News Feb 27, 2019 at 4:00 am

Magnolia's residents want a bridge they don't actually need, and it's going to cost the rest of us $400 million.

Stevie Shao



Oh, come on, these folks have that much change in their couch cushions.

They can all chip in and maybe get a few of those flat railcars and tie 'em up like they do with the ladders on the way up Everest. It may not be Totally "safe," but it should get ya to the other side.

Nine times out of ten.


The Stranger’s severe and chronic inability to admit that it and then-Mayor McGinn were totally wrong about the SR-99 tunnel adds nothing to our civic debate. The supposed parallels between the Magnolia Bridge and the SR-99 VIADUCT (note: not bridge) are all foolish. SR-99 has the large economic purpose of providing an overland connection for heavy commercial traffic between the Ballard and Harbor Island waterfronts; as pointed out repeatedly in this very article, the Magnolia Bridge has no such value.


I would point out that I have a number of friends who live in Magnolia at well below standard rents in Seattle. I realize it is a generally wealthy area, but there are a lot of working class folks still scattered in there, and folks who work in the service industry there- they still need to be able to get to/from work, etc.


This is envy economics at its worst. Taking away the bridge will hurt a lot of people. From business owners, property owners and those who've worked long and hard to gain a foothold here, in a neighborhood that has long been known to be a place where property values are predictable, to seniors in public housing and a growing number of renters who rely on a quick bus ride downtown. This bridge should have been planned. When the bridge was seriously damaged in 1997 due to landslides a fund should have been established for replacement. Responsible stewardship of our infrastructure demands this sort of planning. But these mentality is nowhere in sight. Despite the city and state budgets more than doubling on our, the taxpayers, backs over the past 20 years they are now crying out for more or threatening to increase our commute time by hours each day and threaten the very lives of those that might need emergency medical help. Getting in and out of Magnolia without the bridge is a nightmare I lived through while delivering pizza for Godfather's in the mid 90's out of the village to Queen Anne. I am one of many long-term Magnolia families that are struggling to pay rapidly-increasing property taxes and retain my relatively modest family home. Where is all this property tax going? Not to mention the highest gas tax in the nation, car tab fees, tolls, etc that should easily fund the replacement of this bridge that has been one of three ways off this "island" since 1937.


Just because some homes on the Blvd have marvelous views and, if sold. would bring in a bundle, doesn't mean all in Magnolia are brimming with $$$. Magnolia has plenty of apartments, 2 low-income housing complexes, and a good number of small 1940s homes. Please do not tar the majority of residents with an undeserved rich tag. We may wish it were so, but sadly most of us are just regular folks.


I just don't take Lester seriously unless he's writing about pot. Lester, go move somewhere else because seriously, all we hear from you and all the other Stranger 'journalists' is complain about people who have more money than you - and not even rich people, just average workers, like those that live in Magnolia.


In exchange for rebuilding the bridge, residents should agree to an upzone (addiitonal residential density) with the required affordable housing through HALA. This would help justify the expense. Magnolia has been exclusionary (meaning they don't want yucky poor people in yucky apartments living near them) forever, this is a little window in time for some give-and-take!


The big bridge needs to go. The city needs to build the lower cost option from Thorndyke to the new "whole foods" neighborhood. Thorndyke is wide, a high capacity road that can funnel the traffic in and out efficiently. There is already a well established intersection and traffic signal at the junction with 15th ave w.and armory way.


What drivel. The vast majority of those in the neighborhood are not wealthy, but hard working professionals, just like any neighborhood around Seattle. This is from the same publication that wants to stick it to the rich by stealing Fort Lawton from the public to temporarily create a tiny amount of affordable housing (for people who presumably shouldn't have a reasonable way of getting in/out of the neighborhood because).


