On Wednesday, June 30th at 7 pm, the South Park Bridge will be closed indefinitely. Due to safety concerns, the City of Seattle has no choice but to close the bridge until a completely new one can be built. After starting regular trips down to South Park to visit Marra Farm, I was really shocked to hear about all the controversy over the South Park bridge. Initially I didn’t even know that the bridge was scheduled to close, but when I learned how traffic between Seattle and South Park would change, and how unprepared the city still is to handle the impact of the closure, it seemed very unfair to the South Park community, and the thought of the impact on our farm program was worrisome, too.
The bridge closure will have a significant effect on the Marra Farm community – South Park will no longer be directly connected to downtown Seattle, and all local, commercial and airport traffic will be combined on the 1st Ave South Bridge route, and will cause major delays and backups. While we hope it will not be the case, traffic problems may reduce communication and interaction between South Park and Seattle residents.
The city has created a plan to help boost South Park’s residential draw by assisting local businesses and events and increasing the amount of green space. Residents in the affected area are worried about their community’s vitality and presence in the Seattle community, but we can all help by continuing to frequent our favorite shops and restaurants in South Seattle, volunteer in the community, and take part in public events in the area. There is so much culture in South Park from food to festivals, and summer is the most exciting time of year for our urban farm; a little traffic shouldn’t keep you from all the fun! You can also help by making sure that city officials know this is an important issue that deserves adequate funding, so that a new bridge can be built promptly and resolve the traffic and communication issue.
For more information on the bridge closing and proposed community projects, please visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/SouthParkBridge.aspx
For our dedicated volunteers at Marra Farm: please be sure to take the changed traffic flow into account – if you are coming from I-5 you will now have to take S Michigan St through Georgetown and go across the 1st Ave S bridge, and the commute may be a bit longer for the first few months after the bridge closing. But certainly don’t let the traffic keep you away!
– Isobel, the Lettuce Link intern
PS: Not to be missed, the South Park community will be holding a “wake” on bridge-closing night. See the South Park website for more info.