skip to main content
caption: Hallberg-Rassy sailboat travels underneath the Fremont Bridge on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, in Seattle. 
    Slideshow Icon 5 slides
Enlarge Icon
Hallberg-Rassy sailboat travels underneath the Fremont Bridge on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Um, why does that boat get priority over Seattle drivers?

You're in a hurry, about the cross the Fremont Bridge, and then it happens. You hear the bells, the arms come down. The bridge is opening for a boat and you're now stuck waiting for it to pass.

Jordan Lewis knows that reality all too well. He went to University of Washington and now lives near the University Bridge, one of nine drawbridges in the city.

Lewis likes the water. He kayaks and most of the time he thinks the city’s drawbridges are interesting and unique.

But other times, when he is really needing to get somewhere, he gets a little frustrated when the bridges go up.

'Sometimes if you're close enough you can kind of book it and make it across it, which I have done from time to time," Lewis said. "And sometimes you can’t get there in time."

But the thing that’s most annoying is when he and dozens or even hundreds of people are waiting for the bridge to open — and then when it does, a single sailboat goes through. Just one.

Enlarge Icon
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

"In the summer you'll see one drawbridge go up. And then five minutes later another boat will play its horn and they'll raise it up again. And so you're like, 'Why aren’t they just like coordinating this a little better?'" Lewis said.

Lewis said it seems unnecessary, pretty inefficient and a waste of resources. Also all those cars idling on the bridge? Not very environmentally friendly.

So Lewis wants to know, "Why are yachts and sailboats given priority of vehicular bike and pedestrian traffic on Seattle's many draw bridges?'"

We'll answer Lewis' question on this episode of SoundQs.

Listen to the episode by clicking the play button above or on your favorite podcast app. SoundQs is a weekly podcast where our KUOW reporters tackle questions submitted by our listeners.

Have a question about the Seattle region for us to answer? Drop it here: