Thursday, April 25, 2013

Parking lot

It boggles my mind that we put up with this bridge hell.  I say if you cause an accident on the bridge, there should be mandatory jail time.

Not sure what can be done about our horrific bridge situation.  I'm pretty sure we would get some governmental entity to pay attention if we...

stood united and made a big hairy mess on the bridge one day.   Say we all decided to get out of our cars one morning,  while stuck on the bridge, and not get back in -- just walk away and leave our cars (hundreds of them)  to be towed... that would probably make a good statement about how this situation sucks to infinity and beyond.  I honestly think this would be worth it -- in such a dire situation, I beileve the end justifies the means.

Today was one of those days where you just wish you had stayed in bed for several more hours.  Two lanes were blocked on the bridge due to a multi-car accident.

Accidents on the bridge always mean that lanes are blocked -- aid car, police vehicles, tow trucks... you get the picture.  This was Thursday's morning commute -- with traffic backed up to the 35th and Fauntleroy intersection, and beyond.

 Today's traffic-- luckily the day is GORGEOUS!
I took the long shot photos from a viewpoint on Beacon Hill -- where I sometimes detour to avoid I-5 traffic into Seattle.
Photo taken entering West Seattle Bridge from Fauntelroy and 35th intersection

Taken from a viewpoint on Beacon Hill.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A new Starbucks drive thru is opening on the West Seattle bridge! Not really, but wouldn't it be great?

It would totally work too.   Come to think of it, a car wash would probably do a good deal of business on the bridge as well -- just set up the automatic drive thru car wash thingy at the place on the bridge where we all "merge" getting on to I-5 north -- viola!  You are still late for work, but your car is clean and you have a latte.   I'm sure there are lots of other good ideas ,  n'est-ce pas?   

These are the important things that pass through my mind while I sit on the bridge.  

Back to the point of this blog -- all you really need to know is clearly illustrated in the "visual" below.  Visual compliments of   *Copyright ©1998-2013 Thinkmap, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 


In case you are confused by the above "visual", allow me to explain --The thin line, connecting the "traffic jam" with the "snarl-up", represents the bridge.  The red dot indicates the suggested location for the drive thru Starbucks on the bridge.   What is missing is the car wash and the ba-zillion commuters, but all that would make the visual too busy and not pleasing to the eye. 

What you see here is the highest point of the bridge, which is mid-span.
This was taken looking West.  Going West on the bridge is easy peasy. 

Here  I present my rant for the day:
Oh how I love crossing the West Seattle bridge during morning rush hour -- it is the absolute highlight of my day! Taking in the amazing vistas -- the cement plant, the steel plant, the stacks of rusting containers on Harbor Island. I'm utterly transported as I deeply inhale the scents of fresh car exhaust and dust. What a joy it is to spend 30 minutes crossing a half mile long bridge. At that speed, of 1 mile an hour, I'm given the opportunity to practice mindfulness -- and trim my hangnails. Never for a minute does it piss me off that, at one mile an hour, I could cross the bridge more quickly hopping on one foot than driving in my car. It's so awesome to see all the smiling faces of my bridge buddies -- oodles of them behind me, in front of me, beside me -- they are all so taken in with the beauty of the colorful, flashing, brake lights, that they sometimes fail to see me waving and extending my daily greeting ... "Howdy there! Nice seeing you again! How's it going?" These are my peeps, my neighbors, and I'm so lucky to get the opportunity to spend so much time camping out with them. In fact, I spend more uninterrupted time parked on the bridge with my fellow commuters than I do with my own husband! That is truly a blessing in disguise because I simply adore all of them! When they cut me off I think how frustrated they must be that they are running late -- I just know they have somewhere more important to go than I do and it doesn't bother me at all that they are more concerned about their needs than mine. What a joyful way to start the day! Not a minute of my life is wasted -- even though I rarely, if ever, get to my destination on time -- it just reminds me how important it is to remember that life is a journey, not a destination. With that in mind, coming to a complete stand still midspan never leads me to check the clock or say unholy words. You may think it gets old, day after day, driving across the bridge, like little ants, or lemmings, or cattle. But why would I find this monotonous? With all the bounty this commute gives to me daily? I absolutely heart the West Seattle bridge!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Comrades-in-arms (aka fellow West Seattle neighbors who feel my pain on the bridge every day) Please answer me this --

Why is there only one lane getting off the bridge to go Northbound on I-5?   

