Reconnect West Seattle Community Outreach

The unexpected closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge dramatically impacted West Seattle and the nearby Duwamish Valley communities. We have a vision to restore travel across the Duwamish to similar levels seen before the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. At the same time, we want to reduce the impact of increased detour traffic in the Duwamish Valley neighborhoods like Highland Park and South Park.   

To achieve this vision, we need your help in identifying challenges, prioritizing solutions, and creating a plan that will help people safely ride the bus, bike, walk, or take a water taxi as the phased reopening of our economy continues. Just as there are many ways to get around, there are many transportation partners in Reconnect West Seattle. We will share the results of this survey and work closely with King County Metro, Washington State Ferries, Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance.  

Jump to the Challenge section skip to solutions section Skip to neighborhood prioritization  skip to mobility action plan section skip to bike section skip to freight section skip to materials section

What's Happening Now?

Thank you to all the community members who completed the Reconnect West Seattle survey and filled out the Neighborhood Prioritization ballots. The surveys and ballots closed on Friday, July 31. We received nearly 17,000 responses that guided us in prioritizing immediate and long-term community needs and projects to best mitigate the impacts of the High-Bridge closure and corresponding detour routes.

Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan

Community feedback guided the creation of our Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan, which was shared at the eighth West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting on September 9. The Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan describes initial planned investments for neighborhood mitigation projects, bike projects, freight projects, and projects/services to support mobility. Additionally, it is an iterative, ongoing dialogue that envisions how we can achieve a reconnected West Seattle peninsula.

While you can read the full implementation plan here, there are a few areas we want to highlight:

  • In 2021, we're adding the Home Zone Program to coordinate, combine, and deliver safety and speed reduction efforts. A home zone plan involves the entire neighborhood working together to prioritize improvements that calm traffic, and improve pedestrian mobility and neighborhood livability.
  • We're making an initial investment of $6 million for 2020-2021 project implementation, and additional funding allocation will be informed by project scoping, race/social equity, population, travel demand, and other considerations.
  • We're implementing 23 community-prioritized actions in 2020 to improve mobility and neighborhood safety. 
  • In the Fall of 2020, 32 projects/program elements will be moving into the project development phase for 2021 implementation.   

Community Task Force Meetings 

The West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Community Task Force is holding its next virtual meeting Wednesday, September 23, at 12 noon. All Community Task Force meetings are now streamed live on YouTube and we invite you to watch. Meetings are biweekly on Wednesdays at 12 noon. 

Link to watch the meeting live on September 23 at 12 noon.

This week's meeting will include an update on the High-Rise Bridge stabilization progress, an overview of upcoming changes on West Marginal Way, and an update on the cost-benefit analysis for the repair or replace decision for the High-Rise Bridge. The Task Force members will also break into two smaller groups to discuss the cost-benefit analysis.

The Challenge

The challenge for all of us is that prior to the bridge closure, a good portion of people in West Seattle drove cars on and off the peninsula. Now that the bridge is closed, there are not enough travel lanes to support the same number of cars on the road. We need people to start thinking about other ways to move around. We want to know what you would need to make that change.

Pie chart of how people got around in 2019. 81% used cars, 17% used buses, 1% used water taxis, 1% used bikes. No data for teleworking or people walking. These numbers represent eastbound trips per hour during peak morning travel timesPie chart showing impact if no actions were taken now that the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge is closed. 17% people in buses, 28% people in cars, 1% people on water taxis, 1% people in cars, 53% reduced bridge capacity. Numbers represent eastbound trips per hour during peak morning travel times

  


Before the bridge closure, there were 21 vehicle travel lanes crossing the Duwamish River. Now there are 12 that are mostly in the southern part of West Seattle. During peak eastbound morning commute hours in 2019, car trips made up about 82% of all trips crossing the Duwamish. If no actions are taken to help those who previously drove, there would be a 53% gap once traffic slowly returns to pre-COVID levels. This is the challenge that we must collectively solve to reconnect West Seattle.  The closure creates unique challenges in different parts of West Seattle and surrounding communities:   

North: While the north end of the peninsula has a driving capacity disadvantage today, there are promising water, transit and rolling opportunities in 2021

South: The bridge closure and detour disproportionately impacts the south end of West Seattle where communities already face higher levels of pollution, including:

  • Proximity to the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site, one of the most toxic hazardous waste sites in the nation  
  • Air pollution from a disproportionate number of polluting industries  
  • Air pollution from surrounding major highways - State Highways 99 and 509, and I-5  

Consequently, people in these southen communities face greater health, public safety, and economic disparities, including higher rates of asthma and lower rates for life expectancy. This is also a race and social justice issue as the Duwamish Valley community is far more diverse than much of Seattle. In South Park, 63% of residents are people of color and 40% speak a language other than English at home.  

The Solution

With help from us and our transportation partners, we need every person in West Seattle to, within their means, consider how they can change how they travel. We need more people to start taking the bus and water taxi, riding bikes, walking, or continue to work from home. Please take our survey and tell us how we can help you make these changes.  

To accomplish this, we're setting some ambitious targets for ourselves - and for you - to change how you get around in the future when social distancing requirements are lifted. You can see the data behind these goals in our Reconnect West Seattle Framework. Here is our goal for have people get around in 2021 during peak commute hours, typically 6-9 am and 3-7 pm, and the change needed to get there: 

Pie chart showing our goal for how people get around in 2021. People in cars 35%, People in buses 30%, people on water taxis 10%, people on bikes 10%, people walking 5% The change needed per hour for hour people get around. 4,600 less people drive. 1,1280 more people take the bus, 950 more people take water taxi, 940 more people ride bike, 1,000 more people telework, 500 more people walk

 

WHAT IS SDOT DOING RIGHT NOW? 

We know that not everyone will be able to change the way they travel. We are doing what we can to help people who continue to drive cars and freight trucks, as well as ride bikes, by updating the markings on the road, adjusting signal timing, and improving road signs. We are also continuing to monitor the condition of the bridge and are currently looking at all options to either repair or replace the bridge. In addition we are: 

  • Working with neighborhoods like Highland Park, South Park, Georgetown, and SODO to prioritize projects that will reduce the impact of increased detour traffic through their communities. Through our Reconnect West Seattle survey that closed on July 31, we collected nearly 17,000 responses from community members on which projects they prioritized in their communities.
  • Prioritizing transit connections to and from West Seattle 
  • Building new bicycle projects
  • Establishing and improving the detour routes through revised traffic signal timing, signage, and real-time information

The Path Forward

A flow diagram graphic showing the Reconnect West Seattle process by Action.    Actions 1&2: MAR - JUN Community Decides Projects for SDOT to Consider  The flow for this Action: Public Input - Revise Concepts - Identify and Prioritize Projects  Next Step  ACTION 3: JUL 10-31 SDOT Updates and Confirms Project Prioritization  Top Projects Shared with Community SDOT collects input on comprehensive list of proposed projects, prioritized by the community  Next Step ACTION 4: SEPT 9-2020 -WE ARE HERE Begin Building Project and Starting Programs  Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan Prioritized projects assigned to one of three categories: 1. Project already underway/ongoing 2. Scheduled for 2020 implementation 3. Advances for project development for 2021 implementation  Next Step ACTION 5: 2021; ONGOING Ongoing Work with Communities on Impacts and Priorities  SDOT and community work together to confirm priorities, scope projects and evaluate results. SDOT reports quarterly on project implementation status.  In parallel to this flow is the Mobility Action Plan projects and programs implemented with agency partners, and Ongoing detour route management and implementation of larger, long-term projects.

Your responses to the Reconnect West Seattle Survey also informed us on which projects communities wanted to focus on. Read our full Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan here. 

Neighborhood Prioritization Process

In order to deal with the major increase in traffic on the detour routes, we looked to the community to help us prioritize what transportation projects we should put in place immediately. 

We compiled a list of transportation projects in SODO, South Park, Georgetown, Roxhill, Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge and asked these communities to prioritize projects that will be most helpful at this time to improve safety and traffic outcomes.   

We asked folks who live or work in Roxhill, Highland Park, Riverview, South Delridge, SODO, Georgetown, or South Park to fill out a neighborhood prioritization process ballot that closed on July 31st. We wanted to make this an inclusive process and hear from all community members that live or work in these neighborhoods. We were especially invested in hearing from people that have traditionally not been involved in these conversations in the past and offered these surveys in Spanish, traditional Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, Oromo, Korean, Khmer, and English. Paper ballots were also mailed to community members upon request.

We received nearly 17,000 responses. See the survey results and each community's project prioritization list by clicking on the links below. 

THE PROJECT LISTS 

The list of potential projects was generated from ideas we have received from the community, along with some of our own ideas, and projects from existing transportation and neighborhood plans, like the Bike Master Plan, Transit Master Plan, and the Pedestrian Master Plan. While a much larger mix of projects remain on our radar, we recognize the need for immediate action. Therefore, the lists include projects that can be completed quickly and cost less than $100,000.

MAKING A PLAN TOGETHER  

Moving forward, SDOT will work with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force to look at the ideas presented to us through the lens of budget restrictions, potential transportation-related conflict, equity, safety, mobility, sustainability, livability and community support.   

