WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: 4 notes

Bridge updates as we start the holiday-shortened workweek:

(Photo by Neal Chism)

CITY COUNCIL VOTES ON FUNDING: The plan for $70 million in “interfund” loans to finance the first stage of West Seattle Bridge work gets a final vote when councilmembers reconvene today after the two-week end-of-summer recess. This won unanimous Transportation Committee approval before the recess. More info is in the 2 pm meeting agenda.

BRIDGE STABILIZATION UPDATE: In case you haven’t seen this already, SDOT has published its second end-of-week update on the stabilization work, including this:

(This) week, the contractor is planning to:

(SDOT photo, on one of the under-bridge platforms)

-Complete the first phase of filling cracks with epoxy.
-Begin the second phase of crack injection towards the middle of the bridge.
-Continue to inspect cracks.
-Place carbon fiber wrap around recently filled cracks.
-Continue installing the post tensioning system.

During this work, you’ll see:

-Some crews working on top of and under the bridge.
-Scaffolding and crews working on platforms suspended under the bridge.

There’s additional work taking place inside the bridge – including monitoring cracks and preparing for the installation of additional post-tensioning strands – that you will not be able to see.

COMMUNITY TASK FORCE MEETS: 3 weeks after its last meeting, the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets online Wednesday at noon. We hope to get the agenda and connection information from SDOT later today, but in the meantime, one known agenda item: The Reconnect West Seattle implementation plan. We’ve previewed the draft, and among other things, SDOT has slight revisions in the.mode-shift commuting goals – increasing the percentage of commutes it hopes will be made by bicycle next year to 10 percent, for one example (last year’s baseline was 1 percent):

In the 2019 Baseline, about 60 bicycles crossed the Duwamish per AM peak hour. The Lower Spokane Bridge can accommodate 400 – 1,000 bicycles per hour. To accommodate 1,000 bicycles per AM peak hour, SDOT will need to make substantive capital improvements across West Seattle.

The Reconnect WS plan has separate bicycle and freight sub-plans as well as four project lists for the areas most affected by bridge-detour traffic.
12:30 PM UPDATE: Here’s the link for watching tomorrow’s meeting, or use access code: 146 544 1172 after calling 408-418-9388.

AUDIT OF OTHER BRIDGES: Right after the sudden bridge shutdown took so many by surprise 5 1/2 months ago, Councilmember Alex Pedersen – who chairs the Transportation Committee – called for an audit of the city’s other bridges, to be sure no other surprises are lurking. He announced in this online update that the audit will be presented to his committee next week, on September 16th.

51 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: 4 notes"

  • LuLuBelle September 8, 2020 (9:11 am)

    So SDOT actually thinks bike traffic will go from 19 to 1,000??  WOW! really??????

    • West Seattle Harold September 9, 2020 (8:22 am)

      We need to start to think out of the box, and the Amsterdam model is a laudable goal.  They made a conscious decision to trade cars for bikes, and that has worked quite well for them. The weather in the Netherlands is about the same as that of Seattle – cold, dark, wet, plus they may have more wind.  The major difference is the terrain – it is so flat there that you can go on a 50 mile ride with a 3-speed bike and be just fine (said the 60-something guy).  Not so here, we have serious hills, but an e-bike is a hill leveler.  Yesterday, I rode mine leisurely from the top of West Seattle to UW in an hour.  This solution is available now.  Sometimes, I ride to SODO station, put my bike on the train, and get to UW quickly and effortlessly.Our weak spots are bike storage at destinations, and integration with public transportation.  For example, there is limited capacity to put bikes on the Link light rail, and limited capacity to store bikes at transportation hubs.  The Dutch have great bike storage.  I talked to a guy who worked in a bike shop in Amsterdam who lives in Utrecht – about  45k away.  He rode a simple bike (an oma-fiet, or grandma bike) to the train station in Utrecht, stored his bike at the train station, took the train to Amsterdam, got his other simple bike out of storage at the Amsterdam train station, and rode to work at his bike shop.  His commute was under an hour.  He did not own a car.   

  • Beto September 8, 2020 (9:21 am)

    I hope they are also working on finding how to build a new bridge. I have the feeling that a patched up bridge will not last too long and it will not be able to hold a light rail line.

