Get Rid of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge and Replace it With Art



Sure, it's nice enough in that "business has dried up but the marijuana stores are still open" kind of way, but you know what would make for a really extra natural-looking replacement of the bridge?

Open water.

And maybe some mudflats I guess. But mostly open water.


There are some practical considerations. You may find the current bridge ugly, but it satisfied several practical requirements.

It is a lifeline to West Seattle. The only thing keeping the closure from becoming a traffic nightmare of epic proportions is because so many people are either unemployed or working from home right when the bridge closed. So, first and foremost, the replacement for the bridge has to provide adequate access for the significant population of West Seattle to get in/out of downtown.

Beyond that, cargo ships pass beneath the bridge. That is why it is so high. The previous bridge was a draw bridge, which had to be opened regularly and sometimes for long stretches to allow shipping to pass, which created huge delays. So you either need to (1) make another bridge high enough to clear ships, (2) return to the drawbridge mess, which will piss of both the shipping industry and everyone in West Seattle, or (3), move the bridge further south, upstream beyond where ships need to pass (which was considered impractical last time around).

Bonus points: if we're going to have to rebuild the bridge, that would be the most cost-effective time to add light rail to West Seattle. Face it, we're going to have to do light rail to West Seattle sooner or later. It would cost a lot more to add it later or retrofit it onto an already existing bridge than it would be to build it into the replacement in the first place. This was a significant blunder when we recently replaced the 520 bridge. We should have included light rail to the bridge at the time it was built. Instead, we added it to I-90 after-the-fact, which cost way more.

I have no idea if Whittman Estes includes any of these considerations in their "vision", but if they don't, their bridge will never get off the drawing board.


@2 -- The plan was never to add light rail to the existing bridge -- it was to build a new bridge, just for light rail. It is highly unlikely that a replacement bridge will be appropriate for light rail, but they are looking into that (as part of the planning process).

Of course what makes sense for West Seattle is BRT, with a new bus tunnel downtown. But the city has no experience with BRT (unless you count the tiny section of the old bus tunnel) and thus doesn't even consider it, since we are provincial as fuck. To be fair, there isn't much BRT in this country, which adds to the general provincialism. It doesn't help that RapidRide is called BRT, when it clearly isn't.


We need to replace it with a slender bike/pedestrian swing bridge that has art panels on it.

And tell all the car drivers they can take the monorail to the airport and hop on the light rail if they want to get downtown.

Stop subsidizing cars.


The crayon scribbles will be perfect for my daughter to render a lego bridge. Here sweetheart - work quick! No! DO NOT go have a playdate with your friends about what to do first. Dang. They are throwing toys. This always happens.


@3 Seattle not only has experience with BRT, it has so much experience that it knows exactly how to kneecap its effectiveness through planning compromises and revisions.

All of the lettered routes in Seattle were renamed from their old route numbers as part of the city's BRT plan. And just like in other American cities, Seattle's BRT rollout effectively ended as soon as its first, largely cosmetic phase was complete, and the time came to start adding in the changes that would impact car traffic.

The problem with BRT is that it takes just as much political capital to set it up effectively as it does to build a rail network. And in a city growing as fast as Seattle, if you've got the backing of the voters you might as well pick the solution that's going to be appropriate 75 years out, and not just the one that min-maxes your ten-year budget and pop-growth forecast.


Wild guess, none of you assholes (including the author) lives in West Seattle, right? It would be awesome to shit on your main thoroughfare and nonchalantly suggest replacing it with “art” when you depend on it to get to work, child / elder care, emergencies, etc. Fuck you, dipshits.


@7 Three generations. And boy howdy did the joke ever sail over your head.


Get rid of the stranger and replace it with journalism.


@9 Maybe you should see a neurologist about that problem where you keep typing in the URL of a blog you don't want to read.


@10- you type in URLs? I just click the link. The stranger and it's brown shirts are like a car wreck- don't really want to look but always take a glance.


@11 Hmm, maybe a shrink instead, then.

I got internet a while ago, but I don't see a place to "click the link" to this blog on it, like you have on yours. Is that part of the standard package, or do I have to call Comcast to come out and install it for me?

  1. Are you really an idiot or just pretending to be one?