9:53 am)

    I’ve gone from anger to quiet resignation on this, but this is a monumental failure of both the structure itself (and the engineers who promised twice the lifespan) and municipal government.  The PowerPoint decks are nice –top-notch production value and all that – but how did they let this happen?  You monitor a bridge for seven years, right up until the point that it’s suddenly a danger?  I’m no engineer but can confidently say that cracks, once started, tend to only grow over time.  It is irresponsible to allow the zoning and construction of the last few years, with multi-unit condos and apartment buildings sprouting like weeds, and ignore the infrastructure lifeline that makes it possible.  And what is the focus of the Sawant/Morales wing on the City Council?  A head tax in the middle of the most uncertain business climate in our lifetime, with part of the proceeds going to switching homes from gas to solar.  Priorities, priorities… 

  • me on 28th Ave SW May 18, 2020 (12:15 pm)

    I’m going to build a pay toilet.    :  P

  • Thomas M. May 18, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    Big huge TUNNEL with capacity for light rail, transit, pedestrians and bicycles.    San Fran’s got BART.  There’s the Boston Big Dig.  Chesapeake Bay.  The English Channel “Chunnel”.  Constantinople and Istanbul across The Bosporus and Dardanelles.  The Highway 99 tunnel.  We already know how to do these tunnels.  The City could turn the footprint of the West Seattle Freeway into tax revenue generating uses instead of the fugly no man’s land it is now. 

  • Deb May 18, 2020 (6:19 pm)

    When will you widen West Marginal Way along the Duwamish
    Long House to permit two lanes southbound? 
    The traffic is horrendous already with 50-60% of us considered Essential
    Workers trying to get to any north or southbound route to work.  I don’t find your emails regarding Emergency Measures
    for complete failure to adequately address what West Seattle residents will do
    for the next 6-10 years.  Of course cracks
    will worsen.  Collaborate with ST3, FEMA,
    Feds and demolish/rebuild both a vehicle and light rail bridge with the monies
    you have available. 

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