There were so many things different about Tuesday night’s Sound Transit community meeting that it, well, almost didn’t feel like a Sound Transit community meeting. On the table Tuesday night inside the Century Ballroom: a community discussion on how best to use a planned community space outside the future Capitol Hill light rail station.
Nagle Place has been envisioned as a home for the Hill’s farmers market from the beginning but how will the space be used when there is no market? Community members met Tuesday night to discuss ways to activate the space outside of the Farmers Market, which could occupy the plaza during one weekday evening as well as one or two weekend days. Still, that means the market will occupy the space for a maximum of three days a week during summer months and Capitol Hill residents want to know what about the rest of the week?
Chris Curtis from the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance was at the meeting and hopes the Hill’s market will do its part to keep the plaza activated. By e-mail, she updated CHS on the latest for the market in terms of the future Nagle space and an interim home after this season when construction of the 230 Broadway project is expected to take over the market’s current home:
I am hopeful that the market can spill out to a closed East Denny street on market Sundays – and go year round – and stage a smaller version of itself every Wednesday for a season that would run from May – October – initially.
The Broadway Farmers Market has the best potential of any neighborhood FM in the city to grow and become a really strong central shopping destination for everyone on Capitol Hill. I am so excited (and relieved) to have a permanent home for the FM in the future.
We had a good meeting with representatives from Seattle Central about the possibilities of staging the FM on their property during the interim.
To get somewhere on defining the plaza beyond the market’s needs, Sound Transit ceded the stage to a charrette format as community members divided into small groups. The groups were encouraged to draw on a diagram of the plaza seen in late July. No more than an alley space in the earliest proposal, Seattle Department of Transportation and champion groups want to make the now larger plaza a focal point of the station and a vibrