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November 17, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Traffic alert: Political rally today moved to University Bridge

Organizers say there could be as many as 1,000 people at the Montlake Triangle — between Husky Stadium and the University of Washington Medical Center — for a 4 p.m. “Jobs not Cuts” rally.

But instead of going to the Montlake Bridge, the group now intends to march west to the University Bridge. The change was made due to “safety concerns cited by the Seattle Police Department,” according to Working Washington. The labor union-affiliated group calls itself part of the “99 percent” and is expected to be joined by Occupy Seattle activists, as well as students feeling the brunt of state higher-education cutbacks.

The primary safety issue is keeping routes open to the hospital, said police spokesman Mark Jamieson. Seattle Department of Transportation says the event “has the potential for creating major delays on all arterials leading to and from Ship Canal bridges,” including the possibility people might block two bridges, and that bus routes could be delayed.

Rally organizers are calling for greater federal investment to rebuild old infrastructure, one example being the Montlake Bridge. It’s part of a “national day of action” at old bridges around the country. This morning, some nonviolent demonstrators were arrested on the Steel Bridge in Portland, according to live coverage from the Oregonian.

Ironically, the lower UW campus sits next to a Sound Transit tunneling site where the federal government is supplying $813 million of the $1.9 billion cost for the light-rail corridor to Capitol Hill and Westlake Center. Also, the state is now seeking a “TIGER” stimulus grant of $15 million for the Triangle itself, to fund a pedestrian bridge linking the campus to the Sound Transit station in 2016. The University Bridge itself was built in 1916 and rebuilt in 1933, and has century-old water pipes beneath that burst in 2007.

See a traffic camera from Montlake Boulevard and Pacific Street.
 

Comments | More in General news, Traffic & Transit | Topics: jobs not cuts, Montlake, occupy settle

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