One of the most unappealing traits of many of my South Seattle neighbors is a deep cynicism about any government initiative in the neighborhood. It’s certainly a reasonable reaction to decades of policy veering between neglect and outright malice, but when it raises questions about something like light rail it can stand in the way of progress for the neighborhood.
On the other hand, it’s inconceivable that the authorities* would allow a major water crossing — say, the Fremont Bridge — to simply degrade to the point of uselessness anywhere but South Park. For three years riders on Route 60 from Georgetown to South Park had to endure a costly, time-consuming, congested diversion via the First Avenue South bridge. Fortunately, on Monday morning at 6am the bridge will reopen to traffic. On Sunday afternoon there will be festivities.
More importantly to us, Route 60 will have a more direct route:
The new South Park Bridge on 14th/16th Ave. S. will open for service between South Park and Georgetown at 6 a.m. Monday, June 30. At that time, two bus stops will reopen northbound and southbound on 14th Ave. S. just north of S. Cloverdale St., serving the South Park business community.
When the bridge opens, Route 60 will operate its former routing on 14th and 16th Ave. S. between Cloverdale St. and East Marginal Way S. Route 60 will no longer operate on 14th Ave. S. between Cloverdale St. and Highway 99, and on East Marginal Way S. between the 1st Avenue South Bridge and Carleton Ave S. Operating via the South Park Bridge is expected to save about 5-8 minutes per trip in each direction.
According to Metro’s Rochelle Ogershok, schedules on the Metro website will reflect the reduced travel time on Monday. The data feed to OneBusAway, Google Transit, and Trip Planner will reflect the change on July 5th. Metro is also printing new paper schedules.
Together with the “temporary” elimination of the VA Hospital Loop, the 60 is becoming a reasonably direct route that someone with an alternative might choose to take. With luck, these speed improvements might bring the ridership that would justify more frequency.
See also Brent’s comment in the news roundup for some sample travel time impacts and the fact that Metro cuts may fundamentally alter the 60 anyway.
* This failure is a result of multiple jurisdictions expecting the others to pay for the repairs, but I believe my argument holds that this would never happen elsewhere in the city.