Bridge update, draft plan for freight-only lanes, more @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting included a bridge briefing, an early look at a proposal for freight-only lanes, light-rail comments, and big news from the group’s leadership. That’s where we’ll begin:

WSTC LEADERSHIP: Both chair Michael Taylor-Judd and vice chair Marty Westerman say they intend to relinquish those roles, and to leave the WSTC board entirely after a half-year of transition or so. Both have been involved with the WSTC since it was founded in 2013. With other departures, the board has five openings in its upcoming elections, so if you want to get involved with West Seattle transportation advocacy, now’s the time.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE REPAIRS: SDOT’s Heather Marx presented an update. Much of it was a rerun of what the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force was told one week earlier, except for the structural-concrete timeline – she said the third of six deliveries was expected the following day (Friday, April 29th), and indeed, SDOT confirms that happened. Here’s a time-lapse video from early last week as they removed wooden forms from some of the interior concrete:

She said the project can’t control when the concrete supplier can deliver, so they still don’t know when the last pour will be. (As for the next one, SDOT has since told us the fourth pour “should hopefully occur within the next week.”) At the meeting, Marx reiterated that they’ll know the reopening date about a month in advance but they’re not out of the woods yet regarding concerns – supply-chain issues, COVID, the weather, now even wildlife (with the nesting peregrine falcons). Overall, “we know a lot about this bridge, but there are still ways in which it can surprise us.” Q: So how much more time after the last concrete pour? The concrete needs 28 days to cure, and then other tasks need to be done. “After that last pour, we’ll have a date for you” – both a “done with construction/start for testing” date and “open date.” Q: When will the falcons fly? They hatch in May, fledge in June. “The work continues, it’s just a little slower,” Marx said.

FREIGHT-ONLY LANES? Radcliffe Dacanay and Chris Eaves of SDOT were there to talk about a draft plan for freight-only lanes as well as transit lanes that allow freight. They stressed that these lanes would be “tested as pilots,” and reiterated repeatedly that this is a draft plan. The slide deck outlines the key points – see it here.

A few key points: Larger vehicles will be the focus for starters. They’d only locate the freight-only lanes in Manufacturing Industrial Centers – Duwamish Valley and SODO in this general area. They’re not sure when they might try this pilot. Eaves stressed they want to be careful about proceeding on this. WSTC’s Taylor-Judd said that they support the idea of testing something before it becomes full-fledged official. The SDOT reps stressed that this is “what we’re thinking,” very early-stage. Much conversation, notification, and information would happen regarding any location that is under active consideration. Meantime, the Freight Advisory Board and other volunteer boards/commissions are being consulted too.

WSTC COMMENTS ON LIGHT RAIL DRAFT EIS: The meeting was on the day that commenting closed for Sound Transit’s West Seattle/Ballard Light Rail Extensions Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The WSTC sent a letter – here’s an excerpt:

In light of what we have learned in the last 2-3 years, the WSTC strongly encourages consideration of placing some previously dismissed early alternatives back into to the scope of this EIS process for further study and consideration.

• We urge further consideration of the so-called “long tunnel” option along the Yancy alignment to avoid the destruction of many single-family homes and possibly even some taller multifamily structures in the Avalon neighborhood.

• We also call for the reconsideration and further study of the so-called “Purple Line” alternative which featured a crossing of the Duwamish River at a point further south, tunneling through the Puget Ridge approximately along the SW Genesee alignment, then following the current elevated station and guideway alignments along that street before entering a tunnel below the Avalon neighborhood and continuing underground into the West Seattle Junction.

You can see the WSTC’s full letter here.

NEXT MONTH: Tentative guests, pending confirmation, will be Mayor Bruce Harrell and citywide city councilmembers. The WSTC meets most months at 6:30 pm on the fourth Thursday, which means May 26th.

9 Replies to "Bridge update, draft plan for freight-only lanes, more @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition"

  • flimflam May 3, 2022 (5:31 am)

    so would the freight lanes be in addition to separate bus lanes? if so, wow, after all this time with no bridge they actually want to reduce capacity for the general public?

    • DC May 3, 2022 (9:41 am)

      It looks like the bridge is not a candidate for freight lanes, though Marginal Way is. You can see the proposed lanes on page 18 of the linked slide deck.

      • WSB May 3, 2022 (9:44 am)

        Thanks – for those who don’t like to click links, I wanted to embed the slide deck too, but the service we use (Scribd) was malfunctioning so I gave up, will try again today.

  • Amy Thomson May 3, 2022 (10:29 am)

    Wow, cutting off one lane for a bike path on West Marginal, and then adding a freight lane.  Where are cars supposed to go?  I live off of West Marginal, and drive it on a daily basis.  This will have a huge impact on me and my neighborhood.

    • Blbl May 3, 2022 (1:49 pm)

      Seattle wants cars to go nowhere. Commute on bike, silly! You can put all your work equipment in a pretty basket with plastic flowers! Or you and your three little kids can commute to work and school safely along West Marginal on your bikes! Don’t mind the freight trucks blasting by at 50 mph. And now you don’t even need a helmet! 🙄

  • Sparky May 3, 2022 (1:03 pm)

    Can they not even provide a reopening date assuming everything goes according to plan?  It seems like they either don’t have a real project schedule or they are simply not being transparent with their constituents. Either way, it’s a bad look for the SDOT Keystone Kops.

  • I love beer May 3, 2022 (4:17 pm)

    Hey, I just heard great news! The West Seattle Bridge is supposed to open up again mid-2022!

  • WS dweller May 4, 2022 (8:26 am)

    Seems to me there should be NO freight on the upper bridge. They can continue to use the lower bridge and W Marginal way.

    • GT May 22, 2022 (9:41 pm)

      Light freight only. No more rebar flatbeds..

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