Mayor-elect Harrell says SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe is out

4:17 PM: Second big announcement from Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell: Sam Zimbabwe is out as SDOT director. Just received:

Today, Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell released the following statement:

“Today, I am announcing that when I take office in January, I will be making a change in Seattle Department of Transportation leadership. We will embark on a robust national search for a new director who is aligned with my vision for this critical department. As we embark on that search, I will appoint SDOT Chief of Staff Kristen Simpson to serve as interim director. Kristen has let me know that she will not be applying for the permanent position.

“Going forward, my vision is for a Seattle Department of Transportation that centers equity throughout our transportation network across every street and sidewalk, in every neighborhood and community. We must create a balanced transportation ecosystem – increasing safety and decreasing travel times by bolstering transit, improving sidewalks, protecting bike lanes, and recognizing the role of cars and new electric vehicles.

“From Vision Zero to net zero, we will prioritize climate resilience and lead at the intersections of accessibility, reliability, safety, and sustainability.

“I want to thank Director Zimbabwe for his service and dedication to the City of Seattle. His leadership and quick action closing the West Seattle Bridge no doubt saved lives and has put the bridge on track to open in mid-2022. His response to the pandemic – thoughtful and meaningful efforts like Stay Healthy Streets and outdoor dining permits – should be celebrated. I wish him all the best in the future.”

Outgoing Mayor Jenny Durkan hired Zimbabwe three years ago, one year into her term. He had previously worked in Washington, D.C.

5:40 PM: Adding more backstory – The previous SDOT director, Scott Kubly, left a year before Durkan announced she was hiring Zimbabwe. Kubly, also from D.C., had the SDOT job for three and a half years. Between the two, Goran Sparrman served as interim director, a role he also filled before the arrival of Kubly, succeeding Peter Hahn, who left toward the end of the McGinn administration.

102 Replies to "Mayor-elect Harrell says SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe is out"

  • HarborIslandworker December 17, 2021 (4:27 pm)

    I hope Bruce Harrell.. Can reverse the Spokane St., Bridge restrictions for Harbor Island Workers that live in West Seattle. There’s no reason for people that work on Harbor Island and live in West Seattle to be restricted from a bridge that goes to Harbor Island from West Seattle….!

    • winniegirl December 17, 2021 (7:17 pm)

      the reason is the same as for everyone else.  it just seems more acutre because it’s close.  everyone is inconvenienced.  everyone has to make alternate arrangements.  If I need to go to first ave right over the bridge, i have to drive around too.  even though the lower bridge goes right there.

      • HarborIslandworker December 17, 2021 (7:42 pm)

        So the people that never used the West Seattle Bridge should have to suffer too. There are multiple reasons why we should still have access to the lower Spokane Street bridge. By sending everyone that works on Harbor Island the same way the freight exits just causes more back up for freight. Which in turn causes more backups on the detour routes. The fact that SDOT Took access away from 90 Harbor Island Workers that live in West Seattle then turn around and give access to over 1500 people. Which by the way the majority of those people never used the Lowbridge to begin with is illogical. Bottom line “there’s space on the bridge” they need to give access back to Harbor Island workers live in West Seattle. I drive underneath that bridge to get off Harbor Island every day I have no choice I have to be down there. That bridge is always empty whenever I’m near it. SDOT it’s creating the very problem they are trying to avoid by doing so.

        • bill December 17, 2021 (9:20 pm)

          Good grief, HarborIslandworker! You could park in the Park & Ride lot under the west high bridge viaduct and walk over the bridge. A little walk twice a day might make you a happier person.

          • HarborIslandworker December 17, 2021 (10:20 pm)

            bill…. Didn’t you tell me to do that last time. I am tired of you people and your constant rhetoric about just walk or ride a bike. You act as if I’m mentally unstable or something when in fact you seem quite obsessed with my circumstance. Whether you believe what I say or not or think that I should be doing something else. The problem with this community is people like you that don’t have your community members backs in situations like this. The Low Bridge was built for local traffic from Harbor Island to West Seattle. The whole road system on Harbor Island supports it. The east side of Harbor Island is designed to support the freight system. And winniegirls whole comparison to first Avenue being the same as Harbor Island is simply not true. The west Seattle bridge has an exit for first Avenue. The West Seattle Bridge does not have an exit from the west side for Harbor Island. But the low bridge sure does. The West Seattle Bridge was meant for through traffic and the low bridge was meant for local traffic. And SDOT Took away our access in order to make room for others. If this happened to you you’d be upset as well.

