FOLLOWUP: Delridge pedestrian bridge will remain, get retrofit

(WSB file photo)

Back in August 2021, the city announced it was considering removing the Delridge/Oregon pedestrian overpass instead of reinforcing it to make it more earthquake-resistant. Feedback opportunities ensued. Today, the final decision was announced – the bridge will stay, and will get a seismic retrofit. The announcement came in the newest email update on preparations for next year’s RapidRide H Line launch:

We will seismically retrofit the Delridge Pedestrian Bridge. Construction will begin in 2024.

The Delridge Pedestrian Bridge is a high priority for a seismic retrofit, which will make the bridge safer in events like earthquakes. Over the past year, we’ve been exploring whether we should remove the bridge or seismically retrofit it.

After we installed a community-requested crosswalk and walk signal as part of the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project at SW Oregon St, we considered if making the pedestrian bridge earthquake-safe and continuing ongoing maintenance was still the right approach.

Removing the bridge would save current and future costs. With the new signal and crosswalk offering a new way to get across the street, we thought community members might find the pedestrian bridge to be unnecessary.

However, Seattle’s older bridges continue to be used and often have interesting characteristics their neighbors have come to love.

Both options would improve safety in the event of an earthquake.

Beginning in summer 2021, we asked Delridge neighbors whether the bridge should be removed or kept and seismically retrofitted. We heard loud and clear that the Delridge community would like to keep the bridge. Read more here.

Most people wanted us to keep the bridge and many people currently use the bridge. The bridge serves as a community asset, particularly for people who live or work at the Cooper School Artist Lofts/Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and want to access the Delridge Playfield, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and Southwest Youth and Family Services building.

The Levy to Move Seattle funds our bridge seismic retrofit program and we expect to begin construction on the Delridge Pedestrian Bridge retrofit in 2024. Thank you to everyone who shared feedback and helped inform the plan.

Last year when we asked, SDOT estimated the retrofit cost as at least $4 million, The city already has retrofitted the area’s other pedestrian bridge, the SW Andover bridge over the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge.

31 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Delridge pedestrian bridge will remain, get retrofit"

  • OneTimeCharley December 6, 2022 (6:44 pm)

    I love this news. When I was a new arrival to the neighborhood 25 years ago this pedestrian bridge stood out to me immediately for it’s futuristic looking design. Just one example of why I loved Seattle so much then, and why I am just as much in love with Seattle now; its unique little details. 

  • Jort December 6, 2022 (7:25 pm)

    The only purpose of this “pedestrian bridge” (located mere steps away from an existing at-grade signaled crosswalk) is to prevent cars from having to take, infrequently and occasionally, a 10 second break to allow a person to cross the street. Keep this in mind, car enthusiasts, as the city is going to spend $4 million in taxpayer dollars to keep you from — potentially! — having to stop for a few seconds on this street. This is how SDOT, Seattle’s official government-sponsored automobile advocacy organization, wants to spend the “Move Seattle” levy dollars. To get people walking to the park out of the way of cars so they can drive faster. But please, tell me more about the “War on Cars.” Please, more about how cars are suffering humanity’s greatest indignities. How the “bicycle lobby” controls every transportation dollar in the city. Please.

    • Jay December 6, 2022 (8:12 pm)

      I bike through this intersection late at night all the time and I’d be kind of scared to cross at grade instead of the bridge. West Seattle’s 50+ mph highways like Delridge, 35th, and Admiral are pretty sketchy.

    • Russell December 6, 2022 (11:47 pm)

      Or it’s an awesome part of the neighborhood residents want to keep…

    • my two cents December 7, 2022 (5:51 am)

      Jorty – Thanks for this; “Keep this in mind, car enthusiasts, as the city is going to spend $4 million in taxpayer dollars to keep you from — potentially!”  Cool – about time the city spent a little in honor of our four wheeled friends! 

      • Jort December 7, 2022 (10:27 am)

        The overwhelming majority of transportation funding in Seattle goes to the maintenance of car-related infrastructure. Bike lanes and sidewalks receive fractional amounts compared to the millions spent on roads for cars. This is not even a debate. Car drivers mostly seem to be upset that they don’t get 100 percent of every single transportation dollar. I guess 98 percent isn’t enough for them.

    • Ivan Weiss December 7, 2022 (6:26 am)

      Hey Jort, are you opposed to pedestrian safety? It sure seems so, from reading your comment. Are you opposed to SDOT spending millions for protected bike lanes, which get bicyclists out of the way of cars? If not, then what’s the difference here? Were you opposed to the Northgate pedestrian bridge, too?  Pedestrians are more vulnerable than bicyclists. We don’t have to “tell you more” about the “War on Cars.” Your comments give voice to that mentality, every single time.

