Is Durkan Serious About a Multimodal Light Rail Bridge to West Seattle?



If it crosses a federal waterway, and involves port land, it has to be that tall, either that or a swing bridge or a scissor bridge that elevates a span wide enough for boats.

Stop subsidizing fossil fuel infrastructure.


My guess is this is just political theater. First of all, there is no reason to assume that combining bridges makes it cheaper. Second, the timing is all off. The West Seattle line is supposed to be done by 2030. That means that the newly restored bridge would be torn down 5 to 25 years before it needs to be.

Then there is the idea that pedestrians and bikers will use the bridge. That's nuts. It is way better to use the lower bridge, as they have for years.

This is just big-budget green-washing. By the time the West Seattle Bridge needs repairing or replacement again, Link will already be complete. There will be no buses going over the high or low bridge. At that point, it makes sense to look at all options, like adding another low bridge. That would likely be a lot cheaper. Drivers would at least have another option -- which is to take the train (or drive around). The idea that this would somehow help the climate is bullshit. Once Link gets to West Seattle, we don't need a high bridge.

The decision to repair the existing bridge was the right one. I give her credit for that. But this combined multi-modal bridge idea is just bullshit.


Oh, and then there is the big issue -- which is paying for it. Repairing is the way to go, and hopefully the feds will chip in some money. But they won't pay for all of it. I see two ways to go:

1) Deem it a state highway, and pay for it with gas tax money.

2) Toll it.

Of course you could do a combination (not unlike the SR 99 tunnel). The West Seattle bridge has a lot of drivers, which means you could get a lot of money from a small toll (a dollar or less). You would probably have to keep the lower bridge for freight (as is the case now).

Both of these funding sources reduces driving, and congestion. If the mayor really wants to be "the climate mayor" she should fund it that way, instead of paying for it out of the general fund, or via a regressive car tab tax (which discourages car ownership, but not driving).


"Part of the appeal of replacing the bridge was the potential for Sound Transit to add a West Seattle light rail extension onto the new bridge and marry the two projects."

That unbelievably stupid idea was, by the grace of the great FSM, not ever seriously discussed by anyone even remotely close to power. West Seattle is currently getting a daily, grinding lesson in why transportation from the peninsula towards downtown should rely on more than one structure.

@2: "Link will already be complete. There will be no buses going over the high or low bridge. [...] Once Link gets to West Seattle, we don't need a high bridge."

Just like the Metro Route #60 disappeared once Link connected Beacon Hill to Broadway & John? All trucks going into West Seattle will use the Spokane Street ("Low") Bridge, or go all the way to 1st Ave. South? Or will they take Link as well?


Every day they offer an excuse for not REDUCING emissions means they are INCREASING emissions.

Each day.
Every excuse.

All of their metrics are based on SINGLE OCCUPANCY VEHICLE TRANSPORTATION being the HIGHEST and BEST use. I know, because I read the engineering appendices and I sit in on the discussions on how to design the software.

Don't trust them. DEMAND ACTION TODAY.

Never tomorrow.

It's already 5 years TOO LATE for tomorrow.

TODAY is way too late.


Alas, we were forced to depart our beloved West Seattle. Raised two kids in that neighborhood and loved our block. But the way decisions get made in this city just made staying too risky. Am now in walking distance of the new Northgate link station. Getting to know the North end. Bittersweet.


@7: Why, because commuting was too time consuming?


Flying cars will make all of our arguments look silly.


It seems remarkably shortsighted to spend hundreds of millions of Seattle taxpayer dollars to add 10-15 years to a bridge that is already in the last decade of its engineered lifespan — and that timing doesn't consider damage to the rest of the bridge from the Nisqually quake.

This isn't even about light rail, although this would be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this glaring omission from what could one day bring Seattle from the 19th into the 20th Century, transportation-wise.

It really just seems like Durkan is kicking the can down the road, slapping a bandaid on this, and leaving the root problem for another mayor to solve.


@11, I bet we will get 40 years out of the existing bridge. They made a stupid mistake to only compress the center of the span, that has been fixed now, there is no reason that should get us 40+ years. In the meantime we should take the heavy buses off the bridge...
@8, yes, @outerlibbitz, I agree that Link is overkill for WS and we can't wait until 2040, we should build an aerial gondola NOW to provide an alternative to bridges. As Mayor Durkan also stated: we need mobility redundancy!