News Round Up: The West Seattle Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down…
Plus: Some farmers markets are reopening and Pride weekend is going virtual
By Tricia Romano
April 16, 2020
The West Seattle Bridge is Falling Down: OK, we’re exaggerating a little. Few things seem to penetrate the coronavirus news cycle, but boy, this news sure did. The West Seattle Bridge is shutting down till possibly 2021, at a mininum. Opened in 1984, officials closed it last month when they discovered some large diagonal cracks in the support girders. Further review has revealed that it might even worse than previously thought. More than 100,000 drivers who drive it daily may be Zoom teleconferencing for work long past the pandemic.
“I will not allow any car to go over the bridge until it is safe,” said Mayor Jenny Durkin at a press conference yesterday. “There are a lot of contingencies that we still don’t know yet regarding this project,” she said. Durkin said that they would be looking expanding park and ride and increasing water taxi service.
“We need more information to determine if the repair of the bridge is feasible from a technical or financial perspective,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe. “If it is feasible to complete a full repair and bring vehicles back on the bridge we think it will add another 10 or so years of life to the bridge itself. In any case we are now think needing to think about replacement of the West Seattle high-rise bridge much sooner than was anticipated when it opened in 1984.
“In the long term, this bridge will have to be replaced,” added Durkin. Major yikes. (Plus side: maybe we’ll get that light rail sooner?)
Pride Weekend is Going Virtual: After conferring with city officials, the organizers behind Seattle PrideFest, Trans Pride Seattle, and Seattle Pride, “made the collective decision to shift our annual Pride celebrations to a series of virtual events this year in an abundance of caution and concern for our community’s health and well being,” said Sarah Abshire of Gender Justice League which puts on Trans Pride, in a statement. Scheduled to be held on June 28, the organizers are polling the public to determine what sort of virtual events would be the most popular. Choices include live streams of musical peformances, drag queen performances, rallies and keynote speeches, and youth workshops.
Farmer’s Markets Take Baby Steps Toward Reopening: Two farmer’s markets are reopening this weekend, with some major precautions in place. The University District Farmers Market and Ballard will open on Saturday, and things will be a little different. Some of the pandemic precautions include: regular santitation of “high touch” items, a modified layout of 10 feet between tents to improve social distancing and circulation, greater availability of hand sanitizer. Additionally, no food sampling and prepared food will be allowed at this juncture. All vendors will be wearing masks and gloves and will be the only people allowed to touch items.
The Tulip Festival Would Like You To Stay Home: It’s April so it’s peak tulip time, but the organizers of the festival say you should stay home and not take that long drive up north. “We have no services available for you—not even portable toilets! The fields are closed, the gardens are closed and there are NO events and activities. Please follow the COVID mandates: Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Alive.” Instead, they encourage you to look at their virtual gallery an order merch from their website. You can also order tulips from www.tulips.com or www.tuliptown.com.
The MoPop PopCon Isn’t Happening but the MoPop Book Club is: Spring is usually the time when a few hundred or so rock critics and academics converge on the museum to talk about popular music in a spectularly intellectual fashion. Covid-19 has ground all plans to a halt; instead, the museum is hosting its first book club, with Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man to commemorate the writer’s 100 birthday. “The story collection seemed like a good choice because it speaks to both our love for science fiction and connects with our newest exhibit Body of Work: Tattoo Culture,” said Jason Porter, MoPOP’s director of education and programs in a statement. “Plus, it’s short stories, so it’s way easier to read with family and friends.” The three short stories the book club will discuss at events are “The Veldt,” “The Rocket Man,” and “The Last Night of the World.” Register here for the month-long series of events. (There’s even a live happy hour watchalong of the film, The Illustrated Man on Wednesday the 29th.)