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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

June 24, 2010 at 10:23 AM

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South Park: Time to get around the bridge

Posted by Gabriel Campanario

southpark-carlosurbanm.jpg

I met Carlos Urban on bus 60 on my way to South Park. Carlos was commuting to work from Beacon Hill to White Center.

This bus, which starts its route on Capitol Hill, will be redirected through the First Avenue Bridge starting Wednesday at 5:00 a.m., a few hours before the South Park bridge will be permanently closed at 7.00 p.m. The reroute is likely to add 20 minutes each way to Urban's daily commute, depending on traffic. Buses 131 and 134 will also be rerouted through the First Avenue Bridge.

"I'll have to get up earlier in the morning," said Urban in Spanish with a shrug. "It'll be a matter of getting used to it." He was aware of the bridge's poor condition but didn't know about the closure.

Sitting behind Urban was Craig Colwes, a Capitol Hill resident on its way to South Park, where his son is opening a restaurant soon. "The plans for the replacement of the bridge should have been done 10 years ago," he said. "To wait this long seems disrespectful of the people who live there."

southpark-shelleyglennm.jpg

Soon after I started sketching John Nguyen while he waited to get on the 60 at 14th Avenue South, Shelley Glenn took interest in my sketch and shared her anger about the bridge closing. "Look at how old the viaduct is and this bridge has been here forever and it doesn't seem to be that unsafe," she said.

Before Nguyen's bus arrived, he was nice to hand write his name on my sketch, since I didn't know how to spell it. He said he was going to Seattle to see his family.

spcommutersstopm.jpg

At a different neighborhood bus stop I met another longtime South Park resident who goes by Betty Jean. She said the bridge closure is going to close South Park down. Because many Boeing employees cross it daily to patronize South Park businesses, Jean said the company should help pay for a new one. "If they can make a billion dollar plane, they can foot the bill."

Jean is one of many South Park neighbors who uses bus 60 to cross the river to go to Beacon Hill. "A lot of people who get on the 60 go to the VA Hospital," she said. "A lot of them are in wheel chairs."

About this series
The South Park Bridge is set to shut down Wednesday night, and a replacement could be years away. I spent three days sketching around the neighborhood and these are some of the scenes I captured:
-South Park neighborhood prepares to lose its bridge.

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