Seattle City Council promises “support” for South Park Bridge $

As we reported last night, Seattle Mayor McGinn said the city would be hard-pressed to chip in money to help build a new South Park Bridge. Today, City Councilmembers have issued a statement saying they will “support” the county’s efforts to find money, adding – as the mayor had said yesterday – they “remain open to the possibility of making a contribution to the project from the City.” Read on for their news release (AND, ADDED 4:04 PM, reaction from the King County Executive):

Seattle City Councilmembers today expressed their support for the County’s efforts in seeking funds for the South Park Bridge replacement project.

“The South Park Bridge is a critical connection for multiple neighborhoods and a regional link for freight and transportation,” stated Council President Richard Conlin. “Today we commit to supporting Executive Constantine in every effort to obtain federal funding, including the next round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, as well as pursuing other regional funding options.”

Seattle City Council is committed to being a partner with the Executive and shares the sense of urgency for this vital economic corridor. Recognizing that no one entity can come up with the more than $100 million needed for bridge replacement, City Councilmembers consider regional development of a funding strategy to be imperative and remain open to the possibility of making a contribution to the project from the City.

“We pledge our support in working with King County and other agencies, governments and businesses to identify and secure funding for the South Park Bridge,” added Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “This is a matter of keeping our communities and freight and transportation system in the south end intact.”

“This is not just about regional transportation, but also the South Park neighborhood,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “While the bridge is a King County facility and the County appropriately is the lead in this project, Seattle cannot just stand by, and we are stepping up to the plate.”

ADDED 4:04 PM: Reaction from King County Executive Dow Constantine, in this news release:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today welcomed the letter he received today from the Seattle City Council pledging assistance in finding funding options for new South Park Bridge:

“I want to thank the Seattle City Council for its strong support of our regional efforts to fund a replacement for the deteriorating South Park Bridge. Their support will aid us in King County’s upcoming application for a federal stimulus grant.

“I also welcome their partnership in the effort to maintain access to this hard-working neighborhood.

“I know the many residents and businesses that depend on the South Park Bridge every day join me in recognizing the City Council members for their leadership.”

5 Replies to "Seattle City Council promises "support" for South Park Bridge $"

  • CB March 25, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    As predicted, the City Council is really running the city. Great to see their leadership on this very important infrastructure issue as the Mayor could care less.

  • dsa March 25, 2010 (8:48 pm)

    This is the cross jurisdictional teamwork needed to make the new bridge a reality. Thank you Seattle City Council for taking this action.

  • Ben March 26, 2010 (6:32 am)

    Typical Seattle action at the last minute. Where was the City Council’s “leadership” when the county originally asked for funding? I guess they were too busy building their own proposal for Mercer to worry about their citizens in South Park.

  • Sean March 26, 2010 (10:35 am)

    We all need to do more. I have sent an e-letter to the Governor, the state legislators for this district, the state transportation commission, our US Senators and Representative, the Seattle DOT, the mayor of Tukwila, and the Tukwila City Council. Here it is FEEL FREE TO COPY PASTE AND EDIT WITH YOUR INFO.

    I am writing you about the South Park Bridge in south Seattle. As an owner of a small contracting business that services many customers in the South Park community, I am gravely concerned about the negative impact the bridge’s closure will have on the entire community of South Park. The South Park area is a large part of the biggest industrial and manufacturing community in the State of Washington. It also has many small businesses that serve its diverse residential community, most of which is economically challenged. Many of these small businesses have expressed their certainty that they will not survive the decline in business that will result from the bridge closure. The surrounding communities will also be impacted by the diverted traffic. The bridge is scheduled to be permanently closed in June 2010.

    You may not be aware of the problem so I have included an excerpt from King County’s official website ( “In 2002, King County inspectors gave the bridge a score of 6 out of a possible 100, per Federal Highway Administration criteria. This rating has since fallen to 4….. The bridge’s replacement costs are currently estimated at $153 million. Over the past several years county officials have sought state and federal funding for the bridge’s replacement. If construction funding cannot be secured, the rapidly deteriorating bridge will need to be dismantled and removed in 2010 due to safety concerns.”

    To further complicate the matter, half of the bridge is in the City of Seattle, half is in the City of Tukwila, and it is “owned” by King County. I was hoping that you could help this community, and the surrounding ones, by helping to get any funding possible and/or help pull together the surrounding local agencies. I know it is unusual to have transportation projects funded by more than two or three governmental sources, but it may be the only way.

    Thank you for your consideration.


  • South Park denizen March 29, 2010 (8:53 am)

    Glad to see CB is on the job, spreading lies about the mayor for his rich bosses, while making it look like the city council has ever done *anything* to save the bridge. Building and Trades folks, come have a rally at the South Park Bridge and boo out the city council for preventing this shovel-ready project from moving forward.

    Up until last week, the city council has done everything they could do to keep the bridge from being replaced. If they had even bothered to send a letter to the federal government supporting the bridge, even without promising any matching money, the bridge might have gotten a grant.

    Unfortunately, the council, like this CB joker, had other priorities, like the Mercer beautification project. Only when McGinn opened his mouth did the council finally (way too late) change their position

    The city council, as well as Metro, have no plans to improve the bus routes in South Park as interim help. We can’t get better headway on the routes going downtown because those routes leave the city limits. The city and county won’t cooperate on a plan to increase runs on the 131, 132, or 134. Indeed Metro has ignored or dismissed every suggestion for improved bus service for South Park. There are some Metro bureaucrats there who are in desperate need of retirement. (Remember how Metro botched the snowstorm response, and nobody was held accountable until McGinn brought in a new SDOT head? Perhaps nobody noticed because he did it with too much grace.) I wish Executive Constantine would take a page from McGinn’s playbook, and get rid of some of the furniture.

    Here’s a few suggestions: Bring the 128 through South Park. That would give us a direct ride to a whole lot of West Seattle for the first time, including South Seattle Community College, as well as Tukwila International Boulevard Station — the gateway to commuting to southward destinations like the airport, Southcenter Mall, Federal Way, Tacoma, and Olympia. (The 131, 132, and 134 all get us to Burien, and not much else.)

    Or, extend the Rapid Ride Line C through South Park, Boulevard Park, and on down to Tukwila IB Station. Imagine if the Line C went from somewhere to somewhere, instead of just somewhere to random neighborhoods. Serving West Seattle and Vashon riders to take them to destinations both north and south would fill the buses up more and make them more cost-effective.

    Or, straighten out the 132 just a tad to have it head all the way down Military Rd S to Tukwila IB Station, instead of curving way over to Burien. Then the 122 (which mirrors the 132 before expressing to downtown) could end at Tukwila IB Station, saving Metro a decent wad on current operations costs, while giving people more reason to ride the 132. Oooh, you should see the dead silence Metro gives to ideas that improve service while saving money.

    Meanwhile, for those of us just trying to walk across the Duwamish, there must be something cheap and simple we can do. Gondolas? Mini-ferries? Paddleboats? That crossing is too important to make everyone walk a couple miles to the nearest bridge (which won’t happen since there is no safe way to do so).

    Removing the bridge isn’t just about impacted automobile trips (which WSDOT clearly exaggerates since more people will choose the bus over being stuck in congestion). It’s about stranded pedestrians. Why can’t we keep the bridge open to foot and bike traffic while automobiles are roped off? It’s not as if the foot traffic will cause the bridge to collapse. Engineers: Please, please, please include foot-and-bike-only modeling in your testing, and tell us that the bridge will not collapse if only non-motorized traffic is allowed.

Sorry, comment time is over.