First, 17000 vehicles per day on the bridge in question. Without any replacement all of those cars get diverted to the other two entrances. Both of which are single lanes each way and back up already. Rich or not this is not acceptable.
Second, true there are many rich people who live in magnolia. But you sound like an ass characterizing the whole community this way. Do some better research. Traffic jams and less bus access would make life harder for a more mixed income making it harder for magnolia to maintain any diversity of economy. And guess what, higher property values means higher City taxes, paying our share. I'm sure the rich-y riches in Magnolia pay for plenty of projects they never use too.
Third, we have had a tent community near the qfc and have another at the base of said bridge. I fully support the city's plan to add senior homeless housing in the North at fort Lawton. Give us more bus routes, give us a chance to be mixed income place. Don't seal us off.


I too take exception to the idea that Magnolia is an island of rich people. It's a peninsula of rich people, dammit!


I live in Magnolia and completely agree we don't need an expensive replacement bridge. @13, what you failed to note is that there is a proposal (which @10 noted) of building a smaller bridge on Armory way which would serve as that third entrance/exit, while also expanding the capacity of the Dravus bridge. As we also saw during the snowstorm, the Magnolia bridge does a piss poor job of acting as an entrance/exit in extreme weather. Let's spend less money and get an entrance that does a better job (and is not a goddamn eyesore). Also, any reasonable person can have a conversation about this without resorting to class warfare. It just requires a little more work.


Unbelievable that commenters are trying to claim that Magnolia is not a wealthy neighborhood and that this bridge is so desperately needed. Sure, not everyone in Magnolia is wealthy, but by any standard (income, wealthy, property values), it's one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in a wealthy city. And, sure, I don't doubt that this bridge coming down would be inconvenient for both rich and not so rich resident. But, traffic volumes are low and the number of residents are also relatively low (Magnolia's population has remained flat during Seattle's recent record breaking growth). There's simply no justification for the city to pay for a replacement - especially given the other urgent needs the city has. I say this as a Magnolia resident who will be impacted by the bridge coming down.

So, what would justify building this bridge (as a Magnolia resident, I'd like to see it built)? I'd suggest that some major upzones would be needed in Magnolia to increase demand (along with increased transit service to accommodate the increased population). Coupled with a toll for cars on the bridge, perhaps this might make it worth it.


Not sure why someone who writes about beer and weed decided to jump all over this issue? First off Magnolia is a peninsula, not an island. So 20,000 residents in Magnolia but you say the least used is the Magnolia bridge at 17,000 cars a day. What math am I missing here? Clearly, you have never seen the mess when the Magnolia bridge has been shut down or Emerson street and what it does to Dravus St. It becomes a hazard for safety sometimes gridlocked through to the Ballard Bridge. And no not all Magnolians are wealthy and many have built businesses in and around Magnolia just like any other area around Seattle.


You may want to do some research before you write an apology to all the working class people that live in Magnolia (majority here are middle class).

After some fact checking you may find that this bridge is sitting on prime undeveloped port property. The port owns the land under and around the existing bridge and the delay and avoidance to replace it may have more to do with the potential for a high rise development overlooking the bay once the bridge is out of the way. I would assume the city/port would rather reroute traffic and/or avoid the bridge replacement.
The bridge is a huge asset for the people who live here for safety and access - it is the quickest access for emergency responders to the public schools, churches, senior housing and small businesses in the village. As for funding - it was probably there until the replacement of the South Park Bridge.


eye roll

Fuck this city...


Ditto to the people pointing out that there are plenty of low-income and working class households in Magnolia also... And in fairness to these "rich people":

1) The Bridge already exists. They're not asking for some fancy new way to get places.
2) SDOT has known the bridge needs to be replaced for at least 15-20 years now.
3) It's not residents' fault that SDOT promised them 10 years ago that it would be replaced, and chose a design, and then decided to pull funding.


Question: Guess which neighborhood in the city is the ONLY one that has no all-weather playing surface for its kids? Ballard? Queen Anne? Capitol Hill? Madison Park? Woodland? View Ridge? Laurelhurst? Ravenna? Beacon Hill? Lake City? Madison Park? Mount Baker?

Nope. The sole neighborhood that has not received allocation of funds for an all-weather playing surface for its kids from the City of Seattle is ... Magnolia. Think about that.