          • Reed December 18, 2021 (7:21 am)

            No, it was me who told you to walk or ride a bike, and I’m saying it’s again. Right now, you are not allowed to use the low bridge, and nothing will change that.

          • HarborIslandworker December 18, 2021 (8:49 am)

            Thanks for the clarification Reed… now it all suddenly makes sense. 

          • HarborIslandworker December 17, 2021 (10:34 pm)

            bill… you’ll see what I’m talking about when T5 opens And that whole Corridor is consistently backed up with freight trying to exit Harbor Island from the east

          • buttercup December 17, 2021 (10:36 pm)

            Wonderfully stated, could add metro to that also

          • bill December 18, 2021 (9:15 am)

            Harborislandworker: The rest of us are tired of your incessant whinging about how special you are. I live four blocks from the Fauntleroy ramp so I’ve been affected by the bridge closure as well. But instead of complaining about how unfair it is that my easy crossing to I-5 is no longer available, I’ve used my bike for almost all trips out of West Seattle instead of adding to the traffic congestion on the remaining routes. You should thank me for that. As for what I’ll when T5 opens, yes I’ll see it from my bike! On the wider issue of Harbor Island and other Port operations, I’d be happy to see the Port of Seattle shut down. The tax subsidy property owners pay to prop up the Port could be cut in half and used to pension off all the employees at half salary. All I get from my taxes now is air pollution, noise, and traffic congestion.

          • HarbourIslandworker December 20, 2021 (11:35 am)

            Bill… it doesn’t look like the things that you’re suggesting that I do to make me a happier person are working for you either. If you don’t like what I have to say on the blog which as a community member I have the right to do. You don’t have to comment or pay attention to what I have to say. But obviously you feel special enough to do so. I wish you the best

    • Kathy December 18, 2021 (9:31 am)

      Take the bus.

      • HarborIslandworker December 18, 2021 (10:17 am)

        Kathy…. That still does nothing for the freight back ups on Harbor Island… in fact all those buses just add to the problem down on Harbor Island

  • CarDriver December 17, 2021 (4:28 pm)

    Well done! Hope the new director does a complete sorely needed house cleaning. Will be watchful   however that the new person is actually an improvement(not hard)and not a continuation. 

  • Mark P December 17, 2021 (4:32 pm)

    So Bruce thinks Sam did a good job, but still wants him out? And the items in his vision seem pretty generic and something that Sam is already doing, so what else is at play here?

    • North Delridge December 17, 2021 (4:54 pm)

      Thanking someone for their service even though you’re sacking them is very standard business speak. It wouldn’t be professional to drag his name, just thank him for his time and move on.

    • By Sam, December 17, 2021 (4:58 pm)

      Harrell is just being polite. I respect that, but I expect a real house cleaning will commence. Hopefully this new director will be less utopian and more pragmatic. 

      • 1994 December 17, 2021 (6:02 pm)

        The house cleaning is sort of just moving some people around, a reshuffle if you will. But we can hope for improvement with a reshuffle and new hires!  SDOT Transportation Operations Division Director will join the Mayor’s Office in a new role of chief equity officer, tasked with delivering on Harrell’s vision to make tangible progress embedding equity across City departments and programs.

        • Pelicans December 17, 2021 (8:08 pm)

          1994  With all respect to your post, it sounds like a press release from the mayor-elect.

    • Rick December 18, 2021 (8:27 am)

      One word. Politics.

      • December 18, 2021 (11:28 am)

        One word. Professionalism. Something that has been lost over the last few years with firings via tweet or most recently via Zoom. 

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy December 17, 2021 (4:38 pm)

    His statement seems to praise him yet he’s ousting him. I’m a bit confused. 

    • Crown Hill Dweller December 17, 2021 (4:46 pm)

      It’s simply a professional and respectful way of communicating. Something politics could really use more of these days.

    • V. Mussen December 17, 2021 (5:18 pm)

      Standard front-facing polite-talk.  No politico with any common sense will bad mouth someone they are firing in public.   Common as dirt, I’m surprised you are confused at this absolutely standard type of statement.  That said, maybe someone in the know can tell us what Harrell’s issue with Mr Zimbabwe is.  Off the record, of course.

      • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy December 17, 2021 (8:08 pm)

        I work in the corporate world so I get it. I was hoping for a reply that was along the lines of your last statement. I’m not aware of what he’s done wrong. (excluding what the bellyachers here would say that think he can snap his fingers and fix the bridge in a month – that’s the only ‘bad’ I’ve heard. And those people sound crazy to me coming from a family of grunt workers in construction. I’m familiar with the process being slow.)

        • Bye Sam, December 17, 2021 (11:47 pm)

          The contractor asked SDOT to stay on the job this time last year (they asked for three more months and $18m to complete the work they’re just starting now). They have said “they’ve fixed worse” with traffic on them. The engineering firm SDOT hired has said the bridge was drivable at conferences months ago. Harrell’s team spoke with those people and know the real story: SDOT has drug their feet. Why hasn’t Sound Transit announced the final routing of light rail? Probably because SDOT still wants a new multimodal bridge, and if Harrell hadn’t been elected, probably would have gotten it. The current “leadership” team at SDOT had to go, and the new mayor is delivering that. Thank goodness, 

          • HarborIslandworker December 18, 2021 (8:06 am)

            And they were also waiting to see if they got federal funding from the government. They could’ve fixed the bridge well before now. Wish this was WDOT Bridge they seem to be more on top of their bridges.

          • Roms December 18, 2021 (8:26 am)

            Bye Sam, you say “The contractor asked SDOT to stay on the job this time last year.” I think I missed that information. Is it something publicly available?

          • bill December 18, 2021 (9:16 am)

            Where is any of this in the public record?

          • Kathy December 18, 2021 (9:41 am)

            I must have missed something. Did Zimbabwe propose putting bike lanes and light rail on the West Seattle Bridge? Why should only motorized vehicles be allowed to use it? Why prioritize use by fossil fuel burning vehicles over use by non-fossil fuel burning vehicles when everyone knows the tremendous damage being done to Earth by fossil fuel burning vehicles.

  • Hammer in Hand December 17, 2021 (4:42 pm)

    Let the sweeping begin. The comes the sweeping of the streets! Thank you mayor elect Harrell you are a man of your word

    • Derek December 17, 2021 (9:58 pm)

      This is horrible. Sweeping is grossly inhumane and disgusting. 

  • anonyme December 17, 2021 (4:52 pm)

    SDOT has needed a complete overhaul for a long time.  Let’s hope this is just the beginning.  If only he could sweep the City Council…

    • Villagegreen December 17, 2021 (5:13 pm)

      We voted for the city council? Or do you not like democracy?

      • Robert December 18, 2021 (6:05 am)

        We voted for a Council that promised to increase the police force. They did the opposite. Many people are frustrated.  

        • West Admiral December 18, 2021 (8:22 am)

          The city council lurched towards dysfunctional extremism after the 2013 vote to split into districts. If we’re unhappy with the council, why are we not moving to rollback the change that?

        • Admyrl Byrd December 19, 2021 (11:12 pm)

          I think that point is totally lost.  We HAVE to keep reminding people that Herbold completely flipped on this and that she is no longer an acceptable representative for us. DO.  NOT.  FORGET.

      • anonyme December 18, 2021 (6:52 am)

        Who do you think “we” are?  “We” are not just the people who voted for candidates that you like.  “We” does not = “you”.  Obviously, not all of us voted for the current city council.  That does not mean “we” don’t deserve representation in a democratic system.  Fact: While it may be the best option we’ve got, democracy is far from a perfect system.  Also, the word ‘democracy’ is a fluid concept that requires further definition.  Representative democracy (the system we have) is especially flawed as elected representatives are not actually required by law to enact the will of the people – which makes the nomenclature particularly ironic.  They can pretty much do whatever they want, and the only way to stop them is to vote them out.  Voting regulations are inconsistent even within states, and in Washington state, the system is set up to favor single-party rule.  Ranked-choice voting is probably a fairer approach but has not yet caught on in most of the country.  Meanwhile, ‘democracy’ allows for differences of opinion, even in theocratic West Seattle.

