Bicyclist sues city over Ballard Bridge accident

Last summer Terry McMacken was riding across the Ballard Bridge next to that low concrete wall when he was thrown into traffic and struck by a car. He lost his arm in the accident, and now he’s suing the city of Seattle, reports the Seattle PI. McMacken’s attorney says the city had received prior complaints that the Ballard Bridge guardrail is too low to protect cyclists. The city has not yet responded to the suit in court. (Thanks Nina for the link!)

Busy bridges on opening day

Saturday is the opening day of boating season which reminds us that summer is just around the corner. As with any opening day, the Fremont bridge and Ballard bridge will be going up and down more than usual. Boats are beginning to line up for the annual parade at 8 a.m. with the actual parade of boats going from noon to 2:30 p.m. Expect the most bridge activity before and after the parade. The Locks will also be pretty busy, so if the weather holds it may be a fun day to take the kids.

‘Seattle polite’ on the Ballard Bridge

We’ve all experienced this scenario: you’re sitting on 15th waiting for the Ballard Bridge to go down. Finally, traffic starts moving. Wahoo! You’re on your way, but there’s all those folks trying to merge on from Leary. The merge usually creates a “zipper” of sorts where one car on 15th goes, then a car from Leary, then 15th, and so on. Sophie asks in the PI’s “Getting There” section if this “zipper” is mandated by the law or if it’s just our Seattle/Ballard politeness. Turns out we’re just a bunch of nice people (most of the time) because the law doesn’t require you to let anyone in front of you.

Update: In comments below, John Eddy links the state law that says drivers who are merging into traffic “shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.” In other words, if nobody lets them in, they’re supposed to sit there until there’s a natural opening.

Ballard Bridge sculptures will return

In February of 2006, eight aluminum sculptures were removed from the Ballard Bridge after a fierce windstorm. One of the pieces of art was damaged, and the city worried that they could become a safety issue. Now over two years later, we’ve learned that the sculptures should be reinstalled in the next couple months. So what took so long? We spoke with Tiffany Hendrick at the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and she explained that negotiations over how to reinforce the pieces took longer than anticipated in part because the initial redesign plan was too expensive. But now a welder is at work strengthening the bases of the sculptures (which will not alter the design). And as soon as they’re repainted and pass an inspection from the engineering team, they’ll be reinstalled on the bridge. What’s the price, you ask? That’s not being disclosed. At least yet.

(Our thanks to Mary Jean for sending us an email to check this out.)

Obama posters blanket Ballard Bridge

Have you seen the Obama posters plastered to the uprights under the Ballard Bridge at Leary Way? I couldn’t stop to get a closer look, but from the passenger car window, the artwork appears to harken back to the style of the old Russian propaganda posters. Not trying to be political, but take a look and decide for yourself what you think.

You can see a closer photo of the poster here.