      • Jort December 7, 2022 (10:34 am)

        Ivan, you know better than this. Pedestrian bridges are well-known by people who actually study these things to be detrimental, in the long-term, to pedestrian mobility and safety, as they literally enable increased, faster automobile driving. There is a reason that skybridges were popular in 1970s urban planning, but then began to fade away: because they detract from the cityscape and further entrench the unmatched supremacy of automobiles as the primary planning priority in housing and transportation policy. The Northgate pedestrian bridge crosses a FREEWAY. Do we want to think of Delridge as a freeway? With this bridge, we are saying the most important things next to this city park are the cars that drive by as fast as possible, without interruption. How about making people the most important part? There are literally thousands of resources available online if you want to learn more about this — this is a settled “debate” when it comes to their utility and purpose.

    • Karen December 7, 2022 (7:44 am)

      That bridge was there decades before there was a signal to cross.

    • Mickymse December 7, 2022 (8:43 am)

      If Jort paid attention instead of immediately turning to his usual knee-jerk reactions… he would have noted that SDOT put in the at-grade crossing with the intent of removing the bridge. It’s being kept precisely because many pedestrians and bicyclists, many neighbors and families, would like to keep the bridge there and some PREFER the safety it offers. No concerns of “drivers” are considered in those decisions. Now… whether or not we should be using transportation dollars instead of historical preservation dollars is a whole other debate that I’m sure Jort would be happy to engage in.

    • Lola December 7, 2022 (9:01 am)

      Jort,  I think you have gone off the deep end.  I know I pay my tax dollars for Roads and Hwy Maintenance every time I renew my ever growing tabs.  But all I ever see are the growing POTHOLES, OVERGROWTH, and GARBAGE piled up on the sides of freeways.  Where do you say my tax dollars are going????  I see more and more Bike Lanes than ever, Pop Up Area Restrictions where Cars can’t be, and More Speed Bumps than I can count.  Not sure how fixing an overpass is that detramental, I think if I were walking I would feel safer on this overpass than I would crossing a busy street trying not to get hit. 

      • Frog December 7, 2022 (9:50 am)

        There is also a simple issue of volumes, which Jort seems unable to appreciate.  On a quiet road with five pedestrians and ten cars per hour, it would be silly to preserve a pedestrian bridge.  But where volumes are high for both modes, it might make sense to separate them just for the sake of throughput, to not create huge backups.  Also, the bridge seems popular for waving protest signs.

      • Jort December 7, 2022 (10:29 am)

        Do you think your “tabs” are covering the entire transportation budget? Because you are in for a big surprise if you do. 

    • PDiddy December 7, 2022 (12:07 pm)

      This is next to my house and until not long ago there was NO crosswalk. Personally I am happy this is there. I will still use it over the crosswalk and I think its cool. 

    • Carmel Slee December 7, 2022 (12:53 pm)

      As usual, they don’t speak to planning and permits or sound transit.  I can’t believe how delridge through Burien isn’t on the train route.  That’s where the ridership is! I say look at what is in the planning for the future before you waste more money… Delridge rapid is unsafe, doesn’t help with road water run off into the creek!  Bus stops right at Intersections…

  • H20K9 December 6, 2022 (8:02 pm)

    With Seattle’s push to increase density citywide one  would think that upkeep of pedestrian structures of this sort would become invaluable.  But as recent history has revealed  SDOT  isn’t very good at bridge maintenance when it comes to West Seattle. “Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”—Kurt Vonnegut

  • 22blades December 7, 2022 (2:19 am)

    Good news! Our city is not made up of disposable architecture. Maintain & fix what we have to avoid waste & developing a sense of place. I love the bridge. See WSB article “Teenage pedestrian injured in Delridge/Thistle collision”.

  • K December 7, 2022 (5:05 am)

    This is silly. If they just made our intersection safer there, we wouldn’t have to go the extra distance to use the ped bridge. Not very considerate of those rolling either. Sigh.

  • Don Brubeck December 7, 2022 (8:47 am)

    Disappointing to see so much Move Seattle levy money spent on a pedestrian bridge that is not even ADA compliant, right next to a fully upgraded crosswalk with traffic light, when there are so many intersections and streets that remain unsafe for people walking, rolling with mobility devices, and biking.   Wondering what community feedback SDOT was listening to. It was not the feedback from community advocates for safe streets.