  • Auntie December 17, 2021 (5:06 pm)

    Maybe Harrell has a nephew or cousin that needs a job. ;-P

    • MsFoxieMoxie December 17, 2021 (5:40 pm)

      Um… what?? Are you suggesting Harrell has a history of nepotism? What are you getting at, exactly? 

      • Derek December 17, 2021 (6:07 pm)

        He does have that history. He’s off to a bad start IMO

      • Neighbor December 17, 2021 (6:09 pm)

        Bruce Harrell appointed his niece as Sr. Deputy Mayor three days ago.  Any web search for “Bruce Harrell nepotism” should get you close, if biased, results.

        • MacJ December 17, 2021 (7:07 pm)

          I mean, giving a job to your “nepos”, aka nephew (or niece, to update for modern times) is the specific thing the term was coined for. He did nepotism. 

      • Auntie December 18, 2021 (10:32 am)

        Just what would you call his appointing his niece as deputy mayor, if not nepotism?

    • OneTimeCharley December 17, 2021 (5:44 pm)

      Your comment is funny, and deserved, which makes it even funnier still. (sigh)

  • Roms December 17, 2021 (5:27 pm)

    It seems like a logical outcome for someone who recently said that trying to fix the bridge faster would “send the wrong message.” Reference: that’s not really a matter of cars (I can see the Jort troll coming right away): It’s a matter of accountability, and doing what you’re supposed to do. The car vs mass transit vs bicycle is a completely different discussion, at the Council and Mayor level.

    • bill December 17, 2021 (7:36 pm)

      No one has yet refuted Jort’s fundamental point: We are out of land to build new roads or widen existing roads, and there are now too many cars in the city for everyone to have a happy drive to anywhere anytime they desire. The tantrums that will ensue when the bridge reopens and the usual old traffic jams form will be delightful to observe.

      • TP December 18, 2021 (7:31 am)

        I’m in total agreement Bill. I cannot wait to read all the traffic related comments once the bridge opens back up. Let them have their miserable car commutes will those of us who bike/use public transportation efficiently cruise on by. 

        • helpme December 18, 2021 (8:59 am)

          Cruise on by??? even though bikes are to obey the rules of the road as motor vehicles… if there’s an accident and all lanes are stopped/jammed up is public transportation just going to cruise on by?

          • TP December 20, 2021 (6:57 am)

            Yep. If a road is blocked due to an accident, I will hop on the sidewalk or other find way cars physically cannot. If the Spokane Bridge is broken, I will take the water taxi or ride around to the first avenue bridge. Point being I will be flexible based on conditions and not be some poor sap stuck behind the wheel of a car.

  • Mj December 17, 2021 (5:31 pm)

    It would be nice to see a new higher that is both a PE, Professional Engineer, and a PTOE, Professional Traffic Operations Engineer!

    • AF12 December 17, 2021 (6:27 pm)

      MJ- Excellent Comment! I 100% agree. We need a real “Transportation Engineer “!

    • mark olsoe December 18, 2021 (10:27 am)

      Also agree 100%.  And hopefully this person will agree with professional bridge engineer Kenneth Wilson who said we could be using the high bridge right now.

  • H20K9 December 17, 2021 (5:33 pm)

    YES ! ! ! !

  • MsFoxieMoxi December 17, 2021 (5:44 pm)

    I’m thrilled to see changes in SDOT. I’m hopeful a national search will render a more logical approach to transit and roadways than what we’ve experienced over the last several years. Kudos to Mayor Elect Harrell for being proactive. May we continue to see more of the same. 

    • SarahL December 19, 2021 (4:09 pm)

      It was a national search last time and the time before, too.

  • Mark Schletty December 17, 2021 (5:56 pm)

     Best news of the year. Thank you Mr. Harrell.  

    • Reed December 18, 2021 (7:37 am)

      These comments make it seem like Bruce Harrell is the second coming of Christ. I bookmarked this blog page so I can reference it in a few years when everyone on here is still complaining about the same things (parking, cars, bikes). Those of you expecting earth shattering a changes are in for a big disappointment. It will continue to get harder and become more frustrating to drive, and no mayor or SDOT director will ever change that.

      • Wseattleite December 18, 2021 (9:19 pm)

        That is a terrible hobby. 

        • Ice December 20, 2021 (1:59 pm)

          It’s no worse of a hobby than pretending like you are smarter and know more than the people who work for the local government and then constantly playing the victim card because SDOT caused some some perceived slight to your commute.

  • Nick December 17, 2021 (6:18 pm)

    So the last mayor conducted a national search and was lucky enough to get a great leader from DC. I know, I live in DC. Sam was the best person at DDOT. Now the new mayor wants his own person and is going to do a national search so someone else can move their family there, serve a couple years, and the next mayor can fire them.

    • East Coast Cynic December 17, 2021 (9:31 pm)

      Given the fractious politics of doing transportation infrastructure in Seattle and the way Sam handled our revamping of the WSB,  I believe Harrell will be hard pressed to find anybody better than him.

      • West side guy December 17, 2021 (11:48 pm)

        Sounds like a “Brownie, you’re doing a great job” comment to me. Zimbabwe’s main legacy will be bringing the rental scooters to Seattle.  In addition to blocking sidewalks, the scooters are usually being driven by helmet less youth.

        • Admyrl Byrd December 19, 2021 (11:15 pm)

          Great reference on the Brownie comment.  You win the thread, if not the internet.

  • Auntie December 17, 2021 (6:30 pm)

    I’m not sure where y’all have been working, but in the real business world employees who have been “let go” frequently leave with not only some sort of severance, but also a non-disclosure agreement as to why they have been let go, or maybe even a recommendation! I’ve seen it time and time again. Just because and employee is not suited to the job they are doing for any given entity doesn’t mean that they are not suited for their next endeavor. They are just moving along.

  • IHeartBPP December 17, 2021 (6:53 pm)

    Hallalou!! Sam is out!  Maybe he’ll take Heather Marx with him. Their condescending tone and war on cars mentality (100+ speed humps in West Seattle alone) may have been their undoing.  

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench December 17, 2021 (9:22 pm)

      That is such a great idea for Sam to take Heather with him ! 
      If Heather is uncooperative and stays on, she should no longer be allowed to speak to the public. 
      She was such an insulting, tone-deaf, condescending bureaucrat as she participated in SDOT Zoom meetings with us. 
      And those 100+ speed humps – like flinging salt in the wounds of West Seattleites as we suffered without the bridge. 
      Heather deserves to have a sewage treatment plant named after her. 

      Has Sam or Heather ever explained why the 4th Avenue Bridge near Costco was not prioritized, once they closed the West Seattle Bridge ? 
      Come on !  Fourth Avenue became an important route for West Seattleites. 
      Oh, and for those who might be confused as to why Sam needs to go bye bye:  he was in over his head, unable to provide the necessary leadership to properly maintain the West Seattle Bridge. 
      We never saw any sense of urgency on the part of SDOT regarding remedying the debacle of the maintenance failure of the WS Bridge.   
      Zero effort towards customer service. 
      Appalling !

      • bill December 18, 2021 (9:21 am)

        Better salt in your wounds than children run over by speeding drivers. As for the 4th Ave bridge, you’ve not been paying attention. The railroad won’t give the city permits for working on the bridge. Railroads operate under federal jurisdiction. The city has no leverage.

      • Lagartija Nick December 18, 2021 (10:31 am)

        Do you guys ever listen to yourselves? I’d be impolite too if I constantly had to deal with people calling me names, rudely criticizing my every decision, and bombarding me with unhinged rants that have no basis in reality. Case in point: the 4th Ave So. bridge, SDOT has been trying to fix it for years but the railroad companies refuse to allow construction over their privately owned rail lines. What’s appalling is treating civil servants with outright contempt and feigning outrage when they’ve finally had enough of your rudeness. 

