FOLLOWUP: Answers to 2 questions about proposal to tear down Delridge pedestrian bridge

(SDOT photo)

Last week, we reported on SDOT‘s proposal to remove the Delridge/Oregon pedestrian bridge instead of strengthening it as has long been the plan. This week, SDOT continues to ask for your thoughts, with an ongoing online survey, and two in-person opportunities Friday and Sunday. Two questions lingered after that first report, and we have answers to both. First: What’s the cost comparison? The answer to this one is partial – SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB, “The seismic retrofit project which would be necessary to keep the bridge safe in earthquakes would cost roughly $4-5 million (based on preliminary estimates).” But, he says, they don’t have an estimate on how much the teardown would cost. The other question was about this sentence in the last paragraph of the SDOT announcement we published: “Removing the bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking.” Several commenters observed that sentence didn’t seem to make sense. So we asked which “policies” that referred to. Bergerson’s response:

“We’re building a new pedestrian signal and marked crosswalk across Delridge Way SW at SW Oregon St, allowing people to cross the street safely without using the pedestrian bridge. Before this project, there was no crosswalk or pedestrian signal at this location. The new signal and crosswalk was a community request submitted to the Your Voice, Your Choice program a few years ago. Taking advantage of an opportunity to get this work done efficiently, we added the crossing improvement to the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project for construction.

“The new signal and crosswalk is safer and accessible to everyone, so we expect it to be more popular way to cross the street than the existing pedestrian bridge. People walking and rolling across Delridge Way SW can head straight across the street at ground level instead of climbing the steep spiral ramps to the bridge which are a longer distance to travel, get slippery in the rain, and present challenges to people with disabilities, small children, the elderly, and people biking. But, most importantly, the new signal and crosswalk is designed to be fully accessible for people with disabilities and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including curb ramps onto the sidewalk and a push button which vibrates and makes a noise to let people with limited vision or hearing know when it is safe to cross the street. The pedestrian bridge is not ADA compliant because of the steepness of the ramps and other missing accessibility features. With the new signal and crosswalk offering an easier way to get across the street, we believe many community members will find the pedestrian bridge redundant and out of the way.”

And if the teardown were cheaper, he added, money not spent on the seismic retrofit might be spent on “other safety or pedestrian improvements.” But he insists there’s no decision yet – so if you haven’t already offered feedback, here again is the survey link; you can talk to SDOT reps in person outside the entrance to the Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW), 2-4 pm Friday (August 27th) and 1-3 pm Sunday (August 29th).

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Answers to 2 questions about proposal to tear down Delridge pedestrian bridge"

  • Eldorado August 24, 2021 (5:29 pm)

    If anyone wants to pay me 4.5 million to tear down this bridge AND build a newer, better, more beautiful, bridge which has room for pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, and lolly gaggers alike, please let me know. I can start tomorrow. 

  • My two cents … August 24, 2021 (5:54 pm)

    Hope they remove it. Cost of the refit and ongoing maintenance over the years versus a ADA compliant signaled crossing – opt for the pragmatic.

  • Walking around August 24, 2021 (6:08 pm)

    This seems like a simple choice: Cheaper, easier to maintain and safer for all users of the street vs an extremely expensive to maintain bridge that that the average pedestrian doesn’t even bother to use, of which the main purpose is to save a nigh imperceptible amount of time for drivers.

  • cheeseWS777 August 24, 2021 (7:13 pm)

    I like the bridge. I think its unique and cool. But i dont think that matters to who makes the decision

    • Tracey August 24, 2021 (8:18 pm)

      I agree.  I always found it an interesting feature of the neighborhood.  Gave the area a boulevard feel.  Right now, I can cross without waiting for a signal.  But as you said, price will prevail. 

      • Jort August 25, 2021 (11:04 am)

        In your survey response, you can request that SDOT give the pedestrian crossing 100% signal priority, so that any time somebody wishes to cross the street, it will activate a red light for all cars regardless of traffic or circumstance. That way you can still cross without waiting for a signal!

  • Orcakid August 25, 2021 (5:54 am)

    From my understanding, the new crosswalk which will cross Delridge Way at Oregon Street is going in for sure, whether the pedestrian bridge is retrofitted or not, and I believe that’s great news.

    However, I also believe the pedestrian bridge, along with the Historic Cooper School, is something that makes that stretch of Delridge Way so unique and helps to define the neighborhood.

    I, myself, have nothing but positive memories of that bridge.

  • Hammer in Hand August 25, 2021 (7:08 am)

    I have to laugh at the efficiently statement that they added it to the H line project  they should have had this discussion long ago about its removal if that where in the tablenow the busses will be rolling then they will close lanes block street…..there is nothing efficient about SDOT!! 

  • anonyme August 25, 2021 (7:20 am)

    For once, SDOT is proposing something logical and cost-effective. 

  • WS Taxpayer August 25, 2021 (7:57 am)

    Why not just leave it as-is and then scoop it up when the earthquake brings it down at some point in the distant future.  Seems like the current practicality shouldn’t be trumped by some potential catastrophe.  If its not unsafe to cross why not just defer maintenance like EVERY OTHER BRIDGE IN THE ENTIRE CITY.  

  • Sillygoose August 25, 2021 (8:27 am)

    I am shocked to see that tearing it down is even considered!  It was built to accommodate safe crossing for children who were going to the playfield, community center and the Southwest Center.  Why has the safety of children being pushed aside for lack of funds?  The DOT needs to control their spending and stop putting every damn dime in the general fund!!!

  • Stuck in West Seattle August 25, 2021 (8:49 am)

    I saw that they just added a crosswalk there. Truth is no one wants to cross that its kind of an inconvenience and I suspect that they will tear it down. Its literally right by my house and I am indifferent if they tear it down. That said I am ok with them repairing it as well.

  • DRC August 25, 2021 (9:04 am)

          Just fix it

  • Jort August 25, 2021 (11:03 am)

    The cost of repairing the pedestrian bridge, estimated at $4-5 million, is nearly 2x to 4x what SDOT estimated for the W Marginal Way bike lane adjustments, and at the time, people screeched to excess about SDOT “wasting money” on the project and how fiscally irresponsibly SDOT was. Yet here we have a redundant bridge, which is harder for people to use than a crosswalk, whose function is duplicated 80 feet away –– and people are falling over themselves for SDOT to spend whatever it takes, anything — just spend ANYTHING! — so that they don’t have to potentially wait at a red light for a few seconds every few weeks. Tear the bridge down and get ready to wait at more red lights and deal with it.  Survey completed.

  • WSneighbor August 25, 2021 (5:08 pm)

    This seems like a solution looking for a problem. That bridge has already survived numerous earthquakes with no problems. Spend the money on something useful or even better don’t spend it at all.

  • wseaturtle August 26, 2021 (9:07 am)

    the only reason we go to Delridge is to run up and down that little bridge. Sad

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