WEST SEATTLE LOW BRIDGE: One more reminder – camera ticketing starts Monday

(File photo)

In case you need one more reminder, tomorrow (Monday, January 11th) is the first day that the city is scheduled to start using automated cameras to enforce restrictions on the West Seattle low bridge between 5 am and 9 pm, seven days a week. Vehicles cqught on camera violating the rules will get a $75 ticket sent to the registered owner’s address. Here’s a refresher on the current rules (from SDOT‘s announcement two weeks ago):

Who Can Use the Low Bridge

-Emergency vehicles
-Transit vehicles (King County Metro buses and school buses)
-Freight vehicles
-People walking, rolling, using a scooter, or biking
-Employer shuttles
-Pre-authorized vehicles*
-All Personal vehicles at night (from 9 pm to 5 am daily)

Who Cannot Use the Low Bridge

Taxis and ride-hail app vehicles like Uber and Lyft (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)
Personal vehicles, including motorcycles, during the day (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)

Regarding the “pre-authorized vehicles,” SDOT says:

Pre-authorized use is currently limited to select maritime/industrial vehicles proximate to Harbor Island, International Longshore and Warehouse Union vehicles, and West Seattle business vehicles. If you believe you are eligible for pre-authorized use based on the description above, please email us westseattlebridge@seattle.gov or call 206-400-7511.

SDOT had been working with West Seattle’s two major business organizations, the Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce, to determine who had access. Before the cameras, they had a limited number of placards they loaned out to members who had to make business trips across the river.

SDOT has said that the traffic patterns following the activation of camera enforcement will be studied to see if changes in low-bridge access policy are merited. The policy is one of the topics on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force (noon January 13th – watch here).

42 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE LOW BRIDGE: One more reminder - camera ticketing starts Monday"

  • North Admiral January 10, 2021 (8:12 pm)

    Not letting motorcycles use it is still dumb 

    • AB83 January 10, 2021 (8:32 pm)

      Not letting Harbor Island workers use it is even dumber……. GET OVER IT

      • Alki resident January 10, 2021 (9:38 pm)

        Get over it? Really? 

      • Bryan January 10, 2021 (10:08 pm)

        Why can we not use a bridge we paid for? But yet the government responsible for the mishandling and mismanagement of the upper bridge can use it and abuse the lower with empty heavy buses that will prematurely cause it to fail. 

        • Scott Collins January 11, 2021 (12:33 pm)

          There are lots of things we pay for that we can’t use.    Much of what the government owns and manages have limited or no access to public.  

        • Jason January 13, 2021 (11:23 am)

          Your taxes also pay for the military. Do you think you should be able to access any part of JBLM you want?

    • Blinkyjoe January 11, 2021 (8:16 am)

      Totally agree. Motorcycles/Vespas should be exempt. They take up a fraction of the space of a car, can move to the shoulder much better when emergency vehicles need to pass, and can be a viable alternative to our traffic problems.  

    • ALKIRider January 11, 2021 (9:32 am)

      Lane splitting/filtering sometimes helps. It’s probably the only skill/advantage we have over being dangerously stuck in stop and go traffic on Marginal. Wasn’t there someone from earlier posts that wanted to make a petition to SDOT to allow motorcycle use?

  • CarDriver January 10, 2021 (8:54 pm)

    SPD was VERY liberal on what constituted a “freight” vehicle and let across the bridge. Will be VERY interesting to see if SDOT agrees and doesn’t ticket.  I’m betting there’ll be some surprised drivers getting a ticket in the mail. As far as monitoring to see if they can(and yes they can)add more vehicles i’m betting SDOT “studies” a loooooong time.

  • Delridge January 10, 2021 (9:15 pm)

    Looks like traffic across the 1st Ave bridge, West Marginal Way and the Chelan Ave 5 way intersection is about to get real interesting! 

  • IBnat January 10, 2021 (10:04 pm)

    Finally. This should have started 6 months ago.

  • Mj January 10, 2021 (10:35 pm)

    The City has added the stick and they need to provide the carrot, aka midday bus service to all areas of WS that historically had such service, when things open up again.  No excuses!  They can use the ticket revenue to pay for the added bus service compliments of the WS residents using the low level bridge.

    • S. Cannon January 11, 2021 (1:56 pm)

      Odd that no one has asked how much of the fine actually gets to the city. I believe that most of the revenue from Lynnwood’s Red Light Cams goes to a company in Arizona.

  • Hans Hingst January 10, 2021 (11:57 pm)

    It was “supposed” to have started 6 months ago. But
    once again the failure of leadership in our local government is glairing.

  • MARIANNE January 11, 2021 (6:51 am)

    The City is about to bring a whole lot of money in judging by the number of passenger vehicles using that lower bridge during the day.

    • L January 11, 2021 (9:36 am)

      No they’re not.   Now that people will get fined they will drive around, making traffic horrific for everyone.    Not many people are going to knowingly pay $75 to save 15 minutes.

  • Admiral Dad January 11, 2021 (6:57 am)

    One thing I noticed over the weekend is that the city of Seattle is wasting our money on paying for “ads” on games on the iPhone.  I was playing Word Search this weekend when I noticed an ad at the bottom from the city warning people that the tolling for the bridge was starting today.  Is that really a good use of our money?  Especially given how much they have already wasted with a useless Speed sign on the bridge for those few who get to use it.  It reminded of the 90’s move Dave where the US government is spending forty-seven million dollars so people can feel good about a car they already bought.