        • Chemist December 18, 2021 (6:32 pm)

           the 4th Ave So. bridge, SDOT has been trying to fix it for years but the railroad companies refuse to allow construction over their privately owned rail lines

          Factually incorrect, according to the 2019 post by West Seattle Blog.  They’re permitted to work over the rail yard, but not being given permission to use the rail yard itself (who knows what extent/duration/times of access SDOT asked for).  I suspect the railroads have been tired of SDOT’s permitting process and are getting some revenge by being difficult too. 

          This project has been complicated by the fact that Union Pacific Railroad owns the right-of-way under the bridge and the permit we received from Union Pacific Railroad requires that we do not work in the Argo rail yard. Working on top of the bridge makes the repairs more complex. As a result we brought a consultant onboard to help determine what needs to be done to make repairs so that we can finalize the design.Once we get started, the repairs should take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to complete and we hope to have the northbound curb lane reopened by the end of this year or early 2020.

  • B Smith December 17, 2021 (7:02 pm)

    I’d love to see a more balanced approach to transportation in the city of Seattle than the last decade. Yes a focus on expanded public transit and alternative means of transportation are always needed to reduce congestion and provide equity to those who don’t own a vehicle. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of only focusing on those means of transportation and in the process penalizing vehicle owners who use a vehicle for their main transportation means. For someone who commutes via vehicle and cannot realistically use public transit to and from work, we must not continue to penalize those who own a vehicle & use it as their main form of transportation. Maybe the city can look at more fast ferry and water taxi options from north Seattle to south Seattle and hope the new mayor not only keeps (if not expands the hours) of the current West Seattle Water Taxi schedule (at the very least while the WS bridge is out of commission if not indefinitely to reduce some traffic into and out of WS). This next proposal may be wishful thinking but maybe the new administration can talk with state of WA and Washington State Ferries to do a Fauntleroy to DT Seattle route in the future (when they can staff WS Ferries properly) would be great option at reducing transit times (even if only during morning and evening peak hours) for those who commute into the city from WS.  

    • WSB December 17, 2021 (8:43 pm)

      Datapoint, the city does not run the Water Taxi; the county (Metro) does. Only thing the city can do – which they’re doing right now, at the community’s behest – is offer extra money for extra service.

      • B Smith December 17, 2021 (10:48 pm)

        Thanks for the clarification on that. Maybe they can partner with the County and provide funding if need be to help expand the hours of service for WS Water Taxi year round for those who can use it for commuting vs driving (even when bridge reopens) as well as for tourist who want to visit WS without the long commute time from DT Seattle to WS with bridge closure in place. It is a transportation method between 2 city of Seattle locations so makes sense for our Mayor to partner with King County who runs it to expand this service and implement the current expanded summer schedule year round if not starting earlier and running later than it currently does especially for commuter use. 

        • Kathy December 18, 2021 (9:51 am)

          What is the point of Water Taxi expansion on weekends when there is zero bus service on the West Seattle side? The whole length of the edge of the peninsula from Lincoln Park to Spokane Street has zero bus service on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

          • anonyme December 19, 2021 (6:55 am)

            Lincoln Park has the C-line on weekends, but Arbor Heights (south of Lincoln Park) truly has nothing.

  • Curtis December 17, 2021 (7:37 pm)

    Yes!!!!  Best news we have received all year.  What a trainwreck has been the Z.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees December 17, 2021 (8:06 pm)

    It’s VERY refreshing to hear a Mayor-elect stress the importance of cars when referring to the the mission of SDOT.

    • Matthew Higgins December 18, 2021 (1:03 am)

      Is this a joke comment?

    • AJP December 18, 2021 (6:25 pm)

      Gonna need to cut down a lot more trees to make room for thousands more cars! 

  • Happy as can be December 17, 2021 (8:47 pm)

    This truly was the best Xmas gift ever.  Finally finally a hint of competence and a dash of hope.We are having champagne.  🥂

  • StupidInSeattle December 17, 2021 (9:03 pm)

    Mayor-elect Harrell cleaning house starting with the head of SDOT is great news.  More incompetent employees in this arrogant and unresponsive city agency can be sent out the door with Zimbawbe. 

