WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Should Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan consider its effects?

(Photo by Tony Welch)

Tomorrow, the West Seattle Bridge closure will factor into a discussion at the City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee: The issue: Should the city’s Comprehensive Plan be amended to consider the potential effects of a long-term closure? The plan can only be amended once a year, and tomorrow’s committee meeting takes up potential amendments that can’t advance without councilmembers voting to “docket” them. Amendments can be proposed by anyone inside or outside city government; the amendment that would take the bridge closure’s potential effects into consideration is proposed by Deb Barker, a community advocate whose current roles include membership on the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force. Almost since the start of the closure, she has advocated for the city to look at its effects beyond the basic matter of bridgelessness, and ways to mitigate them. The council staff report says that staffers recommend docketing it, though the Seattle Planning Commission and Office of Planning and Community Development do not. From the staff report:

Amendment with mixed recommendations

Amendment 2 would amend the Transportation Element and FLUM to address the effects of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge emergency closure. The proposal lists a wide range of changes related to the closure. Many of these proposals are regulatory in nature and would not affect the Comprehensive Plan. However, Central Staff recommend moving Amendment 2 forward because the Comprehensive Plan may need policy modifications to address the major, unexpected and potentially long-term impact to mobility in Seattle caused by the bridge closure. Considering whether changes to the Comprehensive Plan are merited due to this significant impact to the City’s infrastructure is prudent.

SPC and OPCD disagree. They conclude that the proposal would be better addressed through the budgetary and programmatic processes currently being coordinated by the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Tomorrow’s meeting also includes a public hearing and vote on two West Seattle amendments – a proposal to change the West Seattle Hub Urban Village boundaries to include Providence Mount St. Vincent, and additions to the Delridge Neighborhood Plan. The committee meets at 9:30 am tomorrow (Wednesday); the agenda explains how to watch and how to comment.

8 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Should Seattle's Comprehensive Plan consider its effects?"

  • Window September 8, 2020 (4:57 pm)

    I’ll make this easy. Yes. Yes they should. 

  • Auntie September 8, 2020 (7:28 pm)

    Only if one of the effects they are considering is not trying to accommodate 1000 imaginary bicyclists. Get real, please. Look at the traffic crossing the 1st Ave S bridge – many of us have no other way to get out of west seattle other than in our cars. We cannot take public transportation or ride bikes or scooters. It’s just reality for those of us who aren’t young (and/or) spry. I can’t even walk from my house to a bus stop, let alone ride a bicycle downtown. 

  • Millie September 8, 2020 (8:56 pm)

    The City Council should heed the recommendation put forth by their Central Staff in respect to moving Amendment #2 forward for inclusion in the Comprehensive Plan.  I’m not sure what the acronyms SPC and OPCD stand for, but, definitely not give more budgetary/programmatic control to SDOT.

    • WSB September 8, 2020 (9:02 pm)

      Thanks for indirectly catching my error. While SPC is correctly identified in the line before the excerpt as Seattle Planning Commission, I had then said SDCI (Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections) was the other opposition, but it was actually OPCD (Office of Planning and Community Development). Fixed. SDCI and OPCD are the two agencies that now handle what used to be the work of DPD (Department of Planning and Development), for what it’s worth … TR

  • Millie September 8, 2020 (10:08 pm)

    Thank you for the clarification!   I definitely appreciate it.

  • Stevie J September 9, 2020 (5:52 am)

    Let me guess, concerned parties wish to use bridgelessness as an excuse to enact policies they have always believed in. No more apartment construction, increased minimum parking requirements, and downzoning. I will be interested to see what comes of this request. 

  • Liam September 9, 2020 (8:27 am)

    I’ll probably be dead by the time something is built!

    • LK September 9, 2020 (9:46 am)

      Don’t rule it out.  Had 2 good friends, relatively young and healthy pass away in the time it took to finish the tunnel. One of them was really excited about the project and sadly didn’t make it to see it’s completion.  The delays in that project are a fair cautionary benchmark for this one. Personally my patience has met it’s limits and selling my lovely WS home to escape this totally preventable bridge fiasco.  Wish everyone well and a speedy solution to this mess…give ’em hell.

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