The Case for Lidding I-5 in Downtown Seattle

A conceptual pedestrian lane over I-5 between Pike and Pine Streets. (Graphic by the author)

A conceptual pedestrian lane over I-5 between Pike Street and Pine Street, tying into the Pike-Pine commercial corridor and proximity to the busy Convention Center. Click to enlarge and see a before-and-after view. (Graphic by the author)

Amid Seattle’s rapidly growing inner neighborhoods remains the urban scar of Interstate 5, a massive concrete and steel ribbon that is the lasting legacy of 20th century transportation engineers. It helps move thousands of people and tons of freight every day through the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, but it gives little to those who don’t drive and to people who live and work around it. The problems are obvious: noise, traffic, and poor urban design that makes people on the street feel isolated and wastes valuable urban land. The solution is equally clear but admittedly ambitious: lidding the freeway to mitigate its sights and sounds while simultaneously transforming the public realm of Downtown Seattle.

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Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Editorial, Land Use, Landscape, Megaprojects, Parks, Public Participation, Public Space, Roads, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Seattle Primary 2017: Vote Farrell for Mayor, Mosqueda for Council

With crowded races in two important Seattle city elections this year, The Northwest Urbanist is weighing in with endorsements for the first time. Ballots for the August 1st primary are in your mailbox this week, so make sure to research the candidates and vote!

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First Fast Ferry Run Impresses, Leaves Room for Improvement

On Monday Kitsap Transit’s new Fast Ferry officially started operations between Seattle and Bremerton, offering a faster transit option for commuters and visitors. Read our previous coverage of the launch for background information and scheduling details. First impressions on were favorable, but the service has a number of kinks to work out before it can be a positive force for change in the Puget Sound region.

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Kitsap Transit’s Fast Ferry Starts Monday

The Rich Passage I. (Photo by Kitsap Sun)

After 14 years, Seattle and Kitsap County will once again have a rapid transit route linking them: a passenger-only fast ferry run by Kitsap Transit. Free service begins with a single boat to and from Bremerton on Monday, July 10, and then fares start being collected in August. With a crossing time of 28 minutes, less than half that of the Washington State auto-ferry, the new service may spur economic development on the peninsula and open up more housing options for regional commuters.

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Seattle Convention Center Hosting Public Benefit Event December 7

Rendering of the Convention Center Addition, at the corner of Pine Street and Boren Avenue next to Interstate 5. (LMN Architects, Washington State Convention Center)

Rendering of the Convention Center Addition, at the corner of Pine Street and Boren Avenue next to Interstate 5. (LMN Architects, Washington State Convention Center)

The next phase of the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is being planned, and associated with it may be millions of dollars in discretionary public benefit funding. Occupying four city blocks, the WSCC Addition project will transform a long-neglected corner of Downtown Seattle and offer more meeting and event space for locals and visitors. And perched on the edge of Interstate 5, the new facility will further reconnect the urban office core with the nightlife and residential community on Capitol Hill.

Ideas for the public benefits offered by the project will be showcased at an open house next week. Event details follow, and below the jump is more history and information about the project.

Wednesday, December 7
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Room 2AB, Convention Center, 705 Pike Street
Facebook RSVP (unofficial)

There is also an online version of the open house available.

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Posted in Land Use, Lid I-5, Megaprojects, Public Participation, Public Space, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Movement Seeks to Empower Seattle Renters

20160924_145305_editOn Saturday the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict hosted a Renter Summit to kick off a community conversation about rising rents, renter protections, and transportation options. The half-day event at Miller Community Center drew at least 100 residents from the Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central District neighborhoods and was headlined by a variety of prominent officials, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The goal of the event was for residents to understand the latest data on housing and transportation, share information with each other, and begin to develop priorities for local and state advocacy.

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Posted in Housing, Policy, Public Participation, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melrose Promenade Awarded $3 Million for Construction

Melrose Avenue, looking north from Thomas Street. (Photo by the author)

Melrose Avenue, looking north from Thomas Street. (Photo by the author)

Last week the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) released its recommendations for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal transportation funding. The Urbanist has the rundown on the most high profile local projects, including improvements for Denny Way and partial funding for the 1st Avenue Streetcar, but there are many smaller awards throughout the region. A significant result for Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is a $3 million grant for the Melrose Promenade, a greenway and public space project that seeks to transform an underutilized street.

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