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Alert 4/20-28: Spokane Street Bridge trail closed without a safe bike detour – UPDATED

Map of the closure, showing no access on the Spokane Street Swing Bridge.
From SDOT.

UPDATE 4/29: The project was completed, and the bridge and trail reopened on schedule.

UPDATE 4/16: SDOT has shaved a day off the start of the trail closure, saying, “We realized we could accomplish the work planned that day without closing the bridge until April 20.” We have updated this post accordingly.

The walking and biking trail on the Spokane Street Bridge will be closed April 20–28, and SDOT will not be building a safe bike route through SoDo like they did in January 2023. Instead, the city is offering a free daily round trip ticket on the bus or West Seattle Water Taxi.

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The closure is part of a larger project to reroute the wiring for the swing bridge controls under the Duwamish River rather than along the high bridge. When the bridge will be inoperable due to scheduled maintenance, maritime travel gets priority so the city must leave it swung open. Because the city decided in the 80s to build the upper West Seattle Bridge as a freeway with no biking and walking access (despite significant protests) there is no easy detour option.

Options for people biking boil down to putting your bike on a bus, taking the water taxi, or detouring miles out of the way to the 1st Avenue Bridge. The Duwamish Trail is now fully connected from Spokane Street to the 1st Ave Bridge on the west side of the river, but there is no dedicated bike route on the east side. Anyone biking the detour should be prepared to navigate busy industrial streets. 1st Ave to Spokane Street is probably the least bad option for heading toward downtown via the usual bike route on E Marginal Way north of Spokane Street.

Below are instructions on how to get a free bus or water taxi round trip, which requires a phone and the Transit Go app:

  1. Download the Transit Go Ticket app and create an account. 
  2. Click on “Rewards,” select “More,” then tap “Rewards Code” and enter code LOWBRIDGE24.    
  3. Tap “Claim” and then the “Redeem” tab; you will see “Low Bridge Closure” tickets available for King County Metro Bus or King County Water Taxi.   
  4. Select the ticket of your choice and tap “Redeem for Free” and “View Ticket.” You can see your tickets any time under “Use”. 
  5. When you are ready to ride, tap on your ticket and then “Activate”; show it to your transit operator. 
  6. Visit “Redeem” to follow these steps again for your reverse trip. 
  7. Once you’ve used this code, it will allow you to redeem two tickets for each further day the low bridge is closed (while supplies last). Just visit the Redeem tab in Rewards for those additional tickets. 

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3 responses to “Alert 4/20-28: Spokane Street Bridge trail closed without a safe bike detour – UPDATED”

  1. R

    I remember a time ca. 1988 when the low bridge was closed and SDOT actually ran a shuttle van towing a bicycle trailer across the high bridge. I guess that’s too complicated for them these days.

  2. D.L.

    Its all about cars cars cars and big expensive roads.

  3. S

    reading all 7 steps needed for a free trip then they sneak in “while supplies last” at the end. hopefully they would provide an ample amount of free rides

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