SDOT Study Favors Spending up to $420 Million on a New Magnolia Bridge



So about the same as two blocks of downtown bike lanes.


Don’t forget, do you know what is whiter and wealthier than Magnolia?

A Seattle bike lane.


"What’s not clear is how we are going to pay for it. "- that only seems to be an issue if the stranger is against something.


The Dravus overpass/bridge is already a nightmare. Even widening it (not counting the unthinkably terrible period of construction) will not solve the problem. Mainly because when the Ballard Bridge is up traffic often backs up all the way to Dravus. They want too add how many more cars to that stretch of 15th with many of them not even going to Ballard but stuck there because they can't get to Dravus to get home to Magnolia. This option then impacts Ballard residents too. And trust me, Ballard is a lot more than 2.7% of the population.


The city had done an earlier study (around 2000 I believe) with 3 alternative bridge replacement sites- 1- replace the current bridge
2 - wind around the south end of Magnolia to Clise Place, and
3 - connect to Newton street (near an earlier bridge site)- this would be a steeper uphill to Thorndyke than connecting via Halladay.
Neighbors in the southern end of Magnolia produced an earlier letter from the City of Seattle (from decades ago) promising them the city would not build a connector to Clise Place.
The city at that time decided for option 1- replacing the current bridge.
Magnolia has the best NIMBYs!


"Could new upzones and affordable housing developments inside of Magnolia pay for a bridge?"

No, that's not a workable plan.


You mean Seattle doesn't have an endless supply of money? I thought there were vaults under city hall packed to the ceiling with cash!


Safety must be a primary concern here, and the Magnolia Bridge is dangerously rickety. As for wealthy, most of east Magnolia and Interbay is not wealthy. Yes, obviously, along and near Viewmont, Magnolia Boulevard, and Perkins Lane there are some rich people and expensive homes. So? And meanwhile Discovery Park, Daybreak Star, the 34th Street business area and Saturday Market, Salmon Bay, and various festivals make Magnolia an attraction for many non-rich people. Speaking of which, many bus commuters rely on routes that need to use the bridge. Argue against the 420-million dollar pricetag? Okay, make your case. But the cheap demonization of Magnolia by The Stranger reeks. Lester: most of that neighborhood is lower-middle to middle-class. Interbay and East Magnolia are hardly ritzy, and most of central Magnolia features fairly modest single-family homes. Enough with the Magnolia-bashing. Some fine people live out there, and they contribute much to this city. Thank you, Magnolia.


@4 So that would be a route that comes up that canyon below Magnolia Park? I grew up near there and we always called that Wolf Creek Canyon but looking at the map now seems its 32nd Ave.

Clise Place is the street that runs from those tennis courts into Magnolia Village. So if it wasn't up that canyon, they've had to blow out the park and grade a new road up through there. I guess?

As a kid I once got into big trouble for spitting onto cars from the bridge at Howe Street.


This isn't really such a hard one.
Give the people what they want.
We need to replace and upgrade aging infrastructure across the board, let's not get bogged down every time in arguments over whether some community is worthy or virtuous enough to deserve it.
Just do the right thing.
Replace the damn bridge.


Magnolia has 20k residents, average income less than north Capital Hill, average housing price less than north Capital Hill and probably all.of it for like square feet. Half of Magnolia is remters, average rental lower than Capital Hill, far, far more blue collar businesses and workers than Capital Hill.

Yes, an up-market neighborhood, but not extravagant compared to nearly everything else situated on the Sound or Lake (West Ballard for instance) and less affluent than many of them (Madison Park et al. ). Small pack of thankfully ineffective embarrassing NIMBY loud mouths. Tons of kids and young families basically minding their own business and getting on with life. Tons of old people quietly retired. Overwhelming votes for Democrats with the policy preferences about in line with Barack O'bama.

Yep, clearly a pack of MAGA hatted assholes all those people; if only they knew how to virtue signal and rail against straw men like bitter Capital Hill hipster man-bunned soft boys, maybe they'd rate a zipline.


@11: Not to mention Magnolia has a lower infidelity rate as well!