  • ACG September 8, 2020 (9:48 am)

    Thanks for the re-cap, WSB, and putting the bridge related info together in this post. It is so helpful to stay up on this information by having everything posted together in the article. 

  • montanapup September 8, 2020 (9:51 am)

    I’m constantly baffled how our folks at the city live in bubble. I’m not sure how they plan to have the disabled, elderly, and those that work outside this lovely city to ride scooters and bicycles to work. I’m all for alternative transportation, but when the ideas are so myopic as to not see beyond themselves. it’s a set-up for failure. We’re not Holland and our infrastructure isn’t capable to provide safe transport let alone moving forward towards a new bridge.

    • West Seattle since 1979 September 8, 2020 (10:31 am)

      I don’t understand how people think that the “folks at the city” think that everyone, or even almost everyone, are going to ride bikes or scooters.  They think the bike traffic will go to 1,000?  We have more than 1,000 commuters here!  They think more people will take bikes, sure, but not everyone, and certainly not people whose disabilities or age-related physical problems don’t allow it.  (I’m certainly not going to, for instance.)  People who can’t take bikes will drive around or use public transportation.  Maybe, since some people are working from home during the pandemic, some companies might continue this, at least for some days of the week. (I’m not hopeful, but maybe I’m wrong.)What do people expect the city to do? Do you have any suggestions?  

    • Stevie J September 8, 2020 (12:11 pm)

      Holland wasn’t Holland until they tried to be Holland. Can you elaborate what you mean by “our infrastructure isn’t capable to provide safe transport”? Do you mean it’s not safe to bike because there are too many drivers and people don’t feel safe biking around drivers in their cars? I agree with you that we should make it harder to drive automobiles and easier to move around with other methods. 

      • S. Roit September 8, 2020 (2:42 pm)

        That’s not the answer. I cannot bike from west Seattle to Wallingford, and I can’t work from home. Why does it have to be either or? What about compromise?

        • B Davis September 8, 2020 (9:47 pm)

          Umm. Dude, I ride my Rad Bike every day to Wallingford. 11-miles and take 45minutes cuz it’s a fassst bike oh yeh…

        • West Seattle Harold September 9, 2020 (2:34 pm)

          Could you ride to Sodo station, put your bike on the train, get off at UW, and ride the Burke-Gilman trail to Wallingford?

      • Carole September 8, 2020 (3:36 pm)

        Holland is pretty much flat.

  • jsparra September 8, 2020 (9:55 am)

    When do we purge the idea that we’re all gonna ride bikes to work…

    • AMD September 8, 2020 (1:36 pm)

      There are 100,000 people living in West Seattle.  One thousand is hardly “all” of us.

  • Blbl September 8, 2020 (10:28 am)

    What a joke. Who needs a bridge for cars? Just paint more sharrows!

  • Mj September 8, 2020 (10:29 am)

    Getting the WSB repaired and open needs to be conducted ASAP.  Further SDoT need to set realistic goals for mode choice shifts.  The bike mode goal of changing from a baseline of 60 to 1,000 during the AM peak is far fetched.  

  • Carole September 8, 2020 (11:12 am)

    Those black strips underneath  look like duct tape! 

    • dsa September 8, 2020 (3:06 pm)

      band aids

  • Joe Z September 8, 2020 (11:19 am)

    Great to see the planned investment in bicycle infrastructure! East Marginal is much improved after the upgrade last week. I just wish they could pretty pretty please change the signal timing at Andover/Delridge so that bikes (and cars) do not have to wait nearly 3 minutes for a green to turn left. Or install a button that people on bikes can press to get a green. There is barely any traffic on Delridge right now. Also–we need bike lanes on Fauntleroy, just install them now, don’t wait for light rail. 

    • AB83 September 8, 2020 (11:58 am)

      I’m sorry but buttons are for people in crosswalks as far as I’m concerned you can wait your turn Oh how horrific when you find out the world doesn’t revolve around you

      • Lance Armstrong September 8, 2020 (12:51 pm)

        Bike riders are people too. 

