Residents of Seattle's South Park neighborhood gathered at the 14th Avenue bridge to send a message to the Governor and legislators who were expected to drive by on their way to a meeting celebrating the passage of national health care reform.  As the meeting began, a portion of the rally moved to that site, the Machinists Lodge 751 on 15th Avenue South.

The bridge, built in 1930, has needed replacement for over a decade. Numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made during that time to raise the funds needed. Recently, a federal grant of federal stimulus funds that had been expected didn't come through. Prior to that, the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) ballot initiative of 2007, that would have funded this and many other transportation projects around the state, was defeated by voters.

Now, the bridge is slated to be decommissioned at the end of June.  No replacement is expected immediately, and I heard comments from attendees at a recent public meeting that it would be at least two years before a new bridge would be operational, even if funding came through right away.

My take-away from that meeting (excellent coverage by West Seattle Blog), was that several business owners believe the closure will put them out of business.  At least two of these them have been operating here since the 1950s.

Twenty thousand vehicles cross the South Park bridge daily, including 5,000 trucks. This is a major connecting point from downtown Seattle and nearby neighborhoods to the industrial south of the region.

More photos appear below the fold.


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