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The AVE: a vision for Seattle’s new waterfront.

Any successful effort to create a marvelous waterfront park for Seattle should include turning Elliot Avenue into a grand entrance into the city.  Once you cross the Ballard Bridge, there are fields, a very underused shopping center, warehouses, and amazing access to three great attraction … Fisherman’s Terminal, Magnolia and Elliott Bay Marina.   If we do not pay attention to this corridor, the planned waterfront will degenerate into a traffic mess.  Growing populations north and south of Seattle need a way to get into the city, not just through the city via the Tunel and I5. .. Steve Schwartz

Over at Crosscut David Brewster, Seattle Official Brewster Booster (pun intended with great affection) has a discussion of the parks planned for the “new” waterfront.  David etalks about four big parks connected by a promenade and, in his usual fashion, worries about  whether  the city can pull off such a spectacular plan? 

After all the battles over the Viaduct and the deep-bore tunnel, are we going to manage to create a splendid waterfront park for Seattle?”

The plans David discusses are wondrous.  He writes about a great pedestrian waterfront, with a surface road  “calmed by  streetlights and intersections, and the pedestrian crossings, as in a Parisian boulevard, will be designed to make the pedestrian feel dominant.”

I suggest there is another part of this puzzle …….. Seattle NEEDS a north to South boulevard!

We already have the right of way.   There is an amazing , natural corridor that should run from 15th in Ballard, across the Ballard Bridge, down Elliott Avenue, the new waterfront and connecting up, south of the new Aurora Tunnel, with I-99 South.  If we do not pay attention to this corridor, the planned waterfront will degenerate into a traffic mess.  Growing populations north and south of Seattle need a way to get into the city, not just through the city via the Tunel and I5.

The growing downtown community, Seattle’s Manhattan, needs to be able to move about the city, including north to Ballard and south to West Seattle and the the suburbia between the city and Seatac.

This corridor offers amazing opportunities along Elliott Avenue where most of the land is either undeveloped or poorly used. Look at the satellite view of the water side of Elliott Ave. Once you cross the bridge, there are fields, a very underused shopping center, warehouses, and amazing access to three great attraction … Fisherman’s Terminal, Magnolia and Elliott Bay Marina.

I would assume that any successful effort to create the marvelous waterfront park, would include turning Elliot Avenue into a grand entrance into the city.  The commerical opportunites alone shuld make this a great oportunity and, not incidentally, help us avoid the excessive commercial development of the new waterfront that could turn David’s Utopia into a dystopian high rise forest like SLU.

Finally, this idea of a “Seattle Way”need not be focused solely on the automobile.  The fields to the North could be used to create parking that would feed downtown public transit, light rail included.  The same is true at the south end where we already see a lot of parking around the stadium complex. Waterfront transit would then naturally feed cross citylines that could connect to SLU, the cnetral business district, light rail, ….

Finally, I have a plea.

As a Seattlite with webs between his toes, I am fiercely proud of the heritage that Chiefs Seattle and Leschi left us all.  We do far to little to recognize these forebears and their modern descendants.  The Seattle Way would be a wonderful opportunity to include the local tribes and honor them.  As a start, I suggest that the pigeon coated statue of Chief Seattle be moved to the new waterfront and that the Burke Museum be relocated from the UW campus to a place more fitting its role Seattle’s tribute to where we live.

 


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