West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Six months ago, the West Seattle Bridge was closed with just a few hours’ notice.
When, or if, it will reopen, remains undetermined.
But one thing’s for sure – the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force is getting close to one of its milestones in the process of helping with the decision about the bridge’s fate.
“Process” is the key word here, as noted by more than one person Wednesday afternoon during the all-volunteer task force’s ninth meeting. Much of the meeting focused on the process of developing the Cost-Benefit Analysis that is expected to be the key to the repair-or-replace decision later this fall.
Here’s how the meeting went:
One week ago, we noted that the community coalition West Seattle Bridge NOW had yet to hear back from the mayor after sending her a letter imploring a fast fix for the six-months-closed bridge. That spurred the coalition to work on what you might call a “video petition” (still in progress). But in the meantime, WSBN’s Kevin Broveleit tells WSB they did finally get a mayoral response – it’s posted in full on the coalition website. No major revelations or promises, but here’s an excerpt:
Like me, I know others want to see a solution right now. Restoring safe travel for years to come to and from West Seattle is my north star. I cannot stress enough that we have not passed up a single opportunity to expedite these efforts and that I will continue to be steadfastly focused on efficiency throughout.
Since the closure of the High-Rise Bridge, we’ve worked to simultaneously advance all efforts needed to expeditiously pursue both a repair or replace scenario in addition to traffic and environmental mitigation efforts. By advancing all pathways at once, not a moment has been lost while the careful and thorough assessment is done to understand which avenue – repair or replace – provides the best, safest outcome for the region over the long term.In October, I am expecting a full engineering and comprehensive cost-benefit analysis that Task Force – which includes the Coalition – have played a part in shaping.
“It’s a good start,” says Broveleit, adding that the coalition is working on a formal response, as well as the aforementioned video (to which you can still contribute).
Meantime, the task force mentioned in the mayor’s letter, the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, meets online at noon tomorrow; the agenda and viewing link are at the end of this WSB story.
Since the bridge closure six months ago raised the volume of traffic through the West Marginal/Highland Park Way intersection, people have been asking about getting a traffic camera there, to see backups and incidents. When six new traffic cameras were announced elsewhere in May, we asked about it, and SDOT said no additional new cameras were planned. Then last week, while talking with SDOT’s Heather Marx about the overall West Marginal plan (WSB coverage here), we asked again, and she said it was a possibility, so they would look into it. Today, we just got word that a temporary camera is now in place at the intersection and SDOT is working to make it accessible via its traffic-info map. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson has one caveat: “Because there is no fiber-optic connection to this intersection, the camera will need to use cellular data to send images. This means that the public will see still images updated every minute, and not a constant video stream. This will be an interim solution as we investigate what it would take to install a permanent camera at this location.” The camera should appear on the map “by next week,” he adds. The image above is a framegrab taken during testing.
P.S. The West Marginal plan will be a topic during this week’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting, noon Wednesday (September 23rd) – here’s the agenda. SDOT tells us that from now on, the meetings will be livestreamed on YouTube – here’s the link.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Since the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden closure almost half a year ago, West Marginal Way SW has become one of the most-traveled, and most-griped-about, streets in West Seattle: SDOT‘s latest stats show its volume has tripled, from 9,000+ vehicles a day to 27,000+. It’s the major route to the main alternate bridge, the state-operated 1st Avenue South Bridge, and beset with backups.
While the entirety of West Marginal was not part of the Reconnect West Seattle traffic-mitigation plan, it made an appearance in parts of that newly released plan, and SDOT has been promising a standalone package of West Marginal changes; we’ve been asking about it for weeks.
Today, it’s going public. We got a first look at the 6-point plan in an online meeting with SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge project leader Heather Marx and communications director Michael Harold.
Last nonth, we reported on the community coalition West Seattle Bridge NOW sending Mayor Durkan a letter imploring her to proceed with bridge repairs ASAP. No response yet, says the group, so it’s now inviting you to be part of what you might call a video petition:
About three weeks ago, we sent a petition with more than 3,600 signatures on it asking the Mayor for immediate action to repair our Bridge. To date we haven’t heard back, so we wanted to follow up with her, but this time in a personal way.
The West Seattle Bridge NOW citizens coalition has a new ask. Our goal is to highlight everyday West Seattleites in a short video telling their story, in their own words, as to how the closure of the West Seattle Bridge as affected them. We need your smart phone selfie testimonials to make this happen!