We will make every attempt to honor the neighborhoods' feedback and suggestions; however, not all projects will be able to move forward. Once the plans are developed, we will hold a follow-up meeting with the neighborhoods to discuss and create a plan for action. We should note that as we better understand the financial implications of the new economy, we'll work with you to right-size the project list to fit the challenges we all face.   

TIMELINE 

July 10: Neighborhood Plans are released to community and ballots open   

July 10 - 31: With SDOT playing a support role, community organizations and neighborhoods will prioritize a list of potential actions and projects specific to their neighborhood.  

August: SDOT and WSB Community Task Force analyze community feedback  

September: Reconnect West Seattle Plan

Reconnect West Seattle Mobility Action Plan

The Reconnect West Seattle Mobility Action Plan aims to move as many people on and off the peninsula as possible despite significantly reduced travel lanes, while also reducing the impact of increased detour traffic through neighborhoods like Highland Park and South Park.  In order to maintain steady movement across the Duwamish, we need every person in West Seattle to, within their means, consider how they can travel to and from West Seattle without a car.   

With limited bridge capacity, SDOT and our agency partners need to provide alternatives for the traveling public that greatly reduce demands on the road network. This includes prioritizing bus and water taxi service, providing appropriate infrastructure for cyclists, and acknowledging the different options available to the various neighborhoods of West Seattle.   

Just as there are many ways to get around, there are many transportation partners in Reconnect West Seattle. We will share the results of this survey and work closely with King County Metro, the Washington State Ferries, the Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance.  

Our Reconnect West Seattle survey closed on July 31. 

TIMELINE 

July 10 - 31: Mobility Action Plan Survey is open  

August: SDOT and WSB Community Task Force analyze community feedback

September: SDOT will develop an Implementation Plan based on community feedback that will identify the commitments and milestones needed to move toward implementation.      

Bike Network Prioritization Process

We have heard and gathered proposals and feedback directly from bike community members who are deeply and rightfully concerned about how they will bike on, off, and throughout the peninsula. The Bike Network Prioritization Process aims to fill gaps in our existing bike network in West Seattle so more people feel safe and empowered to bike commute, if able. We know not everyone can substitute a bike for all or even a portion of their trips to and from West Seattle. For those who can, however, it will be essential that they explore this option. 

This portion of the Reconnect West Seattle framework enables the bike community to lead and prioritize which projects you feel, as a community, will best mitigate the impacts of the High-Bridge closure and corresponding detour routes.  

We invited bikers in West Seattle and neighboring areas to take our Reconnect West Seattle Survey. To reach the most people, we included the bike network prioritization process questions in the Reconnect West Seattle Survey. In the survey, we asked bikers to prioritize their top bike network improvement projects. The survey closed on July 31st. 

PROJECT LISTS 

The list of potential projects was generated from ideas we have received from community, along with some of our own ideas, and projects from existing transportation and neighborhood plans, like the Bike Master Plan, Transit Master Plan, and the Pedestrian Master Plan. While a much larger mix of projects remain on our radar, we recognize the need for immediate action. Therefore, the lists include projects that can be completed quickly and cost less than $100,000.

Here is the list of potential bike network projects that the community helped prioritize through the Reconnect West Seattle surveys and ballots, which closed on July 31.

PRIORITIZED AND PLANNED PROJECTS

After community prioritization, SDOT worked with the Community Task Force to finalize the Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan and the bike projects included within that plan. Bike projects planned for 2020 completion can be found in the Implementation Plan on pages 8-9 and those planned to move into project development for 2021 completion can be found on pages 10-13. For a map of these projects, please see page 31

MAKING A PLAN TOGETHER 

SDOT will work with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force to look at the ideas presented to us through the lens of budget restrictions, potential transportation-related conflict, equity, safety, mobility, sustainability, and livability. We will make every attempt to honor the community's feedback and suggestions. However, not all projects will be able to move forward. Once the plans are developed, we will hold a follow-up meeting with your neighborhood to discuss and create a plan for action. As we better understand the financial implications of the new economy, we will work with you to right-size the project list to fit the challenges we all face. Your feedback will give us a starting place for keeping West Seattle and surrounding communities moving and safe.  