Now let's look at the economic contribution via property taxes. The average seattle household pays about $9.90 per $1,000 assessed. Magnolia has about 5,497 family households ... let's ignore the other 5,000 for now. Those average $700K in value. An annual property tax pay of $38M. Let's assume a replacement bridge was built for $420M which I agree is outrageous but its Seattle after all. If it lasted 90 years, during that time the residents of Magnolia will have paid $3.4 billion in property taxes. The bridge price would have consumed 12%. So one could ask if that community agreed to allocate $0.12 of every paid dollar for the bridge, seems like a fair amount.

Magnolia has rich people, middle class people and others. But it contributes a hell of alot of money to government coffers and does NOT get corresponding benefit. The playfield is just one example where the community pays out to help make the greater Seattle area better for all and are fine with it. The spend on those without housing is another example.

My guess if it was put to a vote of Magnolia residents, they would vote for earmarking 12% of their property taxes to pay for the bridge.


B-b-b-but I thought The Stranger LOVES transit. The Magnolia Bridge is used by two major Metro routes (24 and 33), and one weekday commuter route (19) which serve hundreds of people every day. Including lots of people who don't own that $900,000 home, they're just renting and trying to get to and from that day job. Ask me how I know.

The 24 and 33 are in the top 25% of Metro routes for passenger rides per service hour, and would you believe it they also are targeted for service improvements to reduce delays and overcrowding. Imagine all those buses stuck in traffic going out of their way to get to one of the two remaining bridges during rush hour. Which would slow down the other routes that serve Interbay and Ballard. Yeah, super great idea.

Lester, stop posting while you're totally baked, and start digging into KCM's trove of data before posting again about urban mobility.


latest count is 3 Fuck Those Rich Bastard comments and only 392 Lighten Up Lester comments.
Stranger trolling is tired.


Even by The Stranger's customary standards, this piece is bad: full of unfair stereotypes, questionable "research," and a general lack of familiarity with the subject at hand. And the graphic is ludicrous, especially considering how much of east Magnolia is full of apartments, small-ish houses, and quite un-glamorous businesses abutting and overlooking Interbay and a train yard, not Perkins Lane or Magnolia Boulevard. Many people living in this large part of Magnolia are lower-middle class, work in other parts of town, and are not sealed off on an "island." Yes, the western half of Magnolia, in particular, is home to many upper-middle and wealthy people. Start by at least making this distinction, though, not generalizing about Magnolia being an island of rich people. To be sure, Lester, you are right about the bridge: it is dangerous, and the city has known for decades some kind of alternative is needed. Now, is it okay if we gradually work towards finding the best solution? Is it okay with The Stranger if no one is perfect, if not everyone in this city is as "progressive" as its staff? Does living in one of Magnolia's wealthier neighborhoods automatically signal to you moral turpitude and snobby insensitivity? Many Magnolians are very generous, civic-minded people. They might not agree with you about alternatives to the decrepit bridge. How about listening more carefully to what they have to say instead of spewing the usual cheap-shot stereotypes about the rich?


Let's add some perspective to the bLack's numbers. His claim that "...(sic) only about 17,000 vehicles per (week) day travel over the bridge, according to SDOT data collected in 2017..." appears to be accurate, although I would guess that the bridge volume actually increases during the weekend (
However, the highest weekday traffic flow rate (100,642) is logged on the (#1) West Seattle Bridge; or that the (#6) Ballard Bridge (59,123) and the (#9) Fremont Bridge (41,716) combined equal about the same volume; or that the (#4) Aurora Bridge sees about 62,000 cars per day. With this data in hand, we can compare the flow via the Magnolia/Galer bridge as a percentage of the highest traffic routes. Compared to West Seattle, Magnolia's traffic is just under 17% of this most trafficked road. That same bridge to Magnolia carries 27.4% of the Aurora Bridge, 28.8% of the Ballard Bridge, and about 41% of the Fremont Bridge volumes.
Dig a little deeper and stop trying to make it about class.


