3:01 PM: The date is set for the city to start using the new enforcement cameras on the West Seattle low bridge: Monday, January 11th – just under two weeks away.
Starting that day, SDOT says, unauthorized low-bridge use will put you at risk of a $75 ticket. No grace period needed because this isn’t a new enforcement activity, it’s supplementary to traffic police having staked out the low bridge off and on in the nine months since the high bridge’s closure led to low-bridge restrictions.
The cameras were installed earlier this month. The city’s ability to use them for this traces back to a state-law change passed last Legislative session and then City Council authorization in September.
The low-bridge rules are recapped in SDOT’s announcement of the camera-activation date:
The rules for which vehicles may use the Low Bridge are not changing:
• The only vehicles authorized to use the Low Bridge from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. are emergency vehicles, buses, employer shuttles, vanpools, freight, and certain pre-authorized vehicles. See the Low Bridge webpage for a complete list.
• People riding a bike, scooter, bus, or walking may continue using the Low Bridge any time.
• All other vehicles (including personal cars, motorcycles, taxis, and ride-hailing app vehicles like Uber and Lyft) may not use the Low Bridge from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will be sent a $75 citation.
• Everyone may drive on the Low Bridge overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. No citations will be issued during these times.
The list of authorized “West Seattle business vehicles” has been made in collaboration with the West Seattle Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce. SDOT’s announcement also notes that low-bridge rules might keep evolving: “SDOT will be monitoring Low Bridge traffic volumes in early 2021 after the new enforcement system is turned on. If traffic data shows us that there is room to expand access, we will work with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force to recommend a balanced approach for Low Bridge access.”
ADDED 5:44 PM: The SDOT Blog post about today’s announcement introduces a slogan for all this: “Don’t Go Low.”