VIDEO: Recommended low-bridge changes & more @ West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting #3

(WSB file photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The fourth month since the West Seattle Bridge’s closure started with the third meeting of the advisory Community Task Force.

The headline this time around was from the last item on the agenda, changes in the restrictions for use of the low bridge, which since the high bridge’s closure has been limited to transit, freight, emergency vehicles, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and certain maritime workers. The meeting ended with concurrence on a plan to allow more access, as well as a mention that automated enforcementi is on the way.

First – the slide deck for the entire meeting:

We’ll add meeting video when it’s uploaded. Here’s our video:

Now – our summary:

LOW BRIDGE CHANGES? SDOT’s Adiam Emery opened the discussion by explaining that they’ve been continuing to analyze traffic volumes since implementing restrictions. Even with citywide traffic reductions and low-bridge restrictions, the low bridge is close to its safe capacity at some times, she said. In particular, weekends are “nearing maximum capacity” for the bridge. The 5-way intersection west of the bridge is the “key limiting factor” more than the bridge itself. They have a little more room for vehicles, so here’s the proposal for loosening up access a bit:

SDOT’s Heather Marx explained that vanpools aren’t an immediate priority because the pandemic has limited usage to 2 people. And Emery warned that any changes need to be “dynamic,” also noting that SDOT must keep in mind that Terminal 5 cargo operations are scheduled to expand next year, with completion of Phase 1 of the modernization process.

In discussion, Greg Nickels – who co-chairs the CTF with Paulina López – asked about low-bridge emergency vehicle usage, given that the peninsula has its own fire stations and an SPD precinct. Emery explained the “specialty” apparatus that has to come here for certain calls, as well as Station 36’s location “nestled” against the bridge. Nickels said it would be helpful to see specifics on how many and what types of calls had used the low bridge in the past three months.

CTF member Jill Mackie of Vigor also wondered about maritime access. License plate numbers of workers would be needed, said Marx, because of automated enforcement (we’re following up for more details on that enforcement, as we hadn’t heard it mentioned before; Marx said cameras will be set up in August). She also said the maritime industry has requested access for far more people than feasible.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, one of the elected officials on the CTF, asked about the timeline for “future consideration” items. For example, Marx said, vanpools should move up when they are able to carry more people. Employer shuttles would be considered when the city hears more about how many people they will be able to carry.

As the meeting’s two-hour window expired, Nickels proposed that SDOT move ahead as outlined “as soon as we can make it happen.” No one objected. So watch for an announcement of overnight low-bridge access for all.

Here’s what happened earlier in the meeting:

STATE OF THE BRIDGE: Interim roadway-structures director Matt Donahue recapped the pathway to decisionmaking, as first shown last week. He explained what stabilization contractor Kraemer North America is doing now, and how “crack-arrest measures” are being planned so they could be part of long-term repair if the decision was to go that way rather than immediate replacement. They would continue working with current consultant WSP if long-term repair is the plan, but if replacement is the chosen route, it might be someone else – the “request for qualifications” is still open.

Donahue also went into details of how the stabilization will include a barge and temporary platforms that will be in place “roughly July through November” and will reduce maritime clearance under the bridge by about 7 feet.

Asked if the shoring would bring the bridge up to seismic standards, Donahue said that’s still an open question – a bridge replacement certainly would accomplish that, but they’re still determining how “seismic resiliency” would play into shoring/repairs.

TECHNICAL ADVISORY PANEL: The 30+ task-force members who were present got to “meet” Barbara Moffat and Scott Phelan from the Technical Advisory Panel. They’re co-chairs and in turn introduced other members – Steve Dickenson Reggie Holt, Debbie Lehmann, Gregg Freeby, John Stanton, and Adolph Furtado, all of them with deep resumes. The co-chairs briefly summarized their detailed background in bridge work; Phelan mentioned that the bridge “situation” has drawn national attention. Here’s the long list of their priorities (“key milestones”):

Moffat says their work so far has been like “drinking through a firehose.” She added that the big focus first is “understanding why … it’s critical to know why something is happening before repairing it.” She stressed that they’re working closely with SDOT as an “independent panel … with no ulterior motive.” They’ll be presenting to the CTF at various milestones in the process.

