SDOT considering removing Delridge Pedestrian Bridge instead of reinforcing it

(SDOT photo)

Along with the closed-early Andover foot bridge, SDOT has been planning seismic reinforcement for the 60-year-old Delridge Pedestrian Bridge, which spans Delridge Way between Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Delridge Playfield. But now there’s a new proposal: Remove it instead. Here’s the SDOT announcement – including ways for you to comment:

As part of the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project, we are installing a new, accessible crossing on Delridge Way SW at the intersection with SW Oregon St. With this new crossing, we are currently evaluating removing or repairing the pedestrian bridge connecting the Youngstown Cultural Center and the Delridge Playfield. Before planning any potential changes to the bridge, we want to hear from the community and create a plan for this area that will best fit the needs of the Delridge neighbors by learning from the community about how they use and value this bridge. We will make a decision based on data collection and the community’s feedback later in 2021. Construction for repair or removal would begin as early as spring 2022.

As part of the outreach, we’d like to invite community members to visit us at the Delridge Community Center these dates and times to talk about the project.

Friday, August 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, August 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Location: Delridge Playfield near the Community Center entrance

Below are more project details:


As part of the Levy to Move Seattle, the Delridge Way SW Pedestrian Bridge was identified as a high priority for seismic reinforcement, which makes the bridge more resistant to ground activity, like earthquakes. This option means the bridge will meet updated seismic standards for pedestrian bridges and people could still use the bridge to cross Delridge Way SW.

Repairing the bridge will not bring the bridge to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, but people with ADA accessibility needs wishing to cross Delridge Way SW will instead be able to use the crossing on the street at SW Oregon St.


Removing the bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking. The need for regular maintenance and expensive, complicated seismic reinforcement would also be eliminated. Additionally, removing the bridge may improve sightlines for people driving southbound on Delridge Way SW as they approach the signalized intersection at SW Oregon St. The ADA-compliant crossing on the street will be the only method to cross Delridge Way SW at this intersection if the bridge is removed.

In addition to the info sessions mentioned above, an online survey has just opened – it’s open through August 30. Find it here.

48 Replies to "SDOT considering removing Delridge Pedestrian Bridge instead of reinforcing it"

  • CarDriver August 18, 2021 (4:26 pm)

    Question. How many people a day use this bridge. How many people a day could use it but just cross the street instead.

    • EarlyBird August 19, 2021 (8:53 am)

      Lots of daily use. I live one block north and very rarely see folks crossing at this intersection without using the pedestrian bridge. 

      • Neighbor August 19, 2021 (11:45 am)

        Same, I live very nearby, in fact I can almost see the bridge if I lean off the side of my deck. My family uses this bridge exclusively and it’s extremely nice to be able to use with kids and not have to hustle across the street. Anytime my nieces and nephews visit they are always asking to go over the “double twisty bridge“ it’s useful, well utilized and adds character. I hope we can keep it.

  • Jay August 18, 2021 (4:29 pm)

    Grade separated crossings on busy roads are always a nice option. Especially when you have to cross opposite the direction that has the longest light. Miss the beg button for a light cycle and you have to choose between standing there a while or jaywalking. This intersection in particular seems a bit sketchy. I filled out the form in support of repair.

  • So long August 18, 2021 (5:08 pm)

    I all for removing every bridge possible from the custody of SDOT, even if it requires the permanent loss of the bridge. 

  • onion August 18, 2021 (5:34 pm)

    Twisted logic:  “Removing the bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking. “

    • Jay August 19, 2021 (9:26 am)

      I remember fighting with them to remove a specific and really dangerous beg button from an intersection I lived near. Admiral and California, crossing to the bus stop. The beg button didn’t change traffic patterns, all it did was enable the walk sign when walkers had the right of way. If you don’t make it to the button in time, you have the right traffic signals to cross but a “do not walk” sign. I fought with SDOT so much over that, and their response was basically “it’s a busy intersection and we have to prioritize car traffic.” Even though at that specific intersection the car signals don’t change when the beg button is pressed, all the beg button does is disable the walk sign when not pressed. I was really shocked and disturbed by how they couldn’t budge on something so small that would significantly benefit walkers and not impact cars at all. For SDOT to say “Removing the bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking. “ is not surprising in the least. The organization is actively hostile to walking.

      • sam-c August 20, 2021 (9:42 am)

        That’s the case at the Delridge/ Andover – and it drives me crazy.  If you don’t get to the button in time, it’s a really LONG wait to have a chance to cross Delridge.  Walk signals at those busy intersections should be automatic BECAUSE they are busy intersections.  