        • AB83 September 8, 2020 (2:05 pm)

          C’mon man you know what I mean or would it be OK for me to hop out of my car at a red light and hit the crosswalk button in the direction favorable for me just because I can’t wait three minutes for the light to turn

        • Foop September 8, 2020 (2:40 pm)

          Turning from the bike path across delridge at andover is tricky. Cars on the hill don’t leave room for bikes to get in the lane to turn on the arrow. The light takes forever and bikes cause congestion on the sidewalk for pedestrians, plus the bus stop can be crowded. Or waiting for two light cycles to cross andover then delridge is cumbersome. I’d accept your argument of ‘wait your turn’ if cars were courteous enough to let cyclists take the lane and share the turn arrow off of the bike path. 

          • AB83 September 8, 2020 (4:11 pm)

            I thought there wasn’t that much traffic on Delridge right now 🤔

      • Azimuth September 8, 2020 (1:58 pm)

        AR83, if you look a the signage in some of these locations referenced by Joe Z (as well as others), bicyclists are directed to press the button to initiate the signal. If that is the way the city wants it (as opposed to in-road or other non-contact sensors), they should make it easier for bicycles to perform that action. It would be like asking you to get out of your car to press a button to signal the light to change.

  • WS Taxpayer September 8, 2020 (12:15 pm)

    Carbon wrap = duct tape (thanks Carole)epoxy = bubble gumMy enthusiasm for the “fixes” of the bridge are not high, especially at pre-fix capacity.  My bet is they will spend 100’s of Millions on a fix and then come back at the 11th hour and say oh – we have to take it down to 1-lane each way…and we are going to delay light rail by a decade…and we are going to need a new bridge…

  • JenT September 8, 2020 (12:22 pm)

    Enough with the bike nonsense, already.  There is *no way* you’re going to get people to commute by bike.  Stop wasting resources and repair the bridge ASAP.

    • Foop September 8, 2020 (12:45 pm)

      Why should they sacrifice alternative, heathy, and sustainable modes of transport? It’s not like they aren’t working on fixing the bridge AND improving bus transit AND making bike commuting more accessible. They aren’t telling you to ride a bike so sit down and shut up and wait 5 years for your bridge and let the rest of is enjoy biking across the low bridge while you sit in your sov waiting for first ave bridge to close because you’re too self centered or stubborn to explore other paths forward for yourself or others who share the road. Remember, the more people biking, the fewer cars you’re stuck behind at that red light.

      • S. Roit September 8, 2020 (2:44 pm)

        This is very ableist. 

  • West Seattle Lurker September 8, 2020 (12:25 pm)

    Defund the West Seattle Bridge. 

  • skeeter September 8, 2020 (12:51 pm)

    People go on and on about how bicycles aren’t realistic or
    possible because so many people are elderly or disabled or have children
    etc.  Folks – that is the point!!  Many, many people cannot bicycle.  That’s why it’s so critical to get as many
    people who *can* bicycle to make the choice to bicycle.  That way we save the (very limited) street
    space for people who are unable to bike. 
     

    We have to keep the roads moving quickly for all users.  It is a huge waste of time for people to sit
    in traffic.  We need to get more people
    biking so people in cars can get to where they need to go. 

    How do you get more people to bike?  Make is safer.  Make it easier.  Make it more convenient.  Make it more comfortable.  That’s what Seattle is trying to do. 

  • Sarchka September 8, 2020 (12:56 pm)

    Chuckling at all the commenters who think that 1000 commuters going by bike means that EVERYONE  must travel by bike.  People, do the math, that is still a small portion of everyone crossing the Duwamish….    it’s an option to travel by bike not a requirement…

  • Tony S September 8, 2020 (1:10 pm)

    I’ve been a bike commuter 3-4 days a week for 3 years now, and while it’s good exercise and keeps me out of my car, it’s a pain in rear. Given the option, I’d drive any day over biking if I could. It’s great that I get my workout as part of my commute, and the May-September months are mostly glorious. But the December-February zone is miserable. Dark, wet, chilly. It’s dark out on the way to work, and dark coming home. Some of the crossovers between traffic and bikes I can see a lot of newer riders having a tough time with. And if you don’t have a locker room or shower facilities at your destination, you’re in real trouble of making your co-workers miserable all day…heh.  I just can’t see that there are going to be that many people suddenly opting to ride their bike now, if they haven’t already made that decision. It’s a significant lifestyle choice.  Just my opinion, from a former-driver-now-bike-commuter.