To participate, please visit: wsbnpetition.com/share-your-story
Your story will be hosted on the WSBN website and shown to the mayor as part of the group’s commitment to driving urgent action on behalf of our community.
SDOT said again at last week’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting that it’s expecting to decide in October between “repair now/replace later” and “replace now.” Meantime, stabilization work continues (here’s an update SDOT published Monday).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As noted here last week, the citywide bridge audit – ordered by City Council Transportation Chair Alex Pedersen after the sudden West Seattle Bridge closure – will be presented to councilmembers this week. In advance of that, the audit document is out today, along with SDOT’s response. We’ve just read it. First, so you can read it too, here it is:
(You can also see it on the city website.)
The audit, by the City Auditor’s Office, counts West Seattle’s city bridges as 20 separate structures (see page 31), 8 rated “good” as of last year, the other 12 (including all sections of the high bridge) rated “fair,” the middle of three categories in the federal rating system. “Fair” is how a majority of the city’s bridges are rated:
But the audit does not dive into specific conditions of specific bridges – it is an overview of the program in general, as explained:
We analyzed 77 vehicle traffic bridges that are owned and maintained by SDOT. These bridges have a median age of 70 years.
According to 2019 Federal Highway Administration pavement and bridge condition performance measures, although Seattle has a high number of poor and fair bridges (based on the federal rating system of good, fair, and poor), this is comparable with peer cities around the country. Nevertheless, even bridges in fair condition, like the West Seattle High Bridge, can require major, unexpected closures.
Over the last decade, a larger percentage of Seattle’s bridges have gotten worse compared to those that have gotten better. Over the past 14 years, the average amount SDOT spent on bridge maintenance was $6.6 million annually. 3 However, according to knowledgeable SDOT officials, the City is not spending enough to keep its bridges in good condition and avoid costly future repairs.
… The number of Seattle’s bridges that are in poor or fair condition is concerning for two reasons. First, several of the largest and busiest bridges that connect communities across Seattle are not in good condition, which means they are at an elevated risk of unexpected closures that could affect thousands of people. For example: the University Bridge on average carries 36,000 vehicles daily and is rated poor; the Magnolia Bridge on average carries\ 20,000 vehicles daily and is rated poor; and before it was closed this year, the West Seattle High Bridge on average carried 108,179 vehicles daily and was in fair condition.
Most of SDOT’s bridges are in fair condition but, over time, the condition of the overall bridge portfolio has gotten worse. During this time, the percent of total bridges in good condition has declined from 38 percent to 29 percent (see Exhibit 5). According to federal guidance, SDOT should be working to preserve good bridges in good condition to maintain the structural reliability of bridges and avoid future costly repairs. SDOT is not meeting this goal and only 22 out of its 77 bridges are in good condition.
The audit also notes that while SDOT should have a higher budget for bridge maintenance, it hasn’t spent what it has:
Since 2006, SDOT has spent 93 percent of its budget for bridge maintenance. From 2006 to 2019, Seattle budgeted $98.5 million for bridge maintenance and spent $91.9 million (see Exhibit 7, dollar amounts have been adjusted for inflation). As Exhibit 7 shows, the budget did not always align with actual expenditures on a year-by-year basis. Some of this is to be expected. For example, in 2008 SDOT underspent their bridge maintenance budget because they were saving funds for a large bridge painting project. This large painting project, the University Bridge, was completed in 2009. This use of funds that carryover from one year to the next occurs when the funding for these projects comes from the City’s Capital Improvement Program budget. SDOT officials told us the reason for the underspend between 2016 and 2018 was primarily because they did not have enough staff to perform planned maintenance activities.
SDOT estimates annual maintenance expenditures should be equivalent to one to three percent of the total replacement cost for the fixed assets being maintained, or, for bridges over 60 years old, a minimum of $34 million per year.
In a response letter that’s also included with the audit document, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe blames the underspending on “that maintenance program delivery fluctuates based on work accrual and staff capacity.”
The audit also contains a critique of “some legacy practices and information gaps [that] hinder its ability to properly keep the bridge portfolio in a state of good repair,” with a declaration that “SDOT lacks critical information for developing a strategic bridge preservation program, including an assessment of the level and mix of staffing resources needed to maintain their bridges.”