Asked about the absence of a “transportation planner” on the panel, Moffat said that may be appropriate later but right now they’re focused on data-gathering and the first phase of work, but the ultimate composition is up to SDOT. Another question: What about tunnel expertise, for consideration of that option? Moffat noted that she has significant tunnel experience including an “immersed tube tunnel” in Boston. (A few followup questions about tunneling were answered with a reminder that this is still early in the process – the city must decide first whether to repair or replace, and if the latter is pursued, then the question would be, what to replace it with.)

Where will costs come into play? The TAP will be reviewing the cost-benefit analysis that WSP is preparing, for one; that’s expected to be finished in late summer, though Phelan note that “some of the assumptions” from that work are being provided to the TAP along the way. Why won’t it be ready until then? Moffat replied, so that all possible scenarios are being considered equally, including their respective costs (she gave an example such as, what would it cost for long-term monitoring of a repaired bridge). Donahue said, “It may seem like we haven’t been doing much (but) thousands and thousands of personnel hours have been thrown at this over the last few months.” “Millions of dollars in instrumentation” is in place, too, he noted. Phelan noted that scenarios include a long list of considerations.

Councilmember Herbold commented that she is glad to hear the “why” is part of the work. Moffat offered “assurance to the community” that she would also have recommended closure if she saw what SDOT saw in March – “from a structural perspective, that was a sound and good decision … we are completely supportive of getting this thing back in service, whether it’s a repair or replacement.”

Another elected official on the CTF, State Rep. Eileen Cody, asked for clarification on Donahue’s disclosure last week that so far it appeared the bridge would be fixable. Donahue said again that he believes the bridge CAN be fixed, but reiterated that the question remains, SHOULD it be fixed? And that’s what the “repair or replace” decision and cost-benefit analysis are about. “We know we have to replace the bridge at some point.”

Phelan added that the TAP hasn’t seen all the evidence that “a repair can be done,” but also hasn’t seen anything suggesting it cannot be done. (SDOT went into some detail earlier this week.) They’re still working to understand what’s causing the cracks and want to be sure they haven’t “presupposed” anything. Moffat underscored that they’re working to keep an open mind as information comes in. “We’re data-gathering and we don’t want to rule anything out.”

RECONNECT WEST SEATTLE: Halfway through the two-hour meeting, the discussion moved to Reconnect West Seattle planning – how to get people onto and off the peninsula minus the bridge. July 6th is when lists of proposed mitigation projects, by neighborhood plus by mode (for bicycling and freight) – will be “launched out to the public,” said Marx. A Mobility Action Plan will be part of that. Marx acknowledged that transit has some “significant limitations” because of the pandemic. Nonetheless, they are hoping the Mobility Action Plan can dramatically shift the percentage of people using each mode – cutting the percentage of car drivers by more than half, for example:

Neighborhoods’ prioritization of smaller projects will be a key role, though Marx warned, “We will not be able to do all the things we wish we could do.” The draft timeline – including surveys when the proposals are launched – would finalize the Reconnect West Seattle plan by the end of September, three months from now. Task Force member and local restaurateur Dan Austin asked if anything could be done to speed that up. Marx said it’s taking time to translate the materials to get them out in early July, and they feel the public should have a month for feedback, for starters.

CTF member and Duwamish Longhouse director Jolene Haas wondered why West Marginal Way isn’t in the plan; Marx said that’s part of a separate process that also would be “brought to” the task force.

Could some “no-brainer” items be fast-tracked without going through the three-month process? Marx said that in this “resource-constrained” time, that could be problematic, so they want to consider all the feedback/project possibilities all at once.

CTF member John Persak from Georgetown talked about the problems they’ve been experiencing since detour traffic started filling that neighborhood, and the need for multiple means of outreach once the proposals are made public.

As for other mitigation details such as adding transit service, that wasn’t discussed this time around, but Metro is expected to be at the next meeting to talk about buses and Water Taxis.