Let's add some perspective to the bLack's numbers. His claim that "...(sic) only about 17,000 vehicles per (week) day travel over the bridge, according to SDOT data collected in 2017..." appears to be accurate, although I would guess that the bridge volume actually increases during the weekend (
However, the highest weekday traffic flow rate (100,642) is logged on the (#1) West Seattle Bridge; and the (#6) Ballard Bridge (59,123) and (#9) Fremont Bridge (41,716) combined equal about the same volume; and (#4) Aurora Bridge sees about 62,000 cars per day. With this data in hand, we can compare the flow via the Magnolia/Galer bridge as a percentage of the highest traffic routes. Compared to West Seattle, Magnolia's traffic is just under 17% of this most trafficked road. That same bridge to Magnolia carries 27.4% of the Aurora Bridge, 28.8% of the Ballard Bridge, and about 41% of the Fremont Bridge volumes.
Dig a little deeper and stop trying to make it about class.


I feel very sorry for the isolated wealthy people who are losing their personal private bridge. I also feel very sorry for pedestrians trying to reach the bus stop at LCW & NE 95th Street in NE Seattle because there is no marked cross-walk, no sidewalk and no disabled access at this major intersection heavily used by the surrounding neighborhood of working class drones. Life is tough all over, ain't it. I need to go have a cry now.


Working class Magnolian here,

It'll only take one summer of no Magnolia bridge and cruise ship season before every one who commutes to work on 15th realizes that it was a good idea to have a bridge there. Also oncethe Expedia building will open on Elliott and I'd figure a good amount of those new transplants are gonna live close in Interbay. I promise, you'll really want the Magnolia bridge there as Elliot and Interbay start to develop.

We need to replace bridges everywhere in this country. It's an expensive thing to do.

Guy who has been commuting on packed busses in and out of Magnolia for 20 years.


“Magnolia's residents want a bridge they don't actually need, and it's going to cost the rest of us $400 million.” You sounds like those Eastern Washington legislators talking about Seattle...think about it.


It's pretty sophomoric to just modify nouns with "rich" and "wealthy" and expect to be taken seriously.


Lol, you grew up in Mukilteo, Lester. You're just as much a spoiled brat as the people who live in Magnolia. JFC.


Not to mention the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is located over there. I realize that a pot obsessed hipster from an upper middle class family that grew up outside the city might not realize this but there are people who rely on this historic site to gather knowledge of their heritage and seek to better their community.


Indie-kid communists who declare war on the rich because they have to wait for their parents to die to own property.

My favorite fucking people.


How about a tunnel.


How about a Gondola.


A Monorail.


The closer corollary would be the South Park bridge. Which The Stranger shit it's self over back in 2010.

Thoughtful reporting would have addressed the environmental impact of the hundreds of additional miles Metro would have to drive by detouring it's routs that service Magnolia. Each of them relies on the Magnolia bridge.


Wow, lots of good, thoughtful comments on this one.
The only observation I would add is that Magnolia is home to a magnificent, world-class park that is a regional attraction. It is also home to a critical part of a regional waste-treatment system.
So it is inaccurate to characterize it as simply a wealthy residential enclave.


Lester Black is just a sentient man bun. Not sure why they even let him out of his simcoe hop and terpene-hazed lair to cover anything that requires any sort of critical thought or honest-to-goodness journalism skills. It's a good thing he has cozied up to the brilliant publisher and owners of this old rag so they give him assignments outside his comfort zone so we can see what it'd be like if a man bun could write.


@19, 39: Seriously, you're mad about the South Park Bridge getting more attention than the Magnolia Bridge? The South Park Bridge serves traffic from huge parts of our region (including multiple cities) and is a major freight route. That's why it got regional, state, and federal funding. The Magnolia Bridge serves the residents of a mid-sized Seattle neighborhood. And, the city put $5 million in to the South Park Bridge project, which is a little smaller number than the $320 million or more that it would take to replace the Magnolia Bridge.