Golly, Clara T, no need to get so defensive. Nobody but you is talking about MAGA hatted assholes.

Half a Billion is a lot of money and every dime spent on a bridge replacement is a dime not available for something else. Once upon a time, a city could get grants from the Feds for a project like this but since the GOP got control, we can't have nice things any more so we gotta pick and choose.


We should replace it with a tunnel.


@14: not such a bad plan if the tunnel is for a subway and not POV's
It could be a line that tee's off the existing Link and runs underground through Ballard, Crown Hill and on to Northgate.


@11: *Capitol.


If we upzoned the whole place, you could fit 10s of thousands more people on the island and then you'd have a much easier time justifying an expensive bridge.

Just saying.


@16: Could be a Freudian typo.


Give me a fucking break, Lester.

You don’t want to replace an aging, seismically vulnerable bridge because rich white people live in Magnolia? That’s the basis for deciding what we spend money on in this city now?

I want to be clear: you’re ok with deciding how to spend or not spend money based solely on the color of the people that live in an area and how much money they make?

Good lord, you’re as bad as Chuck now.

Fuck off, Lester.


@13 sorry, I am coming across a bit chapped.
Just fucking annoys me that Lester Black went (was probably sent) to 50k for annual tuition alone white-majority elite private college Boston U, leverages that insane privilege to move to Seattle maybe 5 years ago, to smoke a bunch of pot and drinks beers and comment on it for a living, and somehow in that glass house perched on a glass house has the nerve to high-horse an entire neighborhood of a city he's likely just passing through the minute he decides to unselfconsciously operationalize he advantage. He strikes convincing poses, but is a wild hypocrite, essentially some noveau iteration of the trustifarian frat boy, blindly attacking an entire neighborhood in our city for being 50% of what he's pretending not to be. I worked the fucking graveyard shift on school nights in high school to pay for my apartment, worked my way through affordable public colleges with all different kinds of people (last one 11% white), lived in my truck for months on end when money got too tight, am bloody fucking fortunate to have had some chances in life and not face institution oppression. I don't need to hear from some cartoon of operationalized hypocrisy that my neighbors and I are garbage. Fuck off back to wherever your daddy issues came from.


Magnolians want a 1 for 1 replacement which is understandable and actually much less than other replacement projects such the new tunnel and 520 etc. The devils bargain though is that with better access will come an expectation of more density. It won’t just be about Magnolia getting into the rest of Seattle, it will be the rest of Seattle getting into Magnolia.


@20 if you're going to get so agitated from a little bit of polemic, the internet might not be the place for you.



I thought Clara's multipart polemic was enjoyable, and not entirely empty of truth.

Is your preference for Lester's polemic over Clara's just a matter of style? Or are you having trouble with the substance as well?


@23 She ignored the man-bun, Lester’s worst sin and 5 years out of date judging how people don’t even ridicule them.


And did you personally research the lower infidelity rates in Magnolia?


@23 - As examples of the form, I don't think very highly of either. I do think its legit to wonder if a 1 for 1 replacement of the Magnolia Bridge is the best way for Seattle DOT to be spending 400 million beans. And I think its weird to get so angry at Lester Black when he has exactly zero influence on the decision.


Not replacing the bridge is a non-option. If the city chooses against it it'll cost them significantly more than $400 million. Clara T is also right on - dilettantes like Lester need not involve themselves in mandatory infrastructure policy.


Yikes. $21,000 per resident. Roads are expensive.


Since the bridge would serve a well defined geographic area, a LID would work well. Stretched over a few decades the property tax increase would be doable, and another way to keep the neighborhood exclusive. Another funding method would be to toll the bridge. If it cost $10 to cross rather than face the unwashed masses of Dravus, it would only take 40 million crossings to pay it off.


For this money they could build an entire city grid of protected bike lanes, if they didn't use that money to replace and upgrade utilities and provide car-oriented add-ons.

So, I say no.


Of course, they could make it a toll bridge, that would be fine.


@28 pretty good deal is you get 100+ years out of it. I imagine modern construction techniques might get you 300 years, who knows.


$20M: Gondola to a future light rail station.