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Todd Herman

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Rantz: Seattle wastes nearly $700k on footbridge to nowhere

The South Lake Union footbridge. (Mark Koester, Flickr)

For the last three years, Seattle’s Lake Union Park has managed to do without access to a short footbridge closed down due to shifting soil. Now? The City of Seattle is spending nearly $700,000 to fix it. It’s an irresponsible waste of money.

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The 108-feet long bridge provides access between Westlake Avenue and the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). But, it’s unnecessary. As long as it takes you to walk across the bridge, you can just as easily and quickly walk around the portion of the lake the bridge spans. I’m not exaggerating. It takes less than two minutes to make the walk.

Over the last three years, no one has missed the bridge. MOHAI acknowledges they haven’t been impacted by the bridge closure and, according to The Seattle Times:

Center for Wooden Boats visitors-service assistant Jonah Martin said he hasn’t noticed anyone struggling to get to the docks alongside the southern part of the park.

‘It doesn’t seem to have an impact,’ he said.

This isn’t the first time the city is spending money on bridges that few people use. The city constructed a footbridge to help people travel across Holman Road NW and 13th Avenue NW. But people — especially students from a nearby school — don’t really use it so they’re considering alternative ways to improve pedestrian safety in the area.

City leaders complain we have such little funding we desperately need to tax the rich with an income tax, hit the poor with a soda tax, hit everyone with a sales tax, yet, somehow, we’re allocating funds to the tune of $690,000 on a bridge that serves virtually no purpose? Wait until Kennedy hears about this.

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