Build the wall


I will sell you my little Magnolia condo for $934,100! Yuk, yuk!
One of the reasons I purchased in Magnolia was the bike trail that runs from Thorndyke near Smith Cove to downtown
Yes, Seattle has kicked this can down the road for over 20 years. I could have sworn that I voted at least once for a bridge replacement.
But given the expense amount, I can't see spending $400 million for a replacement, instead of a lower cost widening of other approaches.


Some excellent comments on this thread... Thanks for the comments. The bottom line here is that the Magnolia Bridge is old, rickety, and unsafe. Indeed, it might the single most dangerous major structure in the city. A decision regarding its future needs to be made definitively and soon. Seattle citizens and voters need accurate information--without reporters' snide judgments about people living on Magnolia--to make the most responsible decision. Personally, I live near but not in Magnolia, but I often visit it via bus. And those buses are popular, and several traverse a route on or near the bridge. And Magnolia is not isolated: Discovery Park, Daybreak Star, the (not especially ritzy) business district along 34th Avenue West, the Saturday Market, various yearly events, the wonderful beaches, and much else attract many people from all over Seattle and elsewhere. I am not a public policy wonk, and I am open to considering bridge alternatives--but a bridge replacement should certainly be considered a live, defensible option. It's patently wrong and unfair to suggest Magnolia is an island of and for the rich, and that "we" would have to pay for "their" bridge. Magnolia residents would be paying taxes, too; lots of non-Magnolia residents use that bridge; and lots of lower-middle and middle-class (not rich) people live near and depend on it. Lester: how about some follow-up articles without the snide comments (e.g., "the millionaires erupted in anger"), and how about fewer rich-shaming stereotypes and more listening and learning generally?


The Stranger has been advocating for low income housing at Fort Lawton for nearly 20 years. Don’t you want those people to be able to get to work?


And PLEASE, no more of the identity politics!
After all, aren't the hip, young Stranger readers depending on us geezers to fund all those progressive candidates?




"Class warfare?" HAHAHAHAHA.

While I do not particular buy The Strangers regressive revanchist argument for isolating a tax paying neighborhood in the city we all live. I do find it hilarious when a grown adult actually un-ironically using the term "class warfare."

We are already is a "class war" and we have been since trickle down economics became the dominate weapon of the rich against the poor. Yes. THAT Class warfare. Where the super-rich are literally stealing from 99% of the population.

I mean I don't like this particular cause all that much. But it's not an example of class warfare on the rich. It's hardly even an example of a losing guerrilla action.

You're so entitled that the the slightest resistance to your unending privileges seems like a war on you. You just don't like it when anybody fights back.


The idea that the Magnolia Bridge isn't a vital entrance into the neighborhood is completely wrong. The three major Metro bus routes that run from downtown to Magnolia use the Magnolia Bridge. I ride these buses every workday and they are always full and the people who ride them, like myself, are not wealthy. Ironically, today is the anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake, which caused the closure of the Magnolia Bridge for several weeks. I remember what a nightmare it was when most of the traffic into the neighborhood, including the buses, was funneled into the Dravus street exit, which was ill equipped to deal with all the traffic, and still is.

If there's no appetite to fund a replacement for the bridge, I sincerely hope a workable alternative will be built. The Dravus and Emerson St. exits simply can't handle all the traffic in and out of Magnolia.


"Indie-kid communists who declare war on the rich because they have to wait for their parents to die to own property."


Exactly. By the time Lester's folks die and give him his inheritance, his man-bun will be fighting for turf with his receding hairline.


You know how you get Seattle leftists to support a new Magnolia Bridge?

Have more people of color on it.

Surely that can be organized, right?


An article about Magnolia that doesn’t describe that there are only three points of access, that doesn’t mention access to the City’s largest park, largest sewage treatment plant, and only significant cultural facility for Native Americans, that doesn’t mention the City’s newest source of land available for low-income housing, its newest home to a major corporation (Expedia), its cruise ship terminal, its port facilities, its home to the Alaskan fishing fleet, its bicycle corridor, its railroad switching yard, or even—in The Stranger, no less—the tiny homes for homeless that are located under the actual bridge in question (f/k/a Tent City 5)? Major, major fail.