  • greatagain December 17, 2021 (9:04 pm)

    I voted for Bruce!!! and he make Seattle great again!!

  • Azimuth December 17, 2021 (9:25 pm)

    Just pave the roads and fix potholes properly and you will be a Seattle legend our great grandchildren we’ll tell stories about!

    • Charles Burlingame December 17, 2021 (10:39 pm)

      Considering transportation accounts for 60% of Seattle’s emissions, your great grandchildren might feel pretty differently about prioritizing low occupancy gas vehicles now.

      • StopCuttingDownTrees December 18, 2021 (3:01 am)

        Electric cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs will (and are) quickly replacing gasoline versions and will be the mainstream within a decade. They have zero-emissions and will forever end the tired argument that everyone must be herded onto public mass transit “to save the planet”. Private, electric, single-occupancy vehicles are the future, not the past.

      • Kathy December 18, 2021 (9:56 am)

        + 1, these “cars first” commenters are promoting destroying Earth. I would like to hear them defend themselves without just whining.

        • Ex-Westwood Resident December 19, 2021 (2:33 pm)

          Have you done ANY research into the environmental cost of mining the lithium/cobalt for your precious electric vehicle batteries?

          Have you done ANY research on the environmental cost of the disposal of those lithium/cobalt batteries when they can no longer be recharged is?

          Have you done ANY research on the HAZMAT danger those lithium/cobalt batteries present when they are cracked open in an accident?

          The “Carbon Footprint” of the WORST fossil-fuel car is still FAR less than that of an electric(battery) car, from “birth” to “death” of the car.

          Now add the draw on out electrical grid as more and more charging stations get placed in private homes. Our grid was NOT designed to support that kind of draw.

          Now take into account that the “Envion-Nazis” want to breach the Skagit River, and other dams that supply the majority of our electricity, just WHERE are you going to get the power to supply the grid for your electric cars, let along to provide power to homes and businesses?

          Wind and Solar are POOR substitutes for Hydroelectric generated power, and the “EnviroNuts” have made Nuclear Power Reactors prohibitively expensive and almost impossible to build.

          Not everyone can use Mass Transit to get to and from work and the grocery store. For example; I live 8 miles from work, it would take me 60 to 90 minutes to get to work if I took a bus. That is even if they were running at the time I have to travel to work. Which they are NOT. 

          Now all that being said, I am NOT opposed to alternate powered vehicles, just NOT battery powered vehicles. Fuel Cell and Hydrogen power technology is where we should be concentrating research on. Batteries are so 18th Century technology, list like trains.

          • SarahL December 19, 2021 (4:12 pm)

            Nobody was pro-EV here—everything said in this thread could apply to gas, electric, and hybrid personal vehicles alike, except for the offhand “gas vehicles”

          • dogbreath December 28, 2021 (12:06 pm)

            Everything you wrote is wrong or misinformed. Likely even the bus story. 

      • December 18, 2021 (2:46 pm)

        Interesting that greenhouse gases from transportation emissions have declined a bit in Seattle, but increased in the building sector for things like cooking and heating. Perhaps we should consider no gas appliances in new builds like California. Regarding fossil fuel specifically, electricity (at 25%) is second to transportation (at 29%) in emissions, so should we stop charging our phones, using other electronic devices, and sit in the dark and cold? Just saying, not sure cars are our only problem.

      • anonyme December 19, 2021 (7:08 am)

        Correct.  The attitude that anyone should be able to drive anywhere, any time, for any reason as fast as they can possibly go and on a tankful of heavily subsidized gasoline is nothing short of moronic – and suicidal.  The so-called “war on cars” is a war of survival.  As Charles pointed out, our great-grandchildren won’t thank us.  I would add that that they won’t even exist if we hold our current course in regard to fossil fuels, as our planet will be uninhabitable by then.