    • dc September 8, 2020 (3:32 pm)

      Thank you for the dose of realism, Tony S. Seriously, expecting people to bike daily, year-round, in our cold, wet, dark, climate- just absurd.  I mean good for those who are up for it- but it’s not realistic to expect this to be the norm.

  • l September 8, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    The bike projections are just another example of terrible planning/thinking/ideas coming from the council.   How in the world are you going to increase bike commuters tenfold?   I want to see Herbold and Gonzalez ride their bikes to work at City Hall every day during November/December/January.   

  • BB September 8, 2020 (2:08 pm)

    I’m a 57 year old woman with some arthritis in my feet. I bought an e-bike and started riding my bike to work mid-July.  I live in Fauntleroy and work in Interbay, that’s 22 miles round trip.  Currently I’m biking two days a week and I hope to be up to three days by October.  I feel freaking amazing.  I’m losing weight and I’m energized. I hope to eventually switch to a regular bike when I’m fit enough to make it up Avalon.  I’m here to say that cycling can seriously change your life for the better AND help ease traffic for those who need to drive.  I view it that we are all in this together and every little change helps.

    • Meyer September 8, 2020 (4:04 pm)

      Thank you for sharing BB. I was intimidated by the thought of biking to work (7 miles each way) but with some encouragement from a fellow WS resident and co-worker I did it. I too felt amazing afterwards and started doing it every day during the sunnier months. I know not everyone can bike but I do believe there is a sizable amount of the WS population that has a mental block – that if they overcame it – they would feel happier and healthier (and get to work on time!)

  • tsurly September 8, 2020 (2:57 pm)

    This seems like the best topic for my final post before leaving the US indefinitely. I’m absolutely seeping with joy to see that SDOT will focus on improving bike infrastructure to and from West Seattle in order to encourage more people to get out of their cars. Shout to West Seattle Bike Connections, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club and others who put in the work to make this happen. As far as it being too dark/wet/cold from late fall to early spring, its really not that bad. I think it is a great opportunity to be outside during a time of year that we typically spend more time indoors.  I’ll leave it with a quote I’ve used on here several times “There is no such thing as bad weather, just a bad choice of clothing and a bad attitude.”

    • skeeter September 8, 2020 (5:32 pm)

      TSURLY – What??  You are leaving the U.S?  Please come back and visit the blog often.  I really enjoy your contributions.  Safe travels!

  • ScubaFrog September 8, 2020 (3:07 pm)

    A delay of light rail, and quick bridge fix w/ 2 lanes (here and back), and West Seattle’s in real trouble of having a long-term transportation problem that endangers all local businesses and commuters, and thus property values and quality of life for all.  A little patience for all West Seattleites may really pay off if we can lay off the “ultra-emotional/reactive fix it now reeeeeee” approach, and come at this thoughtfully, logically, with a modicum of intellect and by looking at the problem clinically.Almost every poster in these comments since the bridge was closed has been a part of the “REEEEEE FIX IT NOW” emotional kneejerk.  As reality sets in, perhaps you may see why that’s not feasible or productive in reality — we need a new bridge, with all lanes, and we need light rail STAT.  If business leaders in WS think a quick fix and mass bike-riding is the cure (1% of the population may get on board), with due respect they deserve to fail.

  • Tm September 8, 2020 (3:58 pm)

    Will the 1,000 new bike commuters be ticketed for speeding if they exceed the new apparent WS-wide 25mph limit?

    • skeeter September 8, 2020 (5:35 pm)

      It’s really, really difficult to bike over 25 mph.  I cruise around 13 mph.  I suppose it’s possible to get going over 25 on a downhill though.  But to answer your question – I suspect speeding bicyclists will be ticketed about as often as speeding motorists.  .000000000001% of the time.

  • Mj September 8, 2020 (4:20 pm)

    Sarchka the 1,000 number is for the AM peak not the entire day!  The baseline value is 60.  SDoT goal is 17 times more than the baseline that is simply not realistic.  