NEXT TASK FORCE MEETING: After three consecutive Wednesdays, the WSBCTF’s next meeting is in two weeks, on July 8th, at noon.

FEEDBACK? If you have comments/questions, Email

OTHER MEETINGS: 3 more bridge-related community meetings are ahead in the next 2 days – info is in our reminder.

65 Replies to "VIDEO: Recommended low-bridge changes & more @ West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting #3"

  • Flo B June 24, 2020 (4:13 pm)

    What documentation does the city have that show’s that big an increase of bike & bus rider’s would actually happen? They could alway’s enforce it by mandating  employers terminate employee’s that drive to work.  Wonder who would support that? I’ve been across the low bridge. If it is full of busses/semi’s it appears to me that there would be NO room for a fire truck to get through. 

    • Deb June 24, 2020 (5:45 pm)

      Consideration needs to be given to more than just commuting and work related trips out of West Seattle.  Now and as life returns to some form of “normal”.Families aren’t going to ride their bikes or transit to visit grandparents in Shoreline and patients need to drive to doctors appointments throughout the city.  Many like to drive East or north to go hiking or downtown to dinner or other events.The current low volume of traffic is already causing  long delays and that will build to a nearly untenable level soon.I doubt that if the 520 bridge went out of service that the people in east of the lake neighborhoods would be told to ride their bikes or drive around the lake north on 405 to or south to cross on I 90 for YEARS.  A solution would be found.We’ve been paying for ST3 for years with little to no benefit here and no light rail until the 2030s at best.And with the bridge out, property values are already dropping.Seems like W Seattle is getting the short end of the stick.

      • my crystal ball June 24, 2020 (7:56 pm)

        As others have said, it’s not all or nothing with alternate modes of transportation. Some might be able to choose to bike, bus, or water taxi whenever possible, and other times will have to drive outside the city when that makes sense. Hopefully if more people explore alternate modes of transportation, at least some of the time, it will help contribute to easing some of the traffic. 

        Not saying there can’t be other improvements, but there are serious constraints to options. That is why alternate transportation will be key.

        Similar to how mitigating the transmission of covid-19 requires individual actions, mitigating the bridge closure traffic is going to also require individual adaptations.

        And you know, it could be a fun family adventure to figure out a way to visit the grandparents up north by way of water taxi, light rail, and a bus, for example.

        I hear you and understand this is a crazy situation. Just offering some considerations.

        • C June 24, 2020 (9:51 pm)

          Bussing is hardly an option. They are already talking about decreasing bus routes due to covid and the financial hit. And buses and other public transportation still obviously require social distancing. Alternative “options” are not options.

          • Chris June 25, 2020 (6:40 am)

            Riding a bicycle is also not an option. There are only a few certain people who can ride a bike to work. Most can’t deal with The stress of cars passing too close. It is unhealthy

          • Tsurly June 26, 2020 (6:02 am)

            Riding a bike is unhealthy? LOL!

        • Juju June 24, 2020 (11:28 pm)

          Traveling by bus from Alaska Junction to the heart of Ballard takes an hour and fifteen minutes, if one is lucky.

          Generally this is an hour 30.

          Water taxi, bus, light rail doesn’t often put one on the doorstep of one’s destination, which is fine if it’s close.

          Not so fun if there is a 20 minute walk through the rain.

          Imagine doing that with two children under 5.

          What an adventure!

      • KW June 24, 2020 (9:00 pm)

        The most sensible comment to date.  No they would have never dared to tell the East Side to get on their bike or take the bus in the middle of pandemic.  

    • Stevie J June 24, 2020 (7:05 pm)

      Most of the previous car trips will disappear. It just isn’t physically possible to move 100% of 2019 West Seattle Bridge car trips to other routes in 2020. The friction caused by longer trips to other parts of the region will cause people to eliminate those trips, or replace those trips with local options. With this in mind, the denominator changes: there may only be 60,000 trips per day from West Seattle, instead of 120,000. The higher percentages for bus/bike/walking/telecommute make more sense if there are fewer overall trips.

