FOLLOWUP: Will Terminal 5 opening delay mean more West Seattle low bridge access?

(File photo)

Access to the West Seattle low bridge has been limited, in part, to save space for the port truck traffic expected when Terminal 5 goes back into the cargo business, after the first phase of a $340 million modernization project. That was supposed to happen this June. Then suddenly, late Thursday, the Northwest Seaport Alliance announced T-5’s new north berth won’t open until the first quarter of next year. That means the city is saving space for trucks that won’t need it for a year or so – by which time the high bridge should be close to reopening. So as promised, we followed up with SDOT today to ask what that means to low-bridge access policy. In short: They’re working on it. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told WSB, “We plan to address this as part of our update to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force next week. We’re developing a staff recommendation now in response to this new development, and would then still plan to work with the Low Bridge subcommittee to formalize any changes to the access policy.” The Community Task Force meets at 4 pm next Thursday (February 11th). Meantime, we also asked NWSA for elaboration on the “unforeseen circumstances” cited as factoring into the T-5 delay; spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh would not comment except to reiterate that details will be provided at the March 2nd meeting of the NWSA’s managing members (Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners).

21 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Will Terminal 5 opening delay mean more West Seattle low bridge access?"

  • Jort February 5, 2021 (11:42 pm)

    Not one bus must be delayed in service of any single driver who thinks they should have priority. Buses should have priority over drivers in every instance, every time, without exception of any kind whatsoever.

    • Eldorado February 8, 2021 (8:51 am)

      That’s your opinion as you say it like fact. I see the larger buses with 2 people in them at times… including the driver. Something is wrong there. 

      • Vinsanity February 9, 2021 (2:37 pm)

        Pretty sure they call it a Pandemic.

    • skeeter February 9, 2021 (10:40 am)

      I only agree with Jort about 90% of the time and this is one of those times.  It is a horrible abuse of time and money to have bus drivers and bus passengers waiting through multiple cycles of lights getting to/from the lower bridge because personal cars are clogging up the very limited roadway.  That’s not opinion, that’s fact.  

  • AB83 February 6, 2021 (6:00 am)

    Well I sure hope they do the right thing and give back access to Harbor Island workers that live in West Seattle 

    • Kevin February 6, 2021 (5:44 pm)

      Wait, I thought they were part of the access set now? Are Harbor Island workers driving all the way around and through SoDo to get to/from work every day?

      • AB83 February 6, 2021 (6:07 pm)

        Kevin… yes we have to drive around 

        • skeeter February 9, 2021 (10:36 am)

          AB and Kevin – just to clarify – we do *not* have to drive around.  I live in West Seattle and commute to harbor island daily.  I have taken hundreds of trips across the lower bridge, including this morning.  On my bike.  Or if the weather is terrible or when I managed to injure myself I take the bus.  King County put a metro bus stop on harbor island and there is insanely frequent service.  I get it – I really do.  It’s a hassle for those of us used to hopping in a car and getting to our workplace in 7 or 8 minutes.  But we still have it really good.  Our commute to Harbor Island is still easier than almost everyone else.  IMO we need to preserve low bridge car access for folks who are really suffering and have no safe way to get to work or school without a car.  

  • Maggie February 6, 2021 (9:52 am)

    Opening the low bridge on weekends and  8pm on weekdays is a common sense solution that would be good for our small businesses, and residents. We continue to be worn down by the grind of a mind numbingly bad commute that grows exponentially worse every week. At the end of the day we are talking about the degradation of quality of life for working folks and the very ability to exist as a resident in West Seattle. The priority to conduct a study  to implement cameras on the low bridge just goes to show the consideration given to residents. Where is the study to show just how best to regulate traffic? Where are the science-led solutions? That penalizing folks is the priority  just goes to show where working folks stand with the City and SDOT. 

    • bill February 6, 2021 (6:00 pm)

      Maggie – Do you know there are many commuters in southern California with 2-3 hour drives, each way? Get a grip.

      • Sam February 7, 2021 (6:54 am)

        bill – I am a Southern California transplant and using socal traffic as an example for us to be grateful for what we have – no matter how obnoxious – is twisted and a very low bar. furthermore, the low bridge restrictions in place are absurd and would’ve never flown in Los Angeles.

        • JenT February 8, 2021 (9:44 am)

          Amen to this.  I lived in California for 25 years, in San Diego and Oakland.  While the traffic was a nightmare, nothing there prepared me for the absolute *cluster* of this bridge situation.  What also wouldn’t have flown in CA?  Suggesting complete non-starters like biking as an alternative for lengthy commutes.  

      • Eldorado February 8, 2021 (8:53 am)

        That’s their problem. And that’s also why so many Californians move north to Oregon and Washington. 

      • Jen February 8, 2021 (4:11 pm)

        Southern CA resident.. not sure what point you’re trying to make here. Just because somepeople in SoCal commute 2-3 hours each day, doesn’t mean anyone who lives in W Seattle expected to. If anything, people bought homes here for the quick access to things not poor management of the bridge. 

  • bolo February 6, 2021 (12:26 pm)

    Is anyone else intrigued by the mysterious lack of elaboration on the “unforeseen circumstances” causing the T-5 delay?

    • WSB February 6, 2021 (2:03 pm)

      Yes, I am, and will be filing public-disclosure requests if I can’t find the information another way.

      • AB83 February 6, 2021 (3:09 pm)

        WSB… how do I file a public disclosure request on the decision to first let Harbor Island workers use low bridge and then the decision not to? How do I find out that information?

      • DAP February 9, 2021 (5:41 pm)

        WSBWhat is the reason for the delay?  What did you find out?

        • WSB February 9, 2021 (6:10 pm)

          Haven’t found out anything yet; as noted above, NWSA declines comment until next month’s meeting, so I’m trying other means of finding out.

  • Mj February 6, 2021 (10:11 pm)

    T5 impact to traffic without the high level bridge would be significant, even with the high level bridge the Traffic Report prepared showed adverse traffic impact.  Thus repair of the High Level Bridge needs to be expedited and be completed before T5 is operating.

Sorry, comment time is over.