Those of us in Seattle could see it coming. The City’s and developers’ penchant for “higher density” has implications well beyond the effects on the tax base and the profits of developing. Traffic in this city seems to be worsening by the day as city streets, highways and yes, bridges, come under enormous pressure. Now the Seattle Dept of Transportation (SDOT) is looking at changing the number of bridge openings available to recreational boaters to alleviate some of that pressure.
At issue are three primary bridges on Seattle’s Ship Canal, the Ballard, Fremont and University Bridges. The worst of these, or at least the example SDOT uses to highlight traffic problems, is the Ballard Bridge. There can be backups to Dravus to the south and 65th St. to the north. Of course, during the off-season and at many hours of the day, there are few openings and traffic remains largely unaffected.
Currently there are no on demand bridge openings during the 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. rush hours except for 1000+ ton commercial vessels. One plan to deal with the problem is to have scheduled openings for recreational vessels, thus meaning fewer openings.
The SDOT lays out the problem here.
In addition to boaters and drivers , the many marine businesses on the Ship Canal, Lake Union and Lake Washington would be affected by any changes.
Nothing is settled just yet, and the SDOT is asking for public input. Email your thoughts to ShipCanalBridgeOpenings@seattle.gov, or mail them to:
Ship Canal Bridge Openings
c/o Roadway Structures
Seattle Department of Transportation
PO Box 34996 (SMT-38-00)
Seattle, WA 98124-4996
The US Army Corps of engineers would appreciate hearing from you as well: D13-PF-D13BRIDGES@uscg.mil
You can also register your comments here on nwyachting.com, just scroll down. We’ll be following this issue with great interest.