      • Joe Z June 25, 2020 (5:52 am)

        Exactly. Ballard might as well be in Tacoma now. Obviously the answer for most trips is to just not go there anymore. 

      • Anne June 25, 2020 (7:29 am)

        While I agree there might be less than 120,000 trips per day-but half that??—-just don’t believe that . Folks will still travel  & unless one is able bodied enough to bike & riding a bus makes sense for where they need to go, they will drive- friction or no friction. If Metro could do more to make using bus a better option-like park & rides, temporary parking lots/garages in WS close to bus hub, & a BIG if-they can guarantee they will enforce the mask mandate & social distancing-that could help.  

        • tsurly June 25, 2020 (12:06 pm)

          Um, no. We don’t need more massive asphalt or concrete structures to further accommodate cars. Use the existing public ROW to park your car and get on a bus.

  • Matt P June 24, 2020 (4:15 pm)

    10% for telework seems awfully low.  It should be 25% or more.

    • C June 24, 2020 (9:54 pm)

      Seattle employers should be advocating for and allowing their impacted staff more opportunity to work remote. Unfortunately not everyone sees how big of a problem this actually is nor do they see the impact. People are being met with responses such as “we all have long commutes” and they don’t seem to understand that their 30 mile commute is their choice and really shouldn’t be compared to our 5 mile commute, that now takes the same about of time as a 30 minute commute.

  • Flo B June 24, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    Interesting that terminal 5 is expanding-assume with the city’s blessing but  sdot won’t give bridge access  to all the workers needed.

  • An Admiral Person June 24, 2020 (4:40 pm)

    For mitigation, the right-hand lane of Westbound Highland Park Way SW should be right turn only onto West Marginal. That way traffic can turn right during much of the long signal cycles. Currently cars can do this only if no-one in that lane decides to continue straight through and blocks the entire lane until a green light cycle.

    • Jim June 24, 2020 (5:11 pm)

      Exactly! An Admiral Person  –  I sent that recommendation to SDOT.  You should do the same.

    • Leigh June 24, 2020 (6:58 pm)

      YES! And a dedicated right turn signal at that same location when W. Marginal Way traffic has their left turn signal on (assuming no pedestrians have hit the button) would help further speed it up so each car isn’t forced to stop before turning right. I too will submit that request to SDOT.

    • Also John June 24, 2020 (7:47 pm)

      I know exactly what you’re talking about.  Those people that stay in the right lane to only go straight do that on purpose.  They know they’re blocking everyone…they don’t care.   They simply don’t want to wait in the left lane.  The right lane gets them further up.

  • SH June 24, 2020 (5:04 pm)

    It is so frustrating that it will take SDOT 6 months to come up with a traffic mitigation plan.  Why is it taking so long, there are only so many options.  I think we could get it analyzed and check with all necessary agencies in few weeks not months.   The plan for traffic mitigation is to be presented at the end of September.  What a joke.  Enough with community input, surveys, meetings and discussions, just go through the list that was already provided by the residents and do a quick check if any are viable and lets move forward.  We will never get 100% approval from everyone, someone will always be pissed.  But 6 months???? JOKE JOKE JOKE!!!

  • Smittytheclown June 24, 2020 (5:30 pm)

    Great news.  Repair seems more and more likely every time I read these updates……… worst case, start work at 5 and make the morning commute reasonable.

  • Mj June 24, 2020 (5:31 pm)

    Admiral Person – yes and I submitted a plan to do just that via using the low use WB to SB left turn lane, restrict left turns, into a 2nd thru lane, aka 2 WB thru lanes and a RT lane!  

    I submitted a full Conceptual Plan to Heather on Saturday with other recommendation. It’s irritating that I still have not even received an acknowledgement fro SDoT

    • Blang June 25, 2020 (4:59 pm)

      Don’t expect a reply from Mrs. MarxI as well have emailed here and she has not replied.  Extremely underwhelmed by her unrealistic expectations for 35% of people driving.  Are the people making these rules telecommuting?  

