West Seattleites share what the closure of the bridge meant to them
Westside Seattle asked people in West Seattle to share their thoughts about the impact of the bridge closure on their lives.
West Seattle was the only community in the world to suffer both the pandemic and the loss of their primary transportation artery at the same time.
The bridge, according to SDOT is set to reopen on Sept. 18 (specific details on timing yet to be announced) and based on these responses the impacts have been broad and varied.
"Ended up not going downtown at all except for Costco. Even then I waited as long as I could. Pretty much stayed on the rock as much as possible. Thankfully every business I need to head to is right here. Supporting local."
"Hasn’t affected me at all.
I beam myself to work like on Star trek. (Also levitate)."
"Getting WS drivers out of our butts in White Center and South Park is all i care."
"What it means about the west seattle bridge closed : longer days on the road what should be 110 miles Monday through Friday now is a 224 miles or has been for the last 2 years. Time away from family or running errands later in the evening or not at all. I’m so tired of driving during the week I don’t go out unless there is 3 or more things in an area on the weekends. I don’t head up north to visit friends unless it’s Friday and it’s after work and I don’t stay long. Because I’m tired from all the extra miles to get home or freaking road closures on the 5 on the weekends lol 😂. But on the flip side of the extra miles I started to invest on books on Cd for the long drive home. But I’ve also learned side streets and another ways back into west seattle. What will it mean to have it open again , less miles to and from west seattle, and while if I’m in traffic and stopped I’ll be able see Mt. Rainier again, nothing like seeing it early in the morning to start off my day. The bridge is a life line to those who live there and those who come and visit. "
"At first it was like an unexpected death in the family – a sudden shock that caused confusion, and not yet truly realizing the far-reaching impact. Anger and grief soon figured into the picture as well, as we spent hours upon hours fuming in traffic, either being too early or way too late for appointments and jobs. Perhaps the biggest loss was our love and support for one another here in West Seattle, as each challenging drive in and out of West Seattle gave us more and more line-cutters, more entitled drivers cutting in front of us, and more illegal maneuvers, more reasons to be mad at each other, robbing us of our respect and caring for our fellows. Hopefully, when it is over, some of the goodness, patience and smiles will return. **wistful sigh**"
"I have lost so much money because I cannot cross the bridge in the time I need to multiple times er day/eve. That is my story and I am sticking to it!!"
"The sudden closing of the bridge affected me in the most personal way. On March 5 my husband had a fall in our home and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was transported to Harborview hospital and was admitted into neuro intensive care. I traveled the bridge multiple times during the day and the night. The bridge than closed on March 25. I had no familiarity with how to navigate the detour to leave west Seattle. None. During the darkest days of my life, I found myself lost and crying on West Marginal with no idea of how to get to Harborview. I had just never traveled that area before. Ever. My husband died on April 9. It took me a year to try to have the courage to get familiar with this detour and leave West Seattle. I lost my lifeline to my dying husband when the bridge closed. I thought I was done crying, but find the tears flowing as I write this personal account of what the bridge closure meant for me."
"I’m wondering if the Lower bridge will actually open back up to full use. I took the lower multiple times everyday rarely ever got on the big bridge."
Jesse HotRod Parvu
"I moved to West Seattle in Dec 2020 from Vashon because I needed easier access to Eastside and downtown than the ferry allowed. Well, we know how that went! I liked West Seattle’s strong sense of community but again, needed better access. I finally gave up and moved to Edmonds in early 2022. But I really enjoyed the community in West Seattle!"
Susan Audrey Veals
"I think it should be pointed out that the bridge closed two hours after the city went on lockdown. That wasn’t a coincidence. Someone was sitting on that info."
"As a someone who commutes to work and does most of my day to day stuff by biking or walking, the closure of the West Seattle Bridge has impacted me by experiencing a significant increase in the amount and severity of road raging drivers. This is nothing new for West Seattle, and prior to the bridge closure, I was being yelled at, spat at, had things thrown at me, got forced of the road, had doors opened or people pull out in front of me. These things continued after the bridge closure, but with higher frequency and with one new condition that is absolutely abhorrent and that has no place in civilized society; they now happen when my young kid is on the back on my bike. This never happened before the bridge closure, and I worry this will be the new norm. I don’t blame SDOT for this, I blame car-centric West Seattleites who have no concern for anyone but themselves."
"I remember hearing on the radio that the Bridge will be closed "as of 7pm tonight, indefinitely." My first thought was, "This is BAD!" That summer I ran into a friend who lives in Arbor Heights who said, "I don't use that bridge, it won't affect me." I laughed and reminded her about the 70,000 folks in my neighborhood who used the bridge every day and were now going to be on "her bridges." Since we were all in lock down it wasn't so bad for the first few months, but in the fall my teaching job on Beacon Hill began and things got interesting. I've lived in WS my all of my 60+ years and never knew how to navigate the First South Bridge or the South Park Bridge before. Now that I do, I'll be happy to leave those approaches to my friends who live to the south in Arbor Heights, White Center, and Burien. The High Bridge is for me!"
