South Park Bridge farewell, report #3: More photos

July 1, 2010 at 2:52 am | In South Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Photo by Kevin McClintic)
Around 8 o’clock Wednesday night, the South Park Bridge‘s final opening was also a severing of the physical tie to the other side of the Duwamish. “Half of Boeing came here for lunch,” Boeing employee Michael told WSB contributor Keri DeTore; Georgetown Community Council Chair Holly Krejci said: “Georgetown will miss the connection and solidarity with South Park.” SP resident John added, “Life just got a lot harder — we as a community can’t sustain these businesses. We have to make this (neighborhood) a destination — this is the best neighborhood I’ve ever lived in.”

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
But at least for the night, the concern about the years ahead without a bridge – even with funding for a new one starting to build up, it wouldn’t be done for at least three years – was eclipsed by the party atmosphere of the bridge wake, on the bridge and alongside it:

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli)
Classic old transit buses were the final vehicles to cross. Earlier – perhaps in homage to the bridge’s age (70) – other classic vehicles were seen:

(Photo by Kevin McClintic)
Meantime, more than a few elected officials came to South Park for the bridge sendoff, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, photographed talking with King County Transportation Director Harold Taniguchi:

(Photo by Keri DeTore)
The mayor told Keri: “We’ve worked to provide support to the local businesses and will work with the community. We have an interdepartmental team of police, fire, SDOT, neighborhood and economic groups to provide services to the broader community. We will do our share to work on the bridge replacement.” Similar vows have come from county elected officials like Councilmember Jan Drago, decked in a pink hat and pink boa – same color on the tulle that fluttered from the bridge as it went up:

(Photo by Tracy Record)
Though $80 million has been raised toward funding a new bridge, many are concerned about where the remaining $50 million will be found. South Park resident Betty had an idea: “Put single moms in charge of the funding — they’ll get it done!” Speaking of done, the end of bridge operations means the end of the line for bridge tenders here:

(Photo by Kevin McClintic)
One last round of photos – this is a Flickr grouping from the occasional contributor we refer to as Junior Member of the Team – he was part of the five-member WSB team covering the historic occasion:

And we also have a shot to add from the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) bridge memorial – customers were invited to help build a bridge:

The Feedback, of course, created what was pretty much the official shirt of the wake – everywhere you turned, someone was wearing the distinctive white-on-black shirt (as you can see in many of our photos).

Ahead: A video collection of highlights, plus “what’s next” for the bridge-replacement project and its neighbors.

4 Comments

  1. The historic buses are part of MEHVA‘s (Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association), an all volunteer group dedicated to preserving our region’s Transit History.

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    In a nutshell, with Metro Transit’s co-operation, they have saved One Representative Coach of each make/model operated by Metro, and it’s pre-merger predecessors Seattle Transit and King County’s Metropolitan Transit Corp.

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    Six times a year, Mehva offers Excursions on some of it’s historic coaches, two trolley bus trips (the first of this year’s was a few weeks ago), and four motor bus trips.

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    Being a long time Metro rider, and a bit of a bus geek, I’ve enjoyed going on some of these trips over the last few years, not only for the enjoyment of going on a scenic trip, and getting to parts of King County that I may not get to on a regular basis, (or even the town of Snohomish during it’s yearly Kla Ha Ya Days celebration and car show coming up July 18th), but it’s fun to ride buses that I rode many years ago, when they were in regular service.

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    Late last Summer, after intending to do so for years, I finally joined up as an Associate Member. Any current or retired Metro employees can join up, and non-employees can join as well, with limited privileges.

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    Because of that, I was able to attend a “coach cleaning party” at Metro’s South Base last December, to help clean up the interiors of the coaches in preparation for the Santa’s Lights Tour. :cool: Had a lot of fun, although I didn’t make it on the bus excursion itself.

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    Please note, that I’m not posting this as a spokesperson for MEHVA in any manner, just as a fan! :)

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    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:22 am July 1, 2010 #

  2. that sounds like a story unto itself. we certainly have TONS of photos of the buses from last night. Thanks, Mike! The “red” one reminded me in particular of the models that were predominant in LA during the six years I lived there as a kid, late ’60s-early ’70s. By the time I was old enough to ride the bus by myself, we’d moved on to Honolulu, which had an incredible bus system and a mix of coach types, including some of the rounded-top models (also seen last night) which were particularly popular for getting up steep hills. Memories! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:42 am July 1, 2010 #

  3. The red one is a General Motors “New Look” that debuted around 1959. Seattle Transit acquired theirs in 1968.

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    I don’t remember all of the details off the top of my head, but the US Govt subsidized, or at least urged bus manufacturers to come up with a more inviting design to encourage people to ride public transit, hence the sleeker, more streamlined coach design, and larger windows. (Though those windows are much smaller by the standards of the transit coaches built in the last 35 years or so! ;) )

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    The other prominent New Look coachmaker was Flxible out of Loudonville Ohio. Seattle Transit acqired 100 of those in 1963.

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    But, yeah, the New Looks form both builders were pretty prominent in municipal transit systems for decades. I believe they are also amongst the most popular from many bus drivers’ standpoint, being considered more dependable than coaches built before or after.

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    One note I forgot to mention in my OP, regarding the colors of the coaches; MEHVA has, for the most part, restored each coach to it’s color scheme, or “livery”, that was original to it in the Seattle Transit System.

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    Two exceptions that I know of, are the rounded top bus pictured, (a GMC “Old Look”) and the Flxible New Look. Thes coaches were originally green and white, and then painted the red color after the GM New Looks were acquired. IIRC, the reason MEHVA chose the red over the green for the Flxible, is becasue they were mostly remembered for being that color, while being owned by Seattle Transit.

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    The GM Old Look, is in the “Sunrise” livery, that Metro chose as it’s color scheme when they took over the system in 1973. I don’t recall the reason for MEHVA not repainting the GM Old Look red. It may be as simple as cost.

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    Did I mention I’m a bit of a bus geek? :P

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    Mike

    Comment by miws — 11:10 am July 1, 2010 #

  4. WONDERFUL photos!! I’m just sad for the reason to post them in the first place. Hopefully, Seattle will step up to the plate and replace this bridge so the community of Southpark isn’t cut off forever from the Boeing/SoDo area.

    Comment by Cheryl — 10:53 pm July 1, 2010 #

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