      • WSB June 25, 2020 (10:12 pm)

        Yes, actually, they are. (If you watch the meetings, you’ll see the home backdrops.) Though Heather Marx mentioned at tonight’s WSTC meeting that she just bought an e-bike – a “Flash” – at Second Gear Sports in Morgan Junction.

  • Motor voter June 24, 2020 (5:40 pm)
    I vote up: For mitigation, the right-hand lane of Westbound Highland Park Way SW should be right turn only onto West Marginal. That way traffic can turn right during much of the long signal cycles.I also want to advocate for two-wheeled motor vehicles’ access to the lower bridge.  They can fit 2 bodies on 2 wheels and can more easily maneuver away from and make room for emergency vehicles.
  • Eddie June 24, 2020 (5:49 pm)

    Has there been any discussion of allowing motorcycles (including licensed motorscooters) to use the low bridge? Not the safest method of commuting, but seemingly a large number of people could be accommodated in a small amount of space, as well as being easily maneuvered out of the way of emergency vehicles.

    • LiouxLioux June 24, 2020 (8:13 pm)

      Yes! Most efficient vehicular use of a gas engine and maneuverability- reasons to let motorcycles over the bridge and in bus lanes. Sadly, SDOT doesn’t see us, much like the cagers out on the road.

  • my crystal ball June 24, 2020 (5:50 pm)

    There will come a day in upcoming months, where there are too many cars on the road and WS becomes a giant parking lot. This is the day high numbers of drivers will finally realize they have to adopt another mode of transportation. Then we will see a run on bikes, ebikes, and scooters, and a sudden increase in water taxi ridership. And possibly a protest, which still won’t result in any immediate solution for drivers.

  • Glen S June 24, 2020 (5:53 pm)

    Keep the bridge closed to traffic.   Acceptance is the key.  

  • CS June 24, 2020 (6:02 pm)

    What about Taxis? Many elderly and disabled people use taxis to get to and from medical appointments Downtown and the long detour makes these trips more expensive and much harder to schedule.

  • Mj June 24, 2020 (6:18 pm)

    I have submitted a Conceptual Plan to SDoT to provide a WB to NB right turn onto WMW from HPW, a copy of the plan was sent to the West Seattle Blog that I hope can get attached to this comment.

    I did not even get a courtesy response from SDoT that they received my plan!

  • pamela June 24, 2020 (6:43 pm)

    An Admiral Person and Jim  – I wrote also about the request for a right turn only lane at that intersection.  It took a while to figure out who to write to as I was forwarded from one department but I believe it was the SDOT communications department that was able to acknowledge acceptance of my message.  Location: W MARGINAL WAY SW & HIGHLAND PARK WAY SW, SEATTLE, WAGood Afternoon. As a lifelong West Seattle resident who is employed outside of the city limits, the commute since the closing of the West Seattle Bridge has been continually getting worse as more people return to work. I would like to make two suggestions that would, from our experiences and others in our neighborhood, smooth out a few sections of this detour route. At the corner of West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW heading westbound, we would like to suggest the right hand lane be a right turn only lane, leaving the center lane for those wanting to travel onward up Highland Park Way SW. This would ease up the traffic flow as wait times can be between 4 – 8 light cycles depending on the time of day when one or two cars wait for the green light, while trucks and other vehicles need to turn right on West Marginal Way SW. I believe this is the correct location of that intersection: 47.541137, -122.342558 At 4705 West Marginal Way SW, the location of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, we would like to suggest a temporary reopening of the right hand lane heading southbound. This is becoming a dangerous area as vehicles are merging into one lane for this short area. We hope you will research these suggestions and make a quick decision to make the modifications necessary to provide a safer and smoother route going to and out of our homes in West Seattle. 

  • Kyle June 24, 2020 (6:46 pm)

    Had an idea for reconfiguring the two lanes on the low bridge. We should stripe one lane for bus/freight/first responders for 24/7. That lane should be left mostly open for these critical and larger road users. The second lane should be turned into a peak direction lane for general traffic. Signage/striping would be installed to change direction of this lane with morning/afternoon traffic for the community leaving and coming back to West Seattle. This configuration would give us an extra lane of capacity for general traffic during this time, but still preserve reliable travel times for buses/first responders. 