Seriously --  WTF?
That's what I'm talk'n about!   
The exit sign for I-5 North says it all.

"Merge" ... a strange sounding word but something that we must do.  It is compulsory.  I like the definitions and cool visual below, but what we do on the bridge is more accurately defined as "cram together".  

"Merge" visual provided by Thinkmap Visual Thesarus Image from the Visual Thesaurus, Copyright ©1998-2013 Thinkmap, Inc. 
All rights reserved

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Great news (great sarcasm) on the West Seattle bridge front...apparently the Alaska Way viaduct will be closing during some of the deep dig type tunneling for the viaduct replacement tunnel.   What this means for those of us who must cross over the Duwamish daily?   It means we will be even more screwed than we thought.

West Seattle bridge (Westbound)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Our West Seattle bridge commute situation is unacceptable... we need a revolution.

Just another day with my bridge buddies :)
What is happening here?
Why don't we stand together and make our voices heard ?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wow,  why do they allow the lower bridge to open during rush hour trafffic?!!!!

This morning, while I did not have to cross the bridge, my husband did.  I got the SOS call wondering if I could find out for him why he was at a dead stop on Spokane St. (along with every other morning commuter trying to get out of West Seattle).  He did note that the lower bridge was up...or open... or whatever -- nobody could cross it because a ship was going through.    Apparently it is not a drawbridge but a "swing bridge".

 I looked for answers here:

And basically found out something quite incredible and unique to this one particular bridge.  While all the other major bridges in and around Seattle have rules regulating opening during rush hours, the lower Spokane St. bridge does not -- it is open on demand, no matter what time it is.

And I quote:

"Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge (Low-Level)

The Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge opens on demand, even during rush hour. Commuters should be aware that marine traffic may go through the bridge at any time.

Flashing signs on the various approach roadways warn commuters that the low-level bridge is open for marine traffic and closed to vehicular traffic. Commuters can then use the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.

Vessels should contact the bridge by radio or whistle signal when requesting an opening. Pleasure vessels are requested to use whistle signals as primary contact from 7 a.m. to dusk."

Here is more information than yo uprobably want and does not help you figure out the crazy, insane situation that most of you morning commuters encountered today:

"Bridges and Roadway Structure Bridge Openings

The City of Seattle operates three bascule bridges over the Lake Washington Ship Canal and one swing bridge over the Duwamish River. The openings and closings of these bridges have a major impact on the lives of commuters and boaters.

SDOT wants the use of these bridges to be as easy and convenient as possible. The following information answers frequently asked questions about the bridges, and should help ease the way for both commuters and boaters on their respective routes.

For more information about Seattle Bridges and Roadway Structures, call 206-386-4208.

Bridge Opening Procedure

When requesting a bridge opening from 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM vessels should contact the bridge by radio (marine Band ch 13) or use a whistle signal - one long, one short. Pleasure vessels are requested by the Coast Guard to use a whistle signal from 7:00 AM to dusk. Boaters please see the Rush Hour Schedule below, as bridge openings are restricted during these time periods. For bridge openings after 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM, please see section below titled Bridge Openings by Appointment.

Average Time of Bridge Openings

On the Lake Washington Ship Canal, a bridge opening averages about four (4) minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume at the end of an opening. Openings of the Spokane Street Swing Bridge average about 10 minutes in length. SDOT appreciates that delays are an inconvenience -- we get stuck in them too!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I found this really cool website that I would like to share.

The image above was generated using the Visual Thesaurus 


The Visual Thesaurus offers stunning visual displays of the English language. Looking up a word creates an interactive visual map with your word in the center of the display, connected to related words and meanings. Copyright ©1998-2013 Thinkmap, Inc. All rights reserved.

Spring Break

I got nothing to share today, so here's a bit of drivel to chew on...

Sometimes the morning commute traffic is noticeably lighter than other days.  
Sunny Fridays, for example, because every *Seattleite knows that you do not go to work on a sunny Friday.