One example reveals that SDOT bridge-maintenance staff doesn’t spend all its time on bridge maintenance:
One such practice is using bridge maintenance workers to perform reimbursable work, unrelated to SDOT bridges, for other agencies. SDOT estimates that 20 percent of their bridge maintenance staff capacity is dedicated to performing reimbursable work for other divisions within SDOT, other City departments, or other local governments. This means that two out of every ten hours of SDOT’s bridge inspection and maintenance crew work are not being used on the upkeep of Seattle’s bridges, but to help supplement the department’s budget. SDOT told us they lack the money to fully fund their bridge maintenance staff without the revenue from\ reimbursable work, which means they would need
to make reductions to stay within budget.
Plus, the audit says, “SDOT does not have information on what staffing levels are needed to support essential bridge maintenance, making it difficult to plan for and complete this work.”
The audit also observes that “SDOT does not currently calculate the useful life of its bridges in a precise way, which hinders its ability to efficiently respond to bridge maintenance needs.”
In SDOT’s reply, director Zimbabwe contends that “the issues that led to the closure of (the West Seattle Bridge) do not appear to be the result of any deficiency in our bridge maintenance program.”
Overall, the SDOT response also says it’ll take three years – until the end of 2023 – to make changes/additions responding to all the audit’s 10 recommendations, 9 of which the department says it fully agrees with.
The presentation of the audit is scheduled for Wednesday morning’s meeting of the council’s Transportation and Utilities Committee, 9:30 am; the agenda includes information on watching the meeting and signing up to comment. Meantime, here’s Councilmember Pedersen’s news release responding to the audit, and here’s the SDOT Blog post with how the department summarizes the audit and its own responses.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The “repair now, replace later” vs. “replace now” decision for the West Seattle Bridge is now as little as a month away.
Today’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting explored how the in-progress Cost-Benefit Analysis will “shape” that decision.
But the CTF briefings/discussion also spent significant time on the advisory group’s other focus – how people are supposed to get to and from the peninsula until that connection is restored. And when the “Reconnect West Seattle” plan hit the spotlight, one previously undiscussed element did too. Here’s our video of (all but the last few minutes of) the meeting:
Tomorrow, the West Seattle Bridge closure will factor into a discussion at the City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee: The issue: Should the city’s Comprehensive Plan be amended to consider the potential effects of a long-term closure? The plan can only be amended once a year, and tomorrow’s committee meeting takes up potential amendments that can’t advance without councilmembers voting to “docket” them. Amendments can be proposed by anyone inside or outside city government; the amendment that would take the bridge closure’s potential effects into consideration is proposed by Deb Barker, a community advocate whose current roles include membership on the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force. Almost since the start of the closure, she has advocated for the city to look at its effects beyond the basic matter of bridgelessness, and ways to mitigate them. The council staff report says that staffers recommend docketing it, though the Seattle Planning Commission and Office of Planning and Community Development do not. From the staff report:
Amendment with mixed recommendations
Amendment 2 would amend the Transportation Element and FLUM to address the effects of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge emergency closure. The proposal lists a wide range of changes related to the closure. Many of these proposals are regulatory in nature and would not affect the Comprehensive Plan. However, Central Staff recommend moving Amendment 2 forward because the Comprehensive Plan may need policy modifications to address the major, unexpected and potentially long-term impact to mobility in Seattle caused by the bridge closure. Considering whether changes to the Comprehensive Plan are merited due to this significant impact to the City’s infrastructure is prudent.
SPC and OPCD disagree. They conclude that the proposal would be better addressed through the budgetary and programmatic processes currently being coordinated by the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Tomorrow’s meeting also includes a public hearing and vote on two West Seattle amendments – a proposal to change the West Seattle Hub Urban Village boundaries to include Providence Mount St. Vincent, and additions to the Delridge Neighborhood Plan. The committee meets at 9:30 am tomorrow (Wednesday); the agenda explains how to watch and how to comment.
Bridge updates as we start the holiday-shortened workweek:
CITY COUNCIL VOTES ON FUNDING: The plan for $70 million in “interfund” loans to finance the first stage of West Seattle Bridge work gets a final vote when councilmembers reconvene today after the two-week end-of-summer recess. This won unanimous Transportation Committee approval before the recess. More info is in the 2 pm meeting agenda.
BRIDGE STABILIZATION UPDATE: In case you haven’t seen this already, SDOT has published its second end-of-week update on the stabilization work, including this:
(This) week, the contractor is planning to:
-Complete the first phase of filling cracks with epoxy.