When some other neighborhood contributes to the prosperity of this City as vitally as Magnolia does, please let me know.


@Hoover: The City was able to weasel out of paying very much for the South Park bridge because it left the bridge out when it annexed the surrounding neighborhoods, technically leaving just the bridge itself in unincorporated King County. The County, unlike the City, stepped up to the plate and forged a solution while the City was willing to let the bridge shut down. Unfortunately, the City has no white knight for the Magnolia Bridge, even though it’s taking the same shortsighted approach to starving basic infrastructure that will assuredly destroy our ability to sustain prosperity.


Here is a real newspaper article about the subject: The diagram shows various options. It is worth noting that the Magnolia Bridge (AKA Garfield Street Bridge) also connects to surface areas (like the port) which is why the diagram includes options for that. But the two main options for moving people from Magnolia to the rest of the city are either an expanded Dravus Street bridge or a new bridge a few blocks south (connecting Armory and Thorndyke around Lynn).

OK, now about Magnolia. Everyone on the western side of Magnolia that has a view is by definition wealthy (as you would expect with a house with a view of the Olympics so close to the heart of the city). Other houses vary in value, but are similar to those in Ballard, Wallingford, etc. Above average for the city, but not especially so (the average includes areas like Lake City and Rainier Valley). Most of the apartments and condos are on the eastern side of Magnolia, although there are pockets in the middle*. The apartments, like the houses without a view, are not especially expensive.

The vast majority of Magnolia residents, therefore, are not especially wealthy by Seattle standards. As mentioned earlier, all will be effected by the removal of the old bridge. Even those who never cross it -- who use Dravus or Emerson -- would see traffic increase substantially.

Lester's clumsy attempt at reporting does raise a good point. Wealthy people at the west side of Magnolia would lose the most if they have to curve around and go to Dravus. But other folks of more modest means would also spend extra time getting around. The main thing is that a replacement bridge (one of the two options described in the diagram) is the best solution, especially if it included transit lanes. Even better would be to add transit lanes for Dravus, but have two general purpose lanes each direction on the new bridge. That would be good in the long run as a way to connect to Ballard Link (at the Interbay station). Eventually that is where all the Magnolia buses will go, so it really doesn't matter too much where the new bridge is built -- it would be crazy to spend a fortune rebuilding the existing bridge just so a handful of folks would save a little time.

This is a good map showing housing types (i. e. areas of apartments versus single family homes):


Of course we should replace the roadway. I’m no fan of the wealthy, but we all deserve services.


Easy for Mr. Black to say. He's not a Magnolia millionaire. Well, I'm not a millionaire either, but I do live in Magnolia and even now getting on and off our little island is no picnic for me and my millionaire neighbors. Emerson and Dravus (the only other auto routes on or off) can already be near grid-locked at any time of day. If you dump those 17K per day car trips from the Mag Bridge onto Emerson and Dravus, you'll be ensuring that the only routes on or off this millionaire hell-hill will be parking lots.

And, BTW, not only am I not a millionaire, in contrast to all my millionaire pals up here, I don't even own a BMW or a Tesla. Not one. I DO have 4 bicycles (maybe that's why I'm not a millionaire, too much spent on lycra) and I use those frequently to get on and off this island of privilige. But for the foreseeable future, the transportation system is an automobile system and taking the Mag Bridge out of the grid will sink this local piece of it. Maybe that's Black's intent.


Easy for Lester Black to say. He’s not a Magnolia millionaire. Well, I'm not a millionaire either, but I do live in Magnolia and even now getting on and off Magnolia is no picnic for me and my millionaire neighbors. Emerson and Dravus (the only other auto routes on or off) can already be near grid-locked at any time of day. If you dump the 17K per day car trips Mr. Black is so cavalier about from the Mag Bridge onto Emerson and Dravus, you'll be ensuring that the only routes off this millionaire hell-hill will be parking lots.