    • Ivan Weiss December 7, 2022 (10:09 am)

      @ Don Brubeck: Is it just possible that other people might have different ideas from yours as to what constitutes a “safe street,” and that these people might also submit their input to SDOT, thus making them also “community advocates for safe streets?”

      • Jort December 7, 2022 (11:45 am)

        Just because people have different ideas doesn’t make them correct. Here’s the Federal HIGHWAY administration’s (widely notable for their decades-long cars-first approach to American transportation planning) policy document on pedestrian overpasses, which they call a “last resort.” Here’s more: “Overpasses are often suggested as a way of preventing motor vehicle flow from being impeded by pedestrian traffic and give an environment a feel more akin to a highway, which is where they are most appropriate.” The ONLY argument in favor of pedestrian overpasses is that you want more cars to drive faster. This is not a debatable topic in modern transportation planning. SDOT is choosing to waste money on 1970s-era thinking to facilitate the continued epidemic of death and injuries caused by vehicles.

        • Ivan December 7, 2022 (1:40 pm)

          This is pure hot garbage, Jort. I don’t want cars to drive faster as much as I want pedestrians to be safe. Pedestrians pay taxes like everyone else, and if enough of them who cross this street regularly want a pedestrian bridge for their safety, and if they decide this is what makes them most safe, then they should have one. I will admit up front that I don’t know how many neighbors spoke in favor of the bridge, and maybe someone has that information. But I have to think it was a number significantly greater than zero.

          • Jort December 7, 2022 (4:37 pm)

            Ah, kind of like how if enough people in Fauntleroy decide they don’t want a ferry there anymore, then they get the final say? No more ferry, goodbye to the dock? That’s not how it works. Just because a lot of people have a bad idea, communally, doesn’t turn it into a good idea, and certainly not the right idea. If you actually want pedestrians to be safe (most do not, they want to keep driving fast, claiming safety is an outright lie), then you need to make interventions to street design that deprioritize vehicle speed and lethality. Pedestrian overpasses do not do that. This is established research, it is proven again and again, it is against modern design standards and it would be beneficial to many to admit a lack of knowledge and instead engage in learning and the process of changing your minds. It is OK to be wrong, but not OK to be confidently, defiantly incorrect. 

          • Ivan Weiss December 8, 2022 (10:01 am)

            It is OK to be wrong, but not OK to be confidently, defiantly incorrect. “I see irony is dead now.

    • PDiddy December 7, 2022 (12:11 pm)

      I am not sure if this statement is correct. The overpass does have a ramp so I looked it up to see if its too steep. I found this which makes me think its compliant though i am not totally sure since i dont know the actual grade. Regardless I am sure its not going to be fun to someone in a wheelchair. That said, there is a new ADA compliant crosswalk and the curbs were recently redone to make them so as well.

  • April December 7, 2022 (10:15 am)

    Yes! Old West Seattle for the win!!! Love that bridge! Jort, I love your comments.

  • Sad Waste$$$ December 7, 2022 (10:22 am)

    I would like to see a tally of how often this bridge is being used.  
    Other than when used for people protesting or demonstrating, I rarely notice pedestrians on it, while I do see pedestrians crossing Delridge below.  

    I would like more history of the bridge, was it built while for the old Cooper Elementary School when there were lots of children crossing?  
    The referenced community responding overwhelmingly in favor of the bridge appears to be small,  vocal, local ‘shareholders’ who may not be acting in the interest of the larger community.  
    Remember, this will cost likely more than the $4,000,000 estimated years ago and will continue to cost a fortune to maintain.  
    The other West Seattle bridge, in contrast, is the only way to get across the West Seattle Fwy and serves a  diverse area of commuters.

  • Aaron December 7, 2022 (1:24 pm)

    Pedestrian bridges, including this one, are a way of avoiding a real solution to a problem – in this case, a proper lighted crosswalk. Now there is one just feet away at Oregon which also serves cars coming down 23rd to merge onto Delridge.  Think what it would be like if we installed a bridge like this at every crosswalk along Delridge. Finally, it doesn’t serve the Delridge community to treat this street like an uncrossable trench that irreparably divides the neighborhood.  The bridge is kinda cool in its own way but is it worth $4M to maintain?

  • Joe Z December 7, 2022 (1:46 pm)

    Did they count how many people per day are using the bridge? 

  • Rhonda December 7, 2022 (4:59 pm)


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