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.
Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Editorial, Land Use, Landscape, Megaprojects, Parks, Public Participation, Public Space, Roads, Transportation, Walking
Tagged addition, article, cap, City Council, city planning, cost, Dallas, deck, downtown, e-mail, engineering, estimate, expansion, Facebook, finance, Freeway Park, Friends of Lidding I-5, group, I-5, idea, Interstate 5, Klyde Warren Park, legislature, lid, map, money, picture, plan, post, proposal, rendering, Scott Bonjukian, Seattle, structure, The Northwest Urbanist, thesis, traffic, transportation, update, urban design, urban planning, walking, Washington state, Washington State Convention Center, WSCC, WSDOT
Mayor Murray on a community walk in February 2015. (Photo by the author)
Last month Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued an executive order that will soon terminate the City’s official relationship with the 13 district councils. His decision was partially based on data showing the councils are mostly made up of older homeowners in a city is that is half renters and socioeconomically diverse, and also a desire to shake up a participation framework that hasn’t been updated for many years. The move sparked declarations of support from local progressives and anguish from neighborhood advocates. This article takes a closer look at the actual role of district councils and how the City may change its public engagement processes in the future.
Posted in Government, Public Participation
Tagged audit, boards, City, City Council, city neighborhood council, community councils, department of neighborhoods, District councils, Ed Murray, ending, executive order, feedback, funding, grant, grants, input, Kathy Nyland, mayor, media, members, neighborhood, neighborhood matching fund, neighborhood park and street fund, neighborhood street fund, program, public engagement, rate, recommend, report, SDOT, Seattle, seattle times, support, terminating, volunteers
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.
Posted in Biking, Parks, Public Art, Public Space, Transportation, Walking
Tagged 3, Avenue, award, Bellevue Place Park, bike lane, Bike Master Plan, City, community, concept plan, Department of Transportaiton, funding, grant, greenway, improvements, input, Melrose Promenade, Mike Kent, million, pedestrian, plan, process, protected bike lane, PSRC, Puget Sound Regional Council, safety, SDOT, Seattle, sidewalk, street, three
It’s time to vote down one of the most disastrous ballot measures to come before Seattle voters in years: Initiative 123, a rouge attempt to disrupt over a decade of planning and waste millions of dollars in design for Seattle’s new waterfront park. I-123 would undo the community’s vision for a shoreline reborn with the removal of the highway viaduct, the creation of a new seawall and waterfront promenade, and a new pedestrian connection to Pike Place Market. This irresponsible and unaccountable measure must be defeated at the ballot box on August 2nd.
Posted in Biking, Public Space, Roads, Sustainability, Transportation, Walking, Water
Tagged 123, aquarium, ballot, campaign, City Council, cost, design, details, drawings, election, expansion, Friends, garden bridge, Heidi Hughes, I-123, impacts, Initiative, issues, Kate Martin, Lisa Richmond, measure, no, Park My Viaduct, PDA, Pike Place Market, plan, problems, renders, seawall, section, vote no, Waterfront Seattle, yes
As a commuter moving up and down Olive Way every day, I always notice when something changes on the street. And on the morning of February 29th, what I saw was admittedly anticlimactic: a missing pedestrian sign and signal at the on-ramp to Interstate 5. I tweeted the problem to local government agencies, expecting a quick fix, but what followed was a blame-shedding game of hot potato and a disappointing look into the bureaucratic agencies that manage our safety on the streets. Urbanists expect better from our local transportation departments.
Posted in Government, Walking
Tagged Capitol Hill, Chang, crosswalk, department of transportation, DOT, driver, email, engineer, Kubly, Olive Way, overpass, pedestrian, rapid flashing beacon, rectangular, replacement, RFB, safety, SDOT, Seattle, sign, signal, state, tweet, visibility, Vision Zero, warning, Washington, WSDOT
The City of Seattle has cut back significantly on its plans for street safety projects citywide, but especially in Downtown and the southern neighborhoods. This has left advocates confused and frustrated, as the City had extensive plans for protected bike lanes and greenways that would create a comprehensive network. And voters just overwhelmingly approved a $930 million levy to build these projects. While that is sorted out and the City adds on another layer of Seattle Process with a “Center City Mobility Plan”, there is one key opportunity that we could implement today at low cost: redesigning 4th Avenue through Downtown.
Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Parking, Transportation, Walking
Tagged 4th Avenue, Belltown, bicycle master plan, Bike Blog, bike lanes, buses, City Council, data, design, downtown, Implementation Plan, injuries, murray, parking, PBL, priority, proposal, protected bike lanes, right-of-way, space, street, transit, Vision Zero, volume, width
Last Saturday a diverse mix of Seattle residents, designers, and community leaders converged on the 12th Avenue Arts building to imagine lidding Interstate 5. At least 75 people packed a conference room all morning and gathered around tables full of maps and trace paper to hash out ideas for how lids should be designed and integrated into the city’s existing urban fabric. Designs universally included park space, but there was also a strong showing of bike and pedestrian trails, housing, and even an elementary school. The charrette succeeded in kicking off a broader public conversation of lidding I-5 and building a grassroots movement to correct the mistakes of 20th century infrastructure.
Posted in Editorial, Event Writeup
Tagged bridge, cap, charrette, City Council, concept, convention center, cover, deck, drawings, event, I-5, ideas, Interstate 5, lid, lidding, map, maps, people, presentations, Washington state, workshop, WSCC
The Lid I-5 campaign is kicking into high gear with its first major public event scheduled for May 7 at Capitol Hill Housing. The event is open to the public, and people are encouraged to reach out to friends and neighbors to form design teams beforehand. Teams will arrive at 8am for an introduction to the vision of lidding Interstate 5, be provided background information, and set off for several hours of brainstorming, drawing, and mapping. The details are listed below.
What: Lid I-5 Neighborhood Design Charrette
When: Saturday, May 7, 8am to 1pm
Where: Capitol Hill Housing (1620 12th Avenue, Suite 205, Seattle, WA)
Who: Open to all (RSVP here)
Posted in Editorial, Event Writeup, Lid I-5
Tagged campaign, charrette, event, information, Interstate 5, lid, lidding I-5, location, public, RSVP, Seattle, when