Denise Winch Davis
"I live north of Burien and work in Wallingford. The bridge closure meant that all of the West Seattle people needing to leave West Seattle were suddenly on my route of the 1st Ave S. Bridge. I also run a cat rescue. So instead of being able to leave work in Wallingford and quickly get to the Petco in the Junction to help with adoptions, I would be best off going home first and then making my way back to the Junction after the PM commute rage calmed down. Having the bridge open back up will mean (hopefully) less traffic on my work commute, and more homes being found for cats."
"My commute was not impacted till I got a call back to work all the way in Everett two days a week so I have had to leave really early to get there at 7:00. I live on High Point so our neighborhood is constant line of cars heading to West Marginal Way and can feel quite daunting. The ride home is far worse. Looking forward to experiencing our neighborhood to not feel like an on-ramp for 10 miles."
Michelle Siegrist Burdette
"11 tickets, my attorney fees will be going down."
"My partner's commute became so long eventually she moved out and our relationship was negatively impacted."
"I don't live there anymore, but have family and friends there. I have only been there once or so in the last two years. The bridge closure plus I5 traffic causes me to really consider the drive that should just be an hour and is often 2 or 3 now."
"Still take the same route but now trying not to die with all the crazy drivers on West Marginal. Can't wait for them to go back to the bridge."
"I was pregnant March 2020 - November 2020 .. all our doctor’s appointments were in Seattle as Kaiser had closed a closer location due to covid (early on). Apart from having to fight with traffic and leave two hours early to make sure we made it to our appointments, I was worried I would go in to labor during the day and be stuck in traffic
Luckily that didn’t happen but I’m sure it had to have happened to somebody."
"My rent went down 10% and I started going more to Burien and WS businesses."
"It's (probably?) the reason I could afford to buy a house in the first place in Jan 2021, so that's a bonus! I work in Capitol Hill, but commute by bus anyway, or occasionally by bike, so the lack of car traffic on the bridge has made that faster. Been an occasional bummer when we've wanted to go to Costco, or had to face the additional traffic on the way to I-5/99. I'm sure it's been a pain for a lot of people but on a personal level it's been almost all roses for me! Won't mind it being easier for people to come over to visit when it's open, though. And going to North Seattle will be way less of a headache."
Nick Huntington Klein
"I think, like of lot of others who are not able to work from home and work outside of West Seattle, it has definitely been an added stressor. My commute to Beacon Hill went from 20 min to 50-60 min even with always using the South Park Bridge. So between coming and going, I lost well over an hour of my day. Also, if I had appointments during work hours, I had to leave a lot earlier to get to them and no way I would be able to return to work. It was more difficult the first year but after a while, I adjusted to it. Once, I made the mistake of driving down Highland Parkway and it took 25 minutes to get down the hill, caused a bit of swearing at times. A few days were particularly bad traffic and it took 1.5hrs to get to work. It has also been a major hardship for family coming from North End which adversely effected my grandkids. I will be so glad when I can cross the bridge again!"
Mary Kathryn Laseur
"The West Seattle Bridge closure meant that traffic has been diverted where I work and live. It has been a hassle. There is more stress on roads that were not built for excessive amounts of traffic."
"It has brought a whole lot of new business to my work in a challenging time for restaurants in south park and helped keep many of us employed and open really hope we made enough fans that they will still be coming by to keep business going strong."
Andrew Scott Newell
"First, my traffic increased 175% (during pandemic!). I work in Shoreline…I had to leave my house by 6:30 to get there reasonably by 8…of course traffic depending. All my appts had to be during the middle of the day so that I made it reasonable to get there in time…this also requires me to take the whole day off. I live in Highland Park. On the upside, we really need a traffic light at Highland Park Way and Holden…due to the amount of traffic…we finally got our light. Be careful what you ask for."
"The only positive is that I sometimes had my teenagers held captive in those long commutes which led to some great, often humorous, conversations. Although I must admit that sometimes I couldn’t hear the conversations over my crying and complaining."
"Fauntleroy has always been a main arterial and should remain that way. the real injustice is in Arbor Heights and White Center where our neighborhood residential streets have been turned into freeways with Zero law enforcement."
"I suppose I was one of the lucky ones that did not have to commute over the bridge everyday- or so I thought. 2020 was to be a year of change - at my job and at home. My office was poised to move to Bellevue and we had our entire campus packed and ready to go when everything stopped. I also had just purchased a house on Fauntleroy Way just as everything shut down. It wasn’t long before many of my co-workers voiced how much they liked working from home. And not too long after that the powers that be decided to sell our beautiful new campus to Facebook. Without the bridge ,Fauntleroy became much quieter perhaps fooling us into thinking it wasn’t the noisy highway it once was. REI found a few satellite offices for us to work out of and thankfully I don’t have to cross the 1st ave bridge! Not sure what opening the bridge back up will do to the relative calm we have now on Fauntleroy but I look forward to quick jumps in and out of downtown again. My husband started a job a few months back in Queen Anne and the nights he comes home after 9 are like winning the lottery when he can take the “Low Bridge”. He’s definitely looking forward to a month from now when his commute is cut in half."