    • my crystal ball June 24, 2020 (7:13 pm)

      One of the concerns with opening the low bridge to general traffic is that it wouldn’t be able to handle the capacity of cars that would try to use it.

  • R2 June 24, 2020 (7:04 pm)

    Now would be a great time to start allowing motorcycles on the low bridge as well as lane-splitting/filtering.

  • IB June 24, 2020 (7:05 pm)

    So glad to see automated enforcement coming. Can’t believe it took this long. Nothing infuriates me more than watching car after car go across the low bridge while stuck in gridlock 

  • High Point June 24, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    It does seem like good news is coming out of updates; fingers crossed. I’ve heard the Governor mention it in briefings so am glad it’s high on the list. It’s hard to throttle back 100,000 daily users and shunt all that traffic to the South end communities. Those poor people.  Traffic there gets progressively worse as we emerge from pandemic conditions.. It’s not that realistic to expect all commuting to stop and rely on bicycles, scooters and Segways as a viable means of transportation outside of W. Seattle. I hope that our local Government is aware that this is a high priority issue for the city, and that not all folks who live here can telecommute or bus. No train here either. With the city current budget shortfall, I don’t think additional capacity funding will be high on the list. 

  • Susan June 24, 2020 (8:15 pm)

    I’ve tried to limit my trips outside of WS to those that are absolutely necessary, probably only 10 in the last 3 months. Each time the traffic has steadily increased and I see so many accidents ready to happen, I can only imagine how bad it’s going to be when it’s dark and rainy. The industrial corridor with huge semi-tractor trailer trucks regularly trying to pull out onto Marginal Way, is not suitable as a bridge replacement. Cars are racing since it now takes twice as long to get to 99 or 5,  and after waiting in long lines to get through the Highland Park bottleneck drivers try to make the light into backed up lanes and end up blocking the opposite lanes.  That happened to me today multiple times, it took 20+ minutes to move a block and a half.  This situation is untenable, and it’s only going to get worse.

  • Sully June 24, 2020 (8:17 pm)

    Motorcycles should be allowed to use the lower bridge as well. Highland park drive is very dangerous. Vehicles going up the hill almost always cross the center line. This presents a danger to both downhill lanes especially motorcycle and scooter riders. A barrier should be considered long term before someone dies in a head on. I’m hoping that the task force reads this comment section. If not a way to contact them would be appreciated. 

    • Moto Me June 24, 2020 (10:49 pm)

      Yes! I’ve been saying since the beginning that motorcycles on the low bridge would be great. In fact, if they did this I would be able to stay here instead of moving away when my lease is up. I would love to see some more options for motorcycles. 

    • SLS June 25, 2020 (10:25 am)

      Yes! I want this too – who would we petition about it?

  • LiouxLioux June 24, 2020 (8:24 pm)

    Is the overnight availability a go as of tonight? Or does anther sub-committee or focus group need to review all the possible contingencies before it is enacted?No announcements on the various SDOT twitter accounts or their blog. I guess they don’t want anyone to know about it.

    • WSB June 24, 2020 (9:46 pm)

      It wasn’t a vote – this is an advisory group. However, I won’t be able to ask SDOT about the timeline until tomorrow. I still have two other followup questions pending.

  • Mj June 24, 2020 (10:02 pm)

    Pamela, AP and Jim – I submitted a Conceptual Plan, this is my bailiwick, aka I am an expert in this field, to SDoT on 06.20.2020 to convert the WB curb lane into a right turn lane, keep the middle WB thru lane as a thru lane AND replace the low volume WB to SB left turn with a 2nd WB lane to go up HPW.  The few LT’s can simply reroute using 2nd.  This plan increases the capacity of the intersection. 

    SDoT still has not responded even with a courtesy saying they received the plan!