-Begin the second phase of crack injection towards the middle of the bridge.
-Continue to inspect cracks.
-Place carbon fiber wrap around recently filled cracks.
-Continue installing the post tensioning system.
During this work, you’ll see:
-Some crews working on top of and under the bridge.
-Scaffolding and crews working on platforms suspended under the bridge.
There’s additional work taking place inside the bridge – including monitoring cracks and preparing for the installation of additional post-tensioning strands – that you will not be able to see.
COMMUNITY TASK FORCE MEETS: 3 weeks after its last meeting, the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets online Wednesday at noon. We hope to get the agenda and connection information from SDOT later today, but in the meantime, one known agenda item: The Reconnect West Seattle implementation plan. We’ve previewed the draft, and among other things, SDOT has slight revisions in the.mode-shift commuting goals – increasing the percentage of commutes it hopes will be made by bicycle next year to 10 percent, for one example (last year’s baseline was 1 percent):
In the 2019 Baseline, about 60 bicycles crossed the Duwamish per AM peak hour. The Lower Spokane Bridge can accommodate 400 – 1,000 bicycles per hour. To accommodate 1,000 bicycles per AM peak hour, SDOT will need to make substantive capital improvements across West Seattle.
The Reconnect WS plan has separate bicycle and freight sub-plans as well as four project lists for the areas most affected by bridge-detour traffic.
12:30 PM UPDATE: Here’s the link for watching tomorrow’s meeting, or use access code: 146 544 1172 after calling 408-418-9388.
AUDIT OF OTHER BRIDGES: Right after the sudden bridge shutdown took so many by surprise 5 1/2 months ago, Councilmember Alex Pedersen – who chairs the Transportation Committee – called for an audit of the city’s other bridges, to be sure no other surprises are lurking. He announced in this online update that the audit will be presented to his committee next week, on September 16th.
In The Junction today, volunteers are working – at a safe distance – to package the new contest-winning West Seattle Bridge T-shirts for mailing to everybody who ordered one! The orders followed the announcement four weeks ago of the three designs that won the community vote, “Accidental Island,” “Mind the Gap,” and “So Close Yet So Far.”
Above, Junction Association executive director Lora Radford is among those helping. So if you ordered one, watch the mail! And if you didn’t …
… no need to worry about a “gap” in being stylish – as originally announced, some Junction stores will be selling them, too, starting tomorrow. See the list on this page – or go there to order one (deadline September 21st for an October mailing).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s August meeting featured four segments and four sets of guests, it was all about one topic: The five-months-closed West Seattle Bridge.
About 50 people attended Thursday night’s online meeting, including guest speakers and WSTC board members. Coalition chair Michael Taylor-Judd facilitated with assistance from board member Kate Wells. Here’s the group’s recording of the meeting:
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: The last guest was the headliner.
You’ve heard that stabilization work is under way on the five-months-closed West Seattle Bridge. So what EXACTLY is being done? SDOT just launched a new weekly email update. From the first one:
Kraemer North America, our contractor for the stabilization work, is on the bridge every Monday through Saturday from 6 AM to 4:30 PM to stabilize the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. The stabilization work, which includes wrapping weakened areas of the bridge in carbon fiber, adding post-tensioning inside the girders, and epoxy-injecting cracks wider than 0.3mm, is expected to continue at a safe but expedited pace over the course of the next several months.
Next week, the contractor is planning to:
Continue to inspect cracks
Fill cracks with epoxy
Place carbon fiber wrap around recently filled cracks
Begin to install the post tensioning system
During this work, you will see some crews working on top and underneath the bridge. You will also see scaffolding and crews working on platforms suspended under the bridge. There is additional work taking place inside the bridge – including monitoring cracks and preparing for the installation of the additional post-tensioning strands – that you will not be able to see. We do not anticipate any additional traffic impacts from the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge construction work over the next couple weeks.
More bridge-related info is coming up this evening in our report on last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting. Meantime, if you want to be on SDOT’s bridge-related mailing list, the subscription link is on this page.
How might federal funding factor into the West Seattle Bridge situation? At 6:30 pm Thursday, you can hear directly from the West Seattle resident who represents our area in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here’s the announcement from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition:
We are very pleased to welcome U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal as our special guest this month. Congresswoman Jayapal will be joining us to talk about how the Federal government could possibly help with West Seattle Bridge repair or replacement and other transportation infrastructure needs. Please join us for what should be a very informative meeting!
Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
Zoom Meeting ID 885 7359 6107
On the web
Via phone: 253-215-8782
You can watch archived video of recent WSTC meetings on YouTube.
That’s the top 10 list of community-prioritized traffic-easing projects for Highland Park, Riverview, South Delridge, and Roxhill, emerging from the Reconnect West Seattle survey process. As mentioned at last week’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting (WSB coverage here), you have one last chance to speak up if you have a comment or concern about the list, and tomorrow is the deadline for that. SDOT says two of the “priority” projects are already done – #3 and #4, left-turn pockets and signal changes at 16th/Holden – and another is in progress – #9, signal changes at Delridge/Orchard. The others are set to “advance to project development,” except for #2, road repairs, planned for “implementation” by year’s end. (For reference, here’s the original list that went out for prioritization.) If you have feedback on those – or the South Park, Georgetown, SODO, freight, bicycle project lists linked here – WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov or 206-400-7511, by day’s end tomorrow (Wednesday, August 26th).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight marks exactly five months since the city closed the West Seattle Bridge out of safety concerns, with just a few hours’ public notice.
Stabilization work is now under way. But SDOT says it won’t decide until October whether to pursue a course focused on repair now/replace later or replace ASAP.
The advocacy coalition West Seattle Bridge NOW thinks SDOT should just get on with fixing the bridge, since the agency has already said all indications are that it would be possible, and that the decision mostly hinges on whether repairs are feasible. And the group has sent Mayor Jenny Durkan a letter.
If you’re interested in a closer look at the early-stage potential scenarios for West Seattle Bridge replacement, including an “immersed tube” tunnel, you’re invited to an online discussion/presentation Friday morning. The six scenarios are what the Cost-Benefit Analysis will examine, and sketches were featured in a presentation to the Community Task Force a month ago. The Washington Business Alliance is presenting tomorrow’s event, with speakers including the tunnel’s proponent Bob Ortblad. It’s at 10 am Friday (August 21) and you will have to register to get the link – you can do that by going here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Even once there’s a repair-or-immediately-replace decision for the West Seattle Bridge, that won’t necessarily be the absolute final word.
That bit of information emerged in breakout-group discussion during today’s seventh meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, which dealt with a variety of topics, and began with a mayoral guest appearance. Our video below shows the first 1 1/2 hours of the 2 1/2-hour meeting:
Task Force co-chair Paulina López opened the meeting, previewing the agenda. Co-chair Greg Nickels introduced the current holder of his former job, Mayor Jenny Durkan. “The job of mayor in the best times is a hard job … (this) mayor has had an incredible amount of hard stuff on her plate this year,” from COVID-19 to racial-injustice protests to the topic at hand, the emergency closure of the West Seattle Bridge almost five months ago.
(Added 4:46 pm: Archived meeting video)
The City Council Transportation Committee has just given unanimous approval to a funding source – intracity borrowing paid off by a bond sale – for the initial major costs of the West Seattle Bridge project. That followed an extensive briefing on what has transpired in the past almost-five months. First, here are some toplines of how that funding will work:
This money will cover program costs through the first quarter of next year – what will be needed beyond that, too soon to tell, but the just-announced design contractor should be able to come up with an estimate not long after the October repair-or-immediately-replace decision, SDOT says, while also stressing that partner funding is expected – federal, state, etc.
A final vote on the initial funding plan approved this morning (added: here’s the legislation) is set for the next full Council meeting on September 8th. This mornings discussion and vote followed a major briefing on various bridge-related matters, first official briefing for the council since shortly after the sudden shutdown of the bridge on March 23rd. First, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe recapped what’s happened in the almost five months since safety concerns shut down the bridge, including the determination that repair is possible, while they have not yet determined whether it’s feasible.
SDOT’s WS Bridge program director Heather Marx also spoke, breaking down current work into three categories: On The Bridge, On The Ground, In The Community. The first list included yesterday’s announcement of HNTB as the contractor to design an eventual replacement (whether that needs to happen ASAP or a decade-plus down the road). She also updated the stabilization work (which Marx said will continue into “early winter”):
And the low bridge’s need for “strengthening” (“probably a 2-year project,” per Marx:
She also said in response to a question from Councilmember Lisa Herbold that no major low-bridge closures were likely because of that work.