Friday traffic is sometimes  referred to, on radio, as "Friday lite" because is generally lighter on Fridays.   I guess a lot of people just decide not to work on Fridays?  Anyway, this "Friday Lite" is not so true on the West Seattle bridge.  Traffic often sucks just as bad on a Friday as any other day.  That's what happens when you have 10 billion people trying to leave West Seattle and one lane getting off the bridge to go North on I-5.  

           That is all.  

                         Carry on.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Happy Sunday!

No crossing the bridge today for me :)   But if your day includes some fun or work related excursions to the East --read on...

Here are some very helpful links if you are trying to see the West Seattle bridge traffic before leaving your house (compliments of City of Seattle traffic cams):

View of raffice at 35th and Fauntleroy before getting on the bridge:

View of traffic mid-span heading East toward I-5:

Mid-span heading West:

If you want more, more, more traffic information specific to West Seatte -- you can always count on good reporting from the West Seattle Blog (which really isn't a blog, but a news source):

Friday, April 5, 2013

Today on the bridge, during rush hour morning traffic, one of those super-duper long, multi-axel, semi trucks, became disabled.  It just so happened to break down as it was attempting to exit on to I-5 Northbound.   Of course there is only one exit lane to enter the on-ramp to I-5 northbound..   So basically, the exit was blocked and those of us ga-zillion others behind the truck?  Well -- it wasn't pretty.

Disabled semi truck =  one of many reasons the bridge needs
more than one lane to exit onto I-5.

 Crossing the bridge allows me to practice mindfulness.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Flipping someone off...

Question for ya -- is flipping someone off considered a non-moving violation?  Naughty manners on the bridge seems worthy of a citation.  

Any-who...on to the the gripe du jour...

After suffering the bridge again today, this is what it comes down to...

2607ft = 0 mi 869.00yd

What is 2607 feet?  That is the total length of the West Seattle bridge.  Crazy, huh?   So how many miles long is the bridge?  That would be precisely "0" miles.  Yes, ZERO miles long.  What distance is left?   869 yards of concrete.  The bridge is only half a mile long.
 (thank you conversion site

Crossing that half-mile bridge took me 30 minutes.  That means I was traveling 1 mile an hour.  I can walk faster than that.   

Recap... I spent 30 minutes waiting to get off the bridge and head north onto I-5.  I was traveling at a blistering speed of 1 mile an hour ;)   When at a complete stand still, I was able to take a picture of the SODO sign (see below) whilst eating a sandwich and taking a nap.   

I contemplated those numbers today.   My conclusion...this situation is not acceptable.

Which brings me to the meat of why I started this blog...I spent 30 minutes on the West Seattle bridge with relative strangers -- people that actually happen to be neighbors.  It strikes me as funny that we don't know more about each other, given our shared bridge relationship.  We really should get to know each other better, maybe we'd be nicer and maybe we'd find our commute time a little less stressful knowing our bridge buddies have our back.  

But for now, my fellow bridge warriors -- can anyone answer me this...
Why is there only one lane going Northbound off the bridge!?   Something is terribly broken when it takes 30 minutes to cross a bridge that can be measured in yards with no miles.    

For the life of me, I can not figure out why there is only one piddly north bound lane when clearly that is the direction most of us need to go.   To be fair, there is only one southbound lane as well, and that also seems ludicrous given the amount of people jammed onto our nearly-island home of West Seattle.   

More condos are rising from the ashes of single family homes.  So the bridge congestion will predictably grow in proportion -- and I wonder if the developers worry about the lack of infrastructure to support the growth of our fine piece of real estate.  

Is West Seattle a joke to the DOT or is it the "City of Seattle" that doesn't value the time of its West Seattle residents?  

View from a bridge.  Taken while eating a sandwich and taking a nap.

For lots of information about bridge traffic and road conditions, check out the West Seattle Blog at
(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page) 6:53 AM: The West Seattle-vicinity routes have no problems reported at the moment, but there’s one huge problem affecting traffic a bit farther north: A wrong-way crash has eastbound Highway 520 shut down at Montlake. WSDOT says that might [...]