And, BTW, not only am I not a millionaire, in contrast to all my millionaire pals up here, I don't even own a BMW or a Tesla. Not one. I DO have 4 bicycles (maybe that's why I'm not a millionaire, too much spent on Lycra) and I use those frequently to get on and off this island of privilege. But for the foreseeable future, the transportation system is an automobile system and taking the Mag Bridge out of the grid will sink this local piece of it. Maybe that's the Stranger's intent.


Boo hoo. I guess their chauffeurs will have to take the long way home.


This is a job for User Fees! More powerful than a Dodge Ram Dually, able to leap wide chasms at a single toll station, Look, up in the sky! It's a Dodo. It's a Tesla, It's SuperTolls!


STOP saying this is an island of millionaires, jeez. People have been sneering at me my whole life when I say I live here. I invite the ill-informed author to visit! Have you even done that? You will find miles and miles of streets with homes built in the 1940s-- many of those started as housing during the war, very simple two bedrooms, one bath. There's low income housing, both existing and proposed, and a whole hillside of apartments. Sure people have remodeled some of the war-era homes and cobbled them into larger remodels, or torn and rebuilt, but they have a modest footprint still. Most Magnolia homes have a "postage stamp" kind of lot. Just because we have the "Boulevard", Perkins Lane, and some lovely view streets with some fancy homes that skew our average doesn't mean we are all millionaires.

Many families have lived here for generations, and the homes we are in are sometimes the homes our parents or grandparents acquired. They could afford it, but Seattle's crazy tech boom made housing scare, and with no one loving long commutes, families favored the proximity of neighborhoods like Magnolia and Queen Anne. So am I happy big corporations have moved in and made Magnolia's quick 10 minutes downtown very valuable? Ask anyone else if they are happy to pay more taxes. Sure my home is worth more on paper, more than I would have imagined a decade ago, but I can't sell it. Comparable family homes all over the city are edging close to a million dollar valuation, and have multiple bidders.

Also, who thinks "millionaires" live paycheck to paycheck? The dude that wrote this article apparently? Many of us here spend one paycheck a month on mortgages, and that leaves the other to live on and to try and save. Doesn't sound like an island of millionaires to me. Sounds like a neighborhood of people who work hard and happen to live in a place they love, and are trying to afford. A place that is not a tourist attraction, so comparing us to hipster central Ballard with it's distilleries, year-round farmers market and nationally-acclaimed restaurant scene is dumb-- of course they have more visitors. Our biggest outside draw is probably the gem that is Discovery Park. We are a sleepy 'hood, more like a small town buried in a big city.

Do I love the Magnolia Bridge? No, it scares the heck out of me, with it's chunks of concrete falling to the access road below, it's cobbled-together seismic upgrades, it's verrry low jersey barrier on one side, it's perch by a previous mudslide, and it's propensity to ice over. But without it, the ONLY two other exits become a freakin' nightmare. Do you really want our exit pollution messing up the city? Do the math on THOUSANDS of cars a day, forced to use Dravus or Emerson flyover (when SDOT is not busy shutting that down) just sitting there missing three light cycles. How much carbon pollution is that? Just because the city has not been forward thinking in letting us have another avenue off our hill, why are you shaming residents now? With the departure of the National Guard in Interbay, I seriously hope they can figure how a high volume exit from here. There's an ancient picture in Magnolia's history book of a trestle crossing the train tracks at Smith Cove. A small and simple rise over the railroad tracks from sea level would be perfectly fine. We don't want a grand bridge. It's just all that we have on the map right now, understand?

If the author would do a little more research next time, and actually visit a place, and talk to people who have been here for generations, or people who picked Magnolia carefully after pulling up stakes elsewhere in the country, or people who like the quiet of not being a thoroughfare, he might actually get some insight and stop fueling other people's prejudices towards my beloved neighborhood. People live here, despite some serious drawbacks, like having no middle school or high school in proximity. I love it so much my kids are fourth generation. My grandparents sold dirt and daffodils during the depression on a lot that would be four lots today. Do you think people called them millionaires, living in a garage on Clise Place, giving their kids walnuts and an orange for Christmas? Or my parents, who still live in their two bedroom one bath that they bought when I was a baby, with an amazing view, that we always just took for granted but that some out of town developer would pay and arm and a leg to rip their house down to gain? It's a comfortable and close, safe and nice community. People visit our Village, so they can hit the post office, drugstore, bank, grocery store, coffee shop and dry cleaners in one swoop. You will not see chauffers. You may see an occasional douchey driver, as you will around the city in general, but mostly our reputation involves grandparents accidentally crashing into businesses, not chauffeurs taking up too many parking spots. Magnolia residents are lovely and loyal, and frankly have dealt with the "inconvenience" of living here for years. So I'd love it Lester, if you stop painting an image of a gilded island here please, and go back to reporting on pot shops and what not, thank you.