Meantime, there was a preview of how low-bridge camera enforcement will work:
Meantime, “On The Ground” focused mostly on what detour-route improvements have been made so far:
And more are ahead, Marx noted in the Reconnect West Seattle overview – we expect to hear a lot more about that when the WS Bridge Community Task Force meets at noon today. Meantime, here are the In The Community toplines:
The committee meeting is continuing with non-bridge topics; when the meeting video is available later today, we will add it to this report.
On the eve of the next West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting, an announcement from SDOT – they’ve chosen
Seattle Department of Transportation has reached a major milestone in our work to restore mobility to West Seattle, the Duwamish Valley, and other communities impacted by the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. Following a competitive Request for Qualifications process, we have selected the infrastructure solutions firm HNTB Corporation to design the West Seattle Bridge replacement.
This does NOT mean the “repair now and replace later, or replace now?” decision has been made – SDOT reiterates this step has to be taken now regardless of what that decision turns out to be. HNTB’s many projects, SDOT notes, include the Highway 99 tunnel, South Park Bridge, and Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The SDOT announcement adds:
By bringing on a firm to design a replacement of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge now, we are ensuring that all of the pieces are in place to quickly pivot if it becomes clear that repairing the bridge is not advisable, and that we will not lose valuable time hiring a design team to begin the rebuilding process. It also prepares us for the inevitable need to replace this critical route, even if the original bridge can be repaired and reopened for some amount of time.
Read the full announcement here.
At noon tomorrow (Wednesday, August 19th), the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets for the seventh time. We’ve just obtained the agenda and viewing instructions. The agenda starts with a notable guest, Mayor Jenny Durkan. Also included is a breakout-discussion period (1:30-2 pm), which means three different sets of viewing/listening instructions:
Full-group meeting – go here or call:
Access code: 146 436 2216
Breakout Session A – go here or call:
Access Code: 146 322 3340
Breakout Session B – go here or call:
Access Code: 146 263 9282
After tomorrow, it’ll be three weeks until the advisory group’s next meeting on September 9th.
Two datapoints about the low bridge are part of City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly newsletter. First, its traffic volume, graphed over six months, early February to early August:
Second, an update on low-bridge maritime-traffic openings:
According to SDOT, the lower bridge has opened 858 times through the end of July: 757 times for marine traffic, and 101 times for maintenance, testing or aborted openings. The most common operator is Broughton and Beckwith; openings last an average of 12 minutes; 357 openings occurred during peak travel hours.
I asked SDOT about openings in 2019. For the entire year, there were 1390 openings for marine traffic, 502 during peak travel hours, and 371 times for maintenance, testing or aborted openings.
The Coast Guard currently uses a “standard of care” that asks mariners to voluntarily limit their requests for openings during peak travel hours. 502 openings during peak travel hours for the entire year of 2019, as compared to 357 openings during peak travel hours through July of this year, has led me to make additional inquiries of SDOT of whether or not the Coast Guard is using the “standard of care” as intended.
As we’ve reported here over the years, the city has repeatedly tried and failed to get low-bridge openings curtailed or even canceled during peak times. Meantime, the West Seattle Bridge update in Herbold’s newsletter also includes traffic data for other routes as well as noting two meetings next Wednesday – the Community Task Force (noon) and the council’s Transportation Committee, talking about bridge funding (no published agenda yet).
We’ve been reporting on the West Seattle Bridge T-shirt design contest, presented by the West Seattle Junction Association, which says almost 7,000 people voted, and has just announced the winners, from among 63 entries!
Greetings from Accidental Island
MIKE SHAUGHNESSY / BRADI JONES
Mind the Gap
So Close Yet So Far
Congratulations to all! You can pre-order yours – and/or see the list of Junction merchants where you’ll be able to buy them starting in about a month – by going here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city-convened advisory West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met this afternoon for the sixth time, but no big headline emerged.
Here’s video from the first section of the meeting, before members split into two groups for discussion:
LOW-BRIDGE ACCESS UPDATE: SDOT’s Heather Marx said that in addition to who’s allowed to use the low bridge now, they’re recommending adding 2 more “essential vanpool” permits (bringing the current total to 10) – “serving hospitals, primarily” – and 13 permits for two local business associations (West Seattle Junction Association and WS Chamber of Commerce) to distribute to members – a Task Force suggestion at a previous meeting.