TIMELINE 

July 10: Bike Network Plans are released to community and Reconnect West Seattle Survey opens with bike project prioritization 

July 10 - 31: Community prioritizes bike projects 

August: SDOT and WSB Community Task Force analyze community feedback to inform the Reconnect West Seattle Plan 

September: Reconnect West Seattle Plan  

Freight Network Prioritization Process

The closure of the high rise bridge and increase of traffic along freight routes has greatly impacted Seattle's freight and maritime community, which supports tens of thousands of jobs along the Duwamish River and across Harbor Island, as well as the critical supply chain to Alaska, Hawaii, and across the globe. Maintaining the free movement of goods is critical to the economic health of the region and will be even more essential as we better understand the financial implications of the new economy. We have heard and gathered proposals and feedback directly from freight community members who are deeply and rightfully concerned about how they will move goods on, off, and through the peninsula and Harbor Island. The Freight Network Prioritization Process portion of the Reconnect West Seattle framework aims to fill gaps in the freight network and build needed connections. Access to Terminal 5, Terminal 18, and other key locations in the Spokane Street and West Marginal Way corridors will be a focus of this effort.   

PROJECT LISTS 

We compiled a comprehensive list of potential freight projects recommended by the freight community and generated by SDOT. While a much larger mix of projects remain on our radar, we recognize the need for immediate action. Therefore, the lists include projects that can be completed quickly and cost less than $100,000.

PRIORITIZED AND PLANNED PROJECTS

After community prioritization, SDOT worked with the Community Task Force and the Freigh Advisory Board to finalize the Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan and the freight projects included within that plan. Freight projects planned for 2020 completion can be found in the Implementation Plan on pages 8-9 and those planned to move into project development for 2021 completion can be found on pages 10-13. For a map of these projects, please see page 31

MAKING A PLAN TOGETHER WITH THE FREIGHT COMMUNITY 

This process continues to be a partnership between SDOT, our agency partners, and the freight community. Through the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, we hope to engage members of the freight community including the Maritime Townhall, The Port of Seattle, and Freight Advisory Board. We are asking these groups to reach out to their constituents and prioritize the ideas and projects they feel would be most beneficial. We are here to help with technical assistance and any questions that may come up. While the freight community can decide which criteria are most important to them, we consider each of our projects through the lens of equity, safety, mobility, sustainability, livability, and community support, and think these could serve as a helpful metric for you, too. We are also asking you to consider the cost of implementing ideas. We will be using these same criteria to determine which projects to consider. 

Everyone can be involved in this process even if you are not connected with the freight community. To share your feedback, contact us at westseattlebridge@seattle.gov or 206-400-7511.  

TIMELINE 

Through June 2020: SDOT has been working with the Seattle Freight Advisory Board to identify and review the different sets of freight strategies.  

July - August 2020: SDOT will work with freight and maritime industry stakeholders and the Seattle Freight Advisory Board to prioritize a list of potential actions and projects specific to this modal networks. 

September 2020: We will work with our engineers, the West Seattle Community Task Force and the Mayor's Office to consider projects the community has prioritized. We will report back to the community on the next steps and path forward.  

Reconnect West Seattle Outreach Materials

Letters to community groups:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Surveys and the West Seattle Mobility Action Survey are both collecting critical information to inform the development of the Reconnect West Seattle plan.  

  • Reconnect West Seattle SurveyThis survey is for everyone who lives or works in West Seattle. The survey is the community's chance to let us and our partners know what they need to move on and off the West Seattle peninsula at similar rates to before the High-Rise Bridge closure, but with a significant reduction in travel lanes. 

  • The Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Surveys and the West Seattle Mobility Action Survey are both collecting critical information to inform the development of the Reconnect West Seattle plan.  

Each community-led prioritization process will generate a list of the highest priority projects for us to build. The Mobility Action Plan survey will identify needed strategies to help people move on and off the peninsula in ways other than their car.  We will synthesize both survey results and share them with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force in August. The Task Force represents 39 community members and elected officials with a variety of perspectives. Working with the Task Force's input, we will develop project prioritization plans and a list of highest-priority mobility strategies. In September, the plan will be finalized with both 2020 and 2021 implementation schedules.    

We are working closely with our partners at King County, the Washington State Ferries, the Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit,and the Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance to identify more travel options to help West Seattle travelers. We meet weekly to explore the feasibility of different ideas - including expanded water taxi service or increased transit service. Your voice is needed to help us understand how you traveled before, how you're traveling today, and what you need to help you travel in the future.

  

  • The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force represents 39 community members and elected officials with a variety of perspectives about how people are impacted by the West Seattle High Bridge closure. Working with the Task Force's input, we will use survey results and neighborhood ballots to develop project prioritization plans and a list of highest-priority mobility strategies. In September, the plan will be finalized with both 2020 and 2021 implementation schedules.    
  • The Community Task Force is uniquely positioned to look across all impacted neighborhoods and users and help us and transportation agency partners balance many needs, prioritize the projects that are the most important, and inform difficult decisions that will need to be made with few resources.