  • Johnny Davies September 8, 2020 (4:31 pm)

    I have never been a bike guy.  I’m nearing 50, but an active middle-aged guy.  I bought a bike 15 years ago, never used it and sold it.  I impulse bought an ebike in mid-March assuming that the bridge out plus supply chain issues might make it hard to get one later when I had to return to work north of downtown.  I’ve clocked 750 miles commuting to/from work so far and have grown into the idea.  I invested in rain gear & lighting that I’m planning to use when the fall comes.  It’s 30 mins each way, 15 miles round trip, regardless of traffic hiccups. It’s saving me big time on parking, gas, tolls, maintenance of my car (which I still have).  I’ve even taken to running most of my local errands on it and liking the idea of it more & more.  I’m very appreciative of the changes to improving safety for bicycles, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Transitions between the low bridge and “upper” West Seattle are the riskier parts of my commute and mixing with autos on Alaskan Way is my least favorite.  Improving route safety is the number one way to encourage more ridership, in my opinion.  An ebike levels the hills, but cars & bikes together are hard on both and will certainly turn off a lot of potentially interested riders.I just wanted to say that I think it’s possible for more to ride, but it takes some adaptive spirit and safe routes.  It will never be for everyone, but could be adopted by a lot.

  • Brian O September 8, 2020 (6:42 pm)

    They need to ban heavy truck, tandem trailer, freight, tractor trailer, concrete mixers…ALL of it needs to stay off the bridge. 

  • Don Brubeck September 8, 2020 (8:40 pm)

    The plan’s goal for biking is 10% of trips across the remaining bridges. So that leaves 9 out of 10 people NOT riding bikes. Hardly draconian, very feasible, and not forced on anyone. West Seattleites did it during the viaduct/tunnel transition in January, 2019, in the dark and in winter, at zero cost to Seattle taxpayers and no support from the City. After the viaduct/tunnel transition, people went back to their usual
    modes, because not enough new bike riders felt safe. That’s why we need
    improvements at some key routes to the bridges. Biking won’t do the whole job, but it is one tool in the toolbox that we can use. People are already doing it to jobs at hospitals, fire stations and many other essential work places. E-bikes are making it easier even on hilly routes.    It’s not bad from lots of West Seattle. In fact, it can be the best part of the day.

  • Cranky September 9, 2020 (4:11 pm)

    If they do end up repairing the bridge, I can’t help but imagine being stuck in traffic at the peak of the high rise when a bus goes by and the bridge bounces a bit, feeling a bit of panic rush in.  Panic attack aside, I hope they can repair it safely.  I need to drive or may consider a train.  Can’t ride a bicycle due to a disability and have had too many uncomfortable situations with metro busses.  I’m still upset the city let it get to this.  The bridge was not maintained properly if they are now filling in cracks with apoxy.  Blows my mind.  

  • Reality Hurts September 9, 2020 (5:05 pm)

    America is the only western country I’ve been to that can’t figure out how to complete infrastructure projects properly.Only in America do people accept some pretend fix (glue and tape) to “fix” a vital bridge in what’s supposed to be a city that pats itself on the back for technological innovation. Meanwhile, the biking apologists come out in droves and applaud this as a solution. The city doesn’t care about promoting your biking fantasies. This is just a laughable excuse for a “solution” while they buy time. Print out my comment and put it on your refrigerator: the bridge will not be back to normal for the next 10 years AT LEAST. I will bet my retirement on it. Stop propping up this excuse as “wow so ecological!” and come back down to reality and see it for it is: an excuse to buy another 12 months while they pretend to do something and come back later and say “Oh actually sorry, it didn’t work, back to the drawing board”. Any modern country would be ashamed of the speed and aptitude of these people. Even the extremely poverty stricken country of Vietnam has impressive bridges that don’t fall apart and they can somehow scrape up the funds to contruct in an actually reasonable time. But not here. Not Seattle. Sorry West Seattleites, don’t expect to see a real fix for literally at least a decade. Buckle up. 

    • WSB September 9, 2020 (5:13 pm)

      What’s happening now is NOT repair work; it’s stabilization.

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