  • Al August 18, 2021 (6:43 pm)

    If removing the bridge can be used as a way to further slow car traffic, then I’m confident SDOT will choose that option. 

  • LivesInWS August 18, 2021 (7:43 pm)

    “Removing the [pedestrian] bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking.”Say what???

  • SDOT loves to tear down functional bridges August 18, 2021 (8:18 pm)

    If this was a conversation about this bridge falling down, sure. But saying it “could be damaged in an earthquake” and so let’s tear it down?!? It works now, it is by far the safest way for a pedestrian to cross a very busy street and they should be prioritizing projects we desperately need. And I’m sorry they didn’t have the forethought 60 years ago to make it ada compliant. This is the why no one trusts SDOTs decision making on the West Seattle Bridge, their approach to things is agenda first, and pragmatism second. Leave this thing alone. If you don’t want to “fix” it, just leave it alone. SDOT is not a good steward of our money. There is so much waste on experimenting and ideology. I really hope the new mayor (or the current one) fires every single person in leadership at this deeply flawed organization. 

    • S.A. August 19, 2021 (10:06 am)

      So if it falls down on cars during an earthquake and kills someone, that’s cool?  

      • Chemist August 19, 2021 (12:27 pm)

        It’s not “cool” but it is also something that hasn’t happened in the bridge’s 60 year life, including the major quake in 1965 that was the last one that directly caused an earthquake related death in Seattle (via stuff falling from non-SDOT buildings).  It’s a very low probability event.

        • S.A. August 19, 2021 (2:26 pm)

          Is it possible that a bridge might have deteriorated over the past 55 of its 60 year lifespan to the point that, while it survived in 1965, it might not survive a quake now? And that perhaps that’s part of what they’re talking about when they talk about needing to spend money on it?

          And perhaps people with disabilities don’t want to see their taxes spent on a bridge they can’t use because it isn’t accessible, when that money might to to create a more accessible crossing and other access needs as well.

          • PB August 21, 2021 (10:40 pm)

            My taxes pay for curb cuts I don’t need and bike accommodations I don’t need, but others do so I am glad to do it.

  • bolo August 18, 2021 (8:53 pm)

    Only the best! That logical reasoning is so brilliant it dazzles the mind!
    “Removing the [pedestrian] bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking.”

  • Scubafrog August 18, 2021 (9:15 pm)

    SDOT at its best (all the time, apparently)!

  • Jort August 18, 2021 (9:39 pm)

    Why should we preserve a pedestrian bridge when there is a perfectly functional, brand-new ADA compliant crosswalk across Delridge 80 feet away? Is it so important for to not get a red light to stop for pedestrians that we must spend untold hundreds of thousands of dollars to seismically retrofit a bridge that duplicates the function of a crosswalk no less than 80 feet in distance? Also, “not doing anything” is not an option, as the city can not knowingly leave failing infrastructure in place that has seismic risk. Just tear it down and people can use the crosswalk. Sorry if it causes a few more red lights, but oh well. Pedestrian bridges typically aren’t justified for pedestrian safety, they’re more for motorist convenience. That ship has sailed in Seattle.

    • 1994 August 18, 2021 (11:18 pm)

      My guess is no red light will be needed to cross Delridge because it will be so backed up with traffic, with the lovely improvements, there will be no need for walkers to wait to cross with the appropriate walk signal….just cross when the traffic has stopped. Think of it as a stay healthy street in reverse, full of stopped traffic so you can cross at any time.

    • Rhonda August 19, 2021 (2:40 am)

      There is nothing safer for pedestrians crossing a busy arterial than a pedestrian-only overpass or underpass. Eliminating this bridge will endanger lives. Period.

    • Anne August 19, 2021 (6:56 am)

      Ah-knew there’d be an anti car rant from  you Jort -as always you didn’t disappoint 

  • Joe Z August 18, 2021 (10:06 pm)

    They seem to have forgotten to build a crosswalk and pedestrian signal on the north side of Oregon. So they should probably rectify that before they tear down the bridge. 

    • sam-c August 19, 2021 (6:45 pm)

      Were they planning on putting a crosswalk on the N side of the intersection? They did add one on the S side of the intersection, crossing Delridge.

  • 1994 August 18, 2021 (10:20 pm)

    Took the survey. Why is race or gender identity info needed? Every person needs to be able to  move about the city regardless of race or gender identity.

    • My two cents … August 19, 2021 (12:43 pm)

      @1994 potential to track the participation and representation of survey responders versus composition of the community as a whole?