  • David June 24, 2020 (11:33 pm)

    So… what’s the plan for mitigating the impact of losing the WSB?
    “We’ve decided over half of West Seattle commuters don’t actually need to drive.” (82% to 35%)
    Wow. That seems a bit far-fetched. How did you reach this conclusion?
    “About twice as many people will start taking the bus.” (17% to 30%)
    While you’re reducing availability, worsening the reasons people don’t take the bus?
    Okay, and you say the water taxi can handle 10x as many people despite social distancing. Where will we get that many new ferries, or the extra parking for commuters? (1% to 10%)
    “Don’t worry, that’ll work itself out.”
    And 10x as many people will start biking, despite no improvement to the reasons why people don’t (like getting run over)? (1% to 10%)
    Okay, next up: 10,000 trips a day can be replaced by telecommuting, This might actually be in the realm of reason. But how do we incentivize control-freaky employers to let employees keep working from home, once they’re allowed to reopen their offices?
    “Don’t worry, it’ll work out somehow.”
    And 5,000 trips a day will be replaced people walking to downtown and beyond? Aside from the sheer implausibility, is the lower bridge pathway anywhere near wide enough to accommodate them (plus 10x as many bikes, don’t forget)?
    “Stop being such a negative Nellie. That doesn’t help.”
    Neither does inventing “solutions” that are basically fantasies, but here we are.
    You know – it almost looks like you just invented a bunch of small percentages, none of which you’ve actually thought through, to add up to enough to disguise the fact our roads can’t handle even half the real traffic volume.
    “Stop being such a pessimist. It’ll work out, trust us.”
    Trust is earned, and doing almost nothing to improve detour routes for three months isn’t a good start.

  • Juju June 24, 2020 (11:52 pm)


    Who are these 1 in 20 (5%) who are going to walk off the peninsula?

    Alaska Junction to Pacific Place is 5.8 miles, a solid 2 hour walk which is GREAT exercise. And maybe there are a handful of people who do that. Good on them.

    But 5%? That’s just a special kinda unicorn someone is riding there.

    And the bicycling… 10%? Certainly not large enough for Jort’s idea of utopia to be sure, but I’d like to see these 1 of 10 commuters who are going to happily pedal off and onto the peninsula each day.

    Oh look, a unicorn on a bicycle.

    On the other hand… the WFH number of 10% is where the payoff is. In my view that is low and that is the easiest ask. 25% seems realistic.

    Part of me thinks that the city is using this situation to eradicate personal automobile usage — not giving up either of mine — but it is what it is. I’m outta here soon anyway. I’ve only been here for the money and 0% state income tax. Feel free to reply with your displeasure towards me, but take a number as there is a long line.

    And speaking of people leaving, it seems to me that there will be some decrease in population (commuters) for what are now myriad reasons.

    • Chemist June 25, 2020 (1:28 am)

      They’re basically predicting higher bike/ped volumes than the Burke Gilman trail was handling back when this 2010 study was done…. and over a bridge that opens sometimes.I’m curious how they intend to use the license plate reader cameras, considering the very limited scope of automated enforcement cameras.

    • David June 25, 2020 (9:16 pm)

      I think you’re onto something, Juju!
      Instead of saying 10,000 people can take the water taxi every day (I’m really looking forward to seeing that proposal on paper), why not just say 10,000 people can ride unicorns?
      Better yet, let’s turn the walkers into 5,000 people who will ride pegasi – although I pity the pilots who would have to dodge the pegasus traffic to land at Boeing Field.
      Can you imagine how much enthusiasm they’d have from MLP fans and families with little kids for this proposal? You know what they say, go big or go home. (^_~)

  • Jort June 25, 2020 (12:27 am)

    Automated traffic enforcement for the low bridge! Awesome! It’s TICKET TIMEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! Give them out like sweet, sweet candy to each and every scofflaw who thinks rules are optional. You WILL pay for your antisocial selfishness. 

