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In the shadow of the June 30 South Park Bridge closure, local advocacy groups are studying how to best mitigate the transportation nightmare of diverting the bridge's daily flood of 20,000 cars and trucks—not to mention cyclists and pedestrians—to the First Avenue South Bridge. The Duwamish Transportation Management Association has partnered with two organizations for this study: Cascade Bicycle Club and Feet First.

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A few of their ideas already have South Park residents excited: connecting the Duwamish River Trail to the Green River Trail for cyclists, and launching a mosquito fleet—boats that would ferry walk-on passengers over the Duwamish River, from Georgetown and Boeing to South Park.

Cascade Bicycle Club spokeswoman Tessa Greegor says that as congestion heightens on the First Avenue Bridge, "it’s going to be pretty critical that other modes of transportation rises to the surface. This is a great opportunity from an infrastructure and bicycle standpoint."

Greegor points to the major gap between South Park and the start of the Green River Trail. Currently, the Duwamish River trail ends at the First Avenue S Bridge, where bike commuters are spit into heavy truck and freight corridors that lack bike infrastructure and signage. Extending that trail to meet up with the Green River Trail would be a huge boon for cyclist commuters. The problem, of course, is getting funding for such a project. But Greegor says "the city may have the ability to make that trail connection with funding from the Pro Parks Levy."

Meanwhile, Feet First executive director Lisa Quinn says people are exploring the feasibility of running a mosquito fleet across the Duwamish River, between Boeing and South Park. "Businesses rely on people from Boeing and Georgetown to come over for lunch. We're trying to reinvent how they get there." Quinn explains that people will gravitate towards the easiest, quickest form of transportation available, so "our goal is to make that walking commute feasible, easy, and quick."

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Another issue for pedestrians in South Park: bus access. Quinn says the rerouting of the buses once the South Park bridge closes means that buses will provide more coverage but less frequency, and "there's a lack of sidewalks to bus stops and huge drainage issues," she says. "When it rains, people are just standing in water, waiting for buses in the middle of nowhere. We need platforms. We need to make bus stops less desolate and more inviting."


The work of the Duwamish TMA, Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club is funded by a Port of Seattle grant to study congestion and air quality in targeted communities—South Park, Sodo, Georgetown, and Tukwila—over a period of two years. In June, the groups will present a final report on South Park that lists recommendations for strengthening non-motorized transportation in the community in terms of low, medium, and high priorities. Quinn says that the idea is to revisit South Park in another year for a progress check. "At that time, we'll see the baseline of what our study recommended, what's actually been accomplished, and then make adjustments. There are a lot of moving pieces right now, some people are calling [the bridge closure] a transportation nightmare, but I think we're hitting on a lot of possibilities, and that's very exciting."

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