  • cheeseWS777 August 19, 2021 (6:04 am)

    Can they build a bridge for cars so they can just drive over all this crap (for lack of better word, sorry)that they are doing to delridge and surrounding areas

  • CTE August 19, 2021 (6:23 am)

    I love that they’re saying they’re “considering” options and want community feedback, when it’s so clear from their descriptions of the options they really want to tear it down but have to pretend the community wants that before they do.  I think the bridge is great, would hate to see it go.  @1994, demographic information is collected for a variety of reasons, including allowing the survey-producers to gauge whether or not their survey reached a diverse audience.  

    • CC August 20, 2021 (12:26 pm)

      Agreed. The language used in the second option is so obviously indicating that it’s SDOT’s preference that I’m surprised it wasn’t caught as such.

  • Tracey August 19, 2021 (6:57 am)

    I enjoy and use that bridge regularly.  It is a unique and enjoyable feature of the Delridge neighborhood for me.  I hope they decide to keep it. 

  • SpokesPerson August 19, 2021 (7:20 am)

    Pedestrian bridges are actually car infrastructure, not pedestrian infrastructure. It seems some folks don’t understand that. They are built to prevent delays to car traffic and create an inconvenience for pedestrians who must walk three times the distance to cross the road so that motorists don’t have to idle in waiting for 20 seconds. Of course we also know that only 30% of motorists actually stop at a stop sign/crosswalk, so SDOT should build something that makes it impossible for motorists to do the wrong thing if they truly care about efforts focused on pedestrian safety and convenience.

    • Jort August 20, 2021 (11:00 am)

      That is correct. Pedestrian bridges are first and foremost a way to separate sources of potential driving delays for motorists. Delridge is only as dangerous as drivers, themselves, allow it to be. If the citizens of Seattle cared more about the lives of their fellow citizens than they do about being speedy-speedy zoomy-zoom around in their beep-beep cars, then we would save lives and money. But I know how hard it is to go 25 instead of 35, god knows you’ve gotta get to the next red light 2.3 seconds faster. Life is so tough.

  • Lagerratrobe August 19, 2021 (8:31 am)

    Why does every project proposed by SDOT seem to be more about perception and how “good” the people who support them will perceive it to be, as opposed to a focus on enabling the largest number of people in the city to move about safely and efficiently?  Rather than ask the question in this way, why not gather some data first and then present it along with the question?  If no one uses the bridge, then the impact to users of removing is minimal and there is no reason to keep it around.  This data should NOT be based on a survey, but on actual pedestrian counts.  It should not be hard to capture this data in 2021. However, there *would* be an impact to users of Delridge while the demolition work was being done.  This is obviously not a concern, apparently. The way in which Delridge Way work has been done by SDOT in the past few years, especially in the past year with the West Seattle bridge being closed, shows a complete disregard by SDOT about the impact of their work on the people who live in the area.  This seems to be the “business as usual” mode for SDOT.I don’t generally believe in “negative intent”, but I do have to think that what we’re seeing in West Seattle is the implementation of a generally “anti car” agenda by the City of Seattle.  Interstingly enough though, even with all of the disruptive work that has been done in the past 10 years, it still doesn’t feel safe to ride a bike from say Westwood Village to the Junction.  Go figure.

    • Jort August 19, 2021 (9:49 am)

      It’s funny that you want SDOT to focus on “enabling the largest number of people in the city to move about safely and efficiently” but yet then accuse them of being “anti car.” That’s ironic. There is no proven way in the entirety of the history of human civilization on this planet in which cars are the most efficient nor safe way to move large numbers of people. No city on this beautiful green planet has ever achieved this, and Seattle will not be the first city in history to do so. SDOT is focusing on other methods for transporting people because those are the only methods that work. The boomer pipe dream of easy, low-cost car commuting is not only destroying our planet, it has proven itself unsustainable and dangerous. Full generations of Americans were sold a lie about their cars, and I fully understand how hard it is to hear that you believed whole-heartedly in a blatant lie. 

      • bolo August 19, 2021 (10:55 pm)

        Sorry jort, your “The boomer pipe dream of easy, low-cost car commuting” was being pushed well before the boomers epoch.

        • Jort August 20, 2021 (10:57 am)

          Oh, for sure, but it’s boomers who, when presented with a Mt. Everest-sized mountain of evidence that cars were not, in fact, the savior of transportation planning and, in fact, are actively detrimental to society, boomers doubled down and said, “no, we’ll keep going with this.” Thankfully younger generations are seeing the folly of automobile-centric transportation planning. We can still dig ourselves out of this self-imposed hole. And a sustainable, scalable cars-first transportation strategy is still a pipe dream, regardless.