  • Ed Vivian January 11, 2021 (7:57 am)

    The camera is now the judge jury and executioner. We have moved from corrections to punishment only. I can hardly wait until we have a drive-by guillotine.

    • reed January 11, 2021 (11:26 am)

      Follow the rules and you have nothing to worry about. It is a shame the city had to waste money installing this system in the first place solely because adults are acting like children.

    • Scott Collins January 11, 2021 (5:53 pm)

      You do realize that if you follow the rules there won’t be any issues, right?

    • Ben January 12, 2021 (10:53 am)

      Lol $75 fine = beheadingget a grip dude

  • Nick January 11, 2021 (8:10 am)

    Where is this Low Bridge?I am new to the area. This blog doesn’t have a map. The City site doesn’t have a map or an address. This informationc ould be more effective for people like me if it includes context. I can Google it. I will Google it. It’s an extra step to get value from this article.

    • Chris K January 11, 2021 (8:28 am)

      It is a forbidden bridge.  It is best that we do not tell you.

    • Mark January 11, 2021 (9:12 am)

      It’s also known as the Spokane St bridge.  It’s under the high rise bridge that’s been closed since last March.Google Maps direct link:


      – Mark

      • S. Cannon January 11, 2021 (1:52 pm)

        Eastbound, as you get to Delridge, get in the Bus Only lane and take the slight right up the ramp to the bridge. After 9 p.m. of course.

        • w January 11, 2021 (4:29 pm)

          Thank you S. Cannon for the work around.  Only after 9, right.camera prob should have gone in a smarter location 

  • WSEA is the best SEA January 11, 2021 (10:00 am)

    They should let all motorists use the low bridge on weekends. 

    • reed January 11, 2021 (11:31 am)

      No, they should not. When I rode my bike over the low bridge coming back from downtown on Saturday afternoon, the traffic was backed up to the eastern side of the low bridge.

      • WSEA is the best SEA January 11, 2021 (1:17 pm)

        That happens every now and then but not to the point where it makes sense to block general access on weekends. 

    • AF January 11, 2021 (12:18 pm)

      I agree especially like Saturday and Sunday mornings! There’s little freight or commuter vehicles on the weekends. Im not sure why they have decided to make west seattle residents suffer more than we already are and limit all access except 9pm and 5am. There are certainly more times that should be allowed.

      • J January 12, 2021 (12:56 am)

        Actually there is a lot more mid day traffic on Saturdays and Sundays, going over the low bridge. 

  • skeeter January 11, 2021 (1:02 pm)

    My desk has a perfect view of the Spokane St. swing bridge.  Fewer cheaters today for sure.  I’ve done a couple random samples – gazing out the window and counting vehicles.  As of my lunch break it’s about 80% freight/construction, 10% transit busses, and 10% passenger vehicles.  (Some of the passenger vehicles might have authorization to use the lower bridge.  I have no idea.)

    • AB83 January 11, 2021 (3:24 pm)

      Skeeter… so as someone as yourself who works on Harbor Island. Do you not believe that Harbor Island workers that live in West Seattle should be able to use the low Bridge. I’m confused about your position on this. 

      • J January 12, 2021 (12:59 am)

        What exactly is the confusion? skeeter was just sharing some observations. This was very neutral in context.

  • Stuck in West Seattle January 11, 2021 (2:11 pm)

    On another note, I thought I read they planned to start repairs next fall which I hope is not what I recall reading. It was the article about finishing up the stabilization repairs. Can anyone tell me when they will begin repairing the bridge in earnest?  I am disappointed they chose not to do the rapid replacement option but I understand why. I just hope it extends the life 40 years not 15. Any info and clarification\correction is appreciated.

  • LonelyIsland January 12, 2021 (2:42 pm)

    It’s been interesting watching the low bridge traffic cams over the last couple of days. I’m mostly seeing wet pavement, and the very occasional bus. Since the City is going to need new revenue streams, how about creating an annual pass system to allow passenger car use of the low bridge? Price it high. Maybe $1,000 per year for unlimited use. And/or a tiered system with lower annual costs for a predetermined amount of crossings per week. Any excess use would then be ticketed by the newly deployed system. From an IT/Development perspective it would be a relatively trivial project now that the camera ticketing system is already up and running.

    • drM January 15, 2021 (8:31 am)

      I understand where you are coming from, but the last thing we need is something that divides us even more. You should not be punished because you cannot afford to pay for something as basic as the freedom to move. That’s why for a long time I was really opposed to the Trusted Travelers Programs, but it is sort of justified in that the “trusted” part requires work, which has to be paid for.

  • Jason January 20, 2021 (6:12 pm)

    How is it that the bridge closure affects 100,000 people and we has less than 20 working on the fix?  I can’t understand just how the city of Seattle operates! 

  • Jmhb3 January 30, 2021 (11:36 pm)

    I’m an essential worker for a building downtown and sometimes need to be onsite quickly. The detour is horrible. People seem to be enraged and drive unsafely. Most of all, IMO, it seems to me that perhaps the restricted hours could be adjusted. Why not 5am until 6pm or 7pm? I received 2 courtesy warnings today. Each with a pic of my car on a Tuesday between 6:15p and 7:00p, one EB and the other WB. There are ZERO other vehicles in either pic. Traffic? What traffic? Especially on weekends! Adjust the time restrictions!

    • WSB January 31, 2021 (12:36 am)

      Warnings? Not actual citations? Was the date 1/12 or 1/19?

Sorry, comment time is over.