The author has issues. For example: Fredrich Engels, founding member of the Communist Workers’ International, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, was very rich... just sayin’. Yes, some people who live in Magnolia maybe a#$holes who are rich, but there are also working-class people who live there, and who would end up enslaved by the collapse in traffic flows that such a reckless plan would create. The other two routes would clog up and stop choking not only Magnolia access, but also Ballard bridge, Fremont bridge, Queen Anne (via Dravus) and downtown traffic. Bad idea. Lacks deeper understanding of Seattle flows.


@65 - Magnolia is absolutely a wealthy enclave. That doesn't doesn't mean there aren't some working class and even some poor people. But, statistically, by any measure (income, wealth, property values) Magnolia is a wealthy neighborhood in a wealthy city.

I agree it would be a pain for both drivers and transit users for the bridge to close. But, given the relatively low traffic on the bridge and the high cost of replacing it, there are clearly many higher priorities for the city. Interbay development and Expedia will do little to change this. The only thing that will increase the traffic (that is, demand for a bridge), is to increase density in Magnolia, which Magnolia residents have steadfastly refused to do DESPITE the escalating housing crisis (see the recent ballistic reaction to adding a small number of affordable housing options in Fort Lawton).

I'd love to see a bridge replacement, but it will likely need to be funded from either tolls and/or some kind of tax that Magnolia residents pay. Any city or state contributions should be strictly tied to significant zoning changes that allow density increases.


I’m part of the not rich of Magnolia and have friends over here who are all working class and manage to live here. They got a fixer upper, they inherited, they saved a long time. They like me, support low income housing in Discovery, and don’t live like we are elite. Many people here are house rich but probably not much more. I don’t think that bridge needs to be replaced and think we can live without it. But wait! The city took Nickerson and Govt way and made a bike lane, taking away a second turn lane to mitigate backups. Dravus is a disaster of a traffic situation at non busy times. And the Ballard bridge, the most antiquated thing in this whole town backs up traffic past Interbay. So the Magnolia bridge allows for people who live here to get in and out. Expedia traffic is going to add to all of this.

It’s not an “island” and it’s not some wealthy enclave like Medina. We make up a neighborhood like anywhere else.


I am looking at the steep hill of Dravus right now from the QA side. I DEFINITELY am not rich but that bridge is necessary (or a some kind of replacement) for everyone. As others have already said only two inlets and outlets, especially during cruise season would be a disaster. Just leave the thing up and if you happen to get caught on it during a natural event, them's the brakes. I also agree, since we do happen to live in a city, that Thorndyke could totally handle the increased traffic as a more Aurora appearing street that would flow over the tracks somewhere near the whole foods.


Sigh i miss the days when the stranger reporters actually did research...spending an afternoon walking around magnolia would show:

1) it’s actually two hills
2) there’s a lot of housing that isn’t rich people housing
3) there’s no police station or hospital so yes they need a route in and out.

Then spend a week taking the bus down 15th during rush hour and you’ll see that even 1700 more cars would be a shit show and have effects for magnolia, queen anne, ballard and downtown.

Also this “fuck services” for rich people is why socialism struggles in America. Selling services for all is easier then “tax rich people but don’t give them services”.


Poor Lester, paid $200 grand to go to Boston University so he can rant against the "rich".


I'll be honest, I enjoy going to Magnolia’s Mounger pool every summer and taking a nice long piss in it before getting out.

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