          • anonyme August 20, 2021 (4:29 pm)

            Fun fact, Jort: when we boomers are all dead and you’re our age, the young un’s are gonna blame everything on you, too.  It’s as predictable as death and taxes.  If your accusations were correct, most drivers would be boomer age – but they’re not, are they?  What your limited experience may not have taught you is that perception is not age-related.  There is more uniformity of opinion at age 20 than at 60.  At 70, I have never owned a car in my life.  I agree with your view of automobiles, but please check your ageism.

          • Auntie August 20, 2021 (6:36 pm)

            Every generation thinks it’s going to save the world and every generation just keeps contributing to the destruction of this fine planet in one way or another. Unless you have a zero carbon footprint, you, too are part of the problem. And life goes on.

  • EarlyBird August 19, 2021 (8:56 am)

    As a neighbor along this stretch of Delridge, I encourage everyone to request SDOT stabilize and preserve this overpass. It sits at the convergence of two fairly blind corners (northbound on Delridge and NW-bound on 23rd/Oregon). Many of the pedestrians in our neighborhood are kids and teens heading to the soccer fields, park and community center. We all know a 25mph speed limit did not reduce the speeding on Delridge. I hope SDOT will consider that “vision zero” should apply to all neighborhoods, not just the shinier ones. 

  • Joel August 19, 2021 (10:30 am)

    Time for a change of leadership at SDOT. The reverse logic is an affront to the public they serve.

  • Del August 19, 2021 (2:19 pm)

    With the speed limit having gone down to 25 mph it’s probably safe enough people can walk across delridge without worrying about being killed from speeding drivers, so the bridge isn’t a necessity anymore. however, I do like the design of the bridge and it adds charm to the neighborhood that would be sad to lose. 

    • Chemist August 19, 2021 (2:28 pm)

      It may not be modern ADA compliant, but people on a bike can downshift and make it across the street without stopping via the “pedestrian bridge”.

    • Auntie August 20, 2021 (10:09 am)

      The speed limit may be 25 mph, but I have yet to see one single car going 25 mph on Delridge. I usually go around 29 or 30 and cars whiz around me to pass or tailgate me. The 25 mps speed limit is a joke. Do you actually go 25? Doubt it.

  • m August 19, 2021 (5:39 pm)

    Since these bridges are not ADA complaint, and require a lot more effort from peds and other users to use them, we need to move away from them, and as they are antiquated and expensive to maintain, I think that answers it right there. Intersections can be designed to be a lot more safe than some of the existing intersections we have now—leading ped intervals, installing red light cameras, banning rights on red, etc. If SDOT takes into account ped safety at this intersection and designs to protect vulnerable users, it’s a no-brainer to remove the bridge. 

    • Chemist August 19, 2021 (11:05 pm)

      How many millions will it cost to safely remove the bridge and what is the yearly maintenance cost of a fixed pedestrian overpass?

      • WSB August 19, 2021 (11:13 pm)

        I am still waiting for cost info from SDOT.

  • Jon Wright August 20, 2021 (11:43 am)

    As mentioned upthread, pedestrian overpasses are for the benefit of drivers, not pedestrians. The problem is that even where there are pedestrian overpasses, pedestrians still cross at grade because doing so is faster and takes less effort. Since there are always going to be people crossing at grade, it makes more sense to focus on making that safe and foregoing the bridge. My family and I enjoy that bridge, but I recognize that refurbishing it is a poor return on investment of limited transportation funds. 

  • skeeter August 20, 2021 (6:15 pm)

    “The boomer pipe dream of easy, low-cost car commuting is not only destroying our planet, it has proven itself unsustainable and dangerous. Full generations of Americans were sold a lie about their cars, and I fully understand how hard it is to hear that you believed whole-heartedly in a blatant lie. ”  Jort!  Quotes like this inspire me!  You are one of the reasons behind my motivation/decision to switch my commute from 90% car to 90% bike.  And when the bridge closed I went ahead to 100% bike.  My life has been so much healthier and happier.  Thank you.

  • Stepchild August 21, 2021 (12:43 pm)

    I live near the pedestrian overpass and have used it many times. Frankly, it is sort of superfluous now. It was put in place when Cooper Elementary School was there, and they used the park as a playground, and for large numbers of small children going to and from school- that need is simply not there anymore. While it’s presence is not unsightly or in the way, it is also not needed the way it once was. If pedestrian overpasses are so vital, why is it the only one on Del ridge?  Retrofitting Is necessary for any 60 year old structure, so if it means that continuing maintenance will be needed into the future, for a bridge that doesn’t really have a  clear use, then removal makes the most sense. 

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