SEATTLE - The city today unveiled a look at how Seattle’s waterfront could be transformed into a place for parks, people, open space, views and the environment if the Alaskan Way Viaduct is replaced by a cut-and-cover tunnel.
Environmental, transportation and community leaders joined with Mayor Greg Nickels to praise the city’s “Central Waterfront Plan” as a guide to the once-in-a-lifetime chance to replace an aging, elevated freeway with new public space along the shore of Elliott Bay. The event marked the completion of the concept plan, which will be sent to City Council for consideration.
The plan envisions reclaiming the waterfront for civic space, public promenades, shoreline restoration, environmental improvements, historic preservation, education, arts and new connections to the city.
“This plan reflects the values we hold as a city,” Nickels said. “A tunnel unlocks a potential that has been hidden in the shadows and noise of an elevated freeway for 50 years. This plan shows how we can create a waterfront for people, with more open space, light, views and parks; a place for learning, exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of Elliott Bay, and a place where people can touch the water -- and get in touch with our past.”
An illustration of the major pedestrian promenade envisioned under the plan was on view. The promenade would be 70 feet wide along portions of the waterfront and would provide continuous, significant public gathering and viewing areas. Of equal importance are the plan’s shoreline improvements to support marine life and improved connections to the rest of downtown Seattle, including the Pike Place Market.
“This is our chance to make great history,” said Sally Bagshaw, a member of the Allied Arts Board of Trustees. “By embracing the principles of the waterfront concept plan, we can create an unparalleled waterfront for all.”
The plan is based on the state’s and city’s preferred tunnel option for replacing the aging viaduct, and includes the rebuilding of the failing seawall.
The plan is available online at: http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/Central_Waterfront/Overview/