  • 22blades June 25, 2020 (7:04 am)

    Let motorcycles, scooters & mopeds on the low span…

  • Lagartija Nick June 25, 2020 (7:33 am)

    I had a heart attack on Tuesday afternoon (two stents later and I’m fine, thank you). Had a 5pm ambulance ride to Harborview. I, for one, am truly grateful for the restrictions on the lower bridge, you should be too. I can only imagine how long it would take if my ambulance had to thread a long line of motorcycles, taxis, ride shares, van pools, SODO workers, east side workers, and people going to go visit grandma, etc. No, your “small”, “it’s only”, “but what about” does NOT belong on the low bridge! Find a different way around.

    • WSB June 25, 2020 (10:06 am)

      LN, wishing you health!

    • Chris June 25, 2020 (1:04 pm)

       Wishing you the best. That is good to hear that you made it. I also agree that the little bridge should be used as it currently is only

    • my crystal ball June 26, 2020 (11:50 am)

      Thank goodness the low bridge was open for this, take good care!

  • SLS June 25, 2020 (9:46 am)

    Can we make a petition for motorcycles and licensed scooters to be allowed to use the low bridge? Who would we send it to?

  • wetone June 25, 2020 (9:54 am)

    My big question is why are Port of Seattle workers (not driving semi’s)able to use lower bridge ? when others that work on, or need access to Harbor Island or close by are required to drive around ?  I keep hearing because their Hall is close or they need to travel between different Ports and time is of the essence.  Really ?  how about everyone else that works in area ? their time is not important ?  If city practiced what they preach about being equable then this would not be happening. Seattle politics and power of Port at it’s best. 

    • Matt P June 25, 2020 (10:41 am)

      The current rules say they have to drive to their union hall in from West Seattle then are allowed to drive from the hall to the island.  They’re not allowed to go from West Seattle directly to the island, but lack of enforcement means they’ll do just that.

  • WSB June 25, 2020 (10:15 am)

    Note: We’ll publish something separately in a bit but SDOT confirms this morning that the two recommended low-bridge changes, access to all 9 pm-5 am and access for school buses (public or private), are now in effect.

  • Derrick June 25, 2020 (10:42 am)

    5,000 people walking from West Seattle to the East side daily??  Where did that number originate from? Are there seriously people that would be able to walk to work from the west side to the east??I hope that this magical thinking is not representative of the work product we can expect from these committees. 

  • Brenda June 25, 2020 (10:43 am)

    Making a right turn lane only on Highland to W Marginal Way would definitely help! For some reason, everyone seems to think people work close or local. My son works in Shoreline and his commute has increased one way by 40 minutes! Buses are not always the answer. Also allowing people to use the low bridge for certain hours needs to be considered. Maybe until 6:30 am so that people can get out of WS for work. Many more places up for rent as people are leaving due to the difficulty!

  • sna June 25, 2020 (3:00 pm)

    I’m left thinking from what Matt D said that shoring of the bridge may not be necessary in the repair option.  They’re going to wrap with carbon and add some internal post tensioning to stabilize.  And a repair sounds like just more carbon and more post tensioning.  Early on, we were told they needed to spend millions on shoring that would take a year.  This new message sounds different.  

  • sna June 25, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    Expanding on my comment.  In April SDOT described some external structure to stabilize the bridge. And that wouldn’t even be ready to install until end of 2020.  It sounds that that might not be necessary now?  

  • Saj June 30, 2020 (12:21 am)

    In the above video for low beige restrictions and access control, they seem to be mainly basing the restrictions around access for emergency vehicles. They specifically talk about fire stations in west Seattle not having proper equipment to deal with some type of emergencies in west Seattle, but is it not easy to get/install the required equipment here in west Seattle and ease the low bridge access restrictions a little more? 

    • WSB June 30, 2020 (12:58 am)

      No, it’s not. Certain types of specialized apparatus are based across the bay and respond across the city. If they were based here, they’d instead have to cross the bridge to get to emergencies elsewhere, for starters. SFD has done what it can by adding a ladder truck here and a medic unit in SP, but that is only a partial help.

      • Saj June 30, 2020 (9:53 pm)

        Ok. I was not really suggesting completely moving their expertise to West Seattle but asking if there was a cost vs benefit analysis done to see if they can replicate those services in West Seattle.

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