  • Peter December 17, 2021 (10:55 pm)

    Wanted: scapegoat you take the blame for everything that anyone is unhappy about. Benefits include constant insults from irrational WSB commenters and general abuse from ignorant keyboard jockeys citywide. Only masochists need apply. 

    • bill December 18, 2021 (9:22 am)

      Spot on! Best comment on this thread.

    • Lagartija Nick December 18, 2021 (10:33 am)

      Seconded, best comment on the thread!

    • SarahL December 19, 2021 (4:13 pm)

      Nailed it!!! At this point I wonder why anybody would WANT the job.

  • Joe Z December 17, 2021 (11:08 pm)

    He inherited a department that was a complete disaster and turned them into a functional organization. I was honestly shocked at how quickly and how well they reconfigured the intersections on the bridge detour. He wasn’t there long enough to enact an agenda…anything that was actually built was planned by the previous administration.

    By the way, it’s pretty obvious that SDOT is just the messenger/scapegoat for the Port on any bridge-related issues. Freight was always the main reason that low bridge traffic is restricted.

  • Mr C Vu December 18, 2021 (9:35 am)

    Mayor elect Harrel. Good move and good riddance. Please please please recognize SDOT is critical public works ENGINEERING organization. SDOT Leadership needs to MIRROR that skill set. Let the urban planners and utopians work for you not the other way around. We have the technology to predict the impacts of our projects on commute times etc. pleased to see focus on reducing those. God speed. 

  • EdSane December 18, 2021 (10:49 am)

    Sorry to hear that SDOT is losing a very competent leader. Hopefully the replacement will be up to the challenges. As for cleaning house. If a corporation changed leaders this often I’d divest from them. You need consistent long term leadership investment for strategic planning and actual change. Leaders changing every 2-3 years won’t lead to foundational long term change. I don’t follow city politics thoroughly so maybe this is common place but it seems counter productive to me.

    • Nadoka December 18, 2021 (1:03 pm)

      Too true. Sam is knowledgeable, competent, and has been very effective. SDoT has improved its quality of delivered services as well as speed of delivery during Sams’ time at the helm.I’ve been following Bruce for quite some time, and on occasion interacted with him. I expect that his ego will become his fail point. Not a particularly bright nor insightful individual. Hopefully he will rise to the occasion.

  • Reality Chick December 18, 2021 (2:26 pm)

    Let us not forget the same-time hire as Sam Zimbabwe of The General (Michael Worden), the second place finisher of the recruitment. That was a bit of a cluster.  I don’t know by what measures folks are determining that SDOT has improved its delivery of services in either time or quality under Mayor Durkan’s term. SDOT has been mismanaged for so long that even the smallest improvement can be lauded, I guess.  The revolving door of mayors and directors plays a big role but so does the work of the staff (the streetcar debacle comes to mind among an auspicious list). Bruce Harrell was on the city council for a long time–we will be watching to see if his tepidness that describes his years on the council will be different going forward. Sound Transit is also looking for a new leader–will be interesting to see who these agencies can recruit as they will really matter. 

    • Junctionite December 19, 2021 (7:59 am)

      Not a big surprise here. I worked for SDOT for many years. This position usually changes with each new mayoral administration. Having the West Seattle Bridge debacle occur on his watch was NOT going to help Zimbabwe be the rare exception to this.

  • Laurie December 22, 2021 (10:03 am)




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    I see two
    types of complaints about Sam Zimbabwe: his handling of the bridge closure and his
    vision for long term transportation in Seattle.

    On the
    bridge issue, in addition to people thinking things should somehow be moving faster,
    smarter and more visibly than they are now, many take issue with one policy or
    another, affecting one group of people(theirs) or another to mitigate the disruption.
    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the next director will not make these
    people happy.

    transportation policy, we simply have to acknowledge where we are now, and for
    better or worse it’s not the un-hip isolated neighborhood I moved to in 1980. I appreciate
    the flexibility (and sometimes necessity) of driving my car, but even with a
    fixed bridge, unless we invest in making other forms of transportation easier,
    safer and more pleasant we are going to face ever tightening gridlock that
    makes our current frustrations look quaint.

    Sam Zimbabwe
    understood this, and I’m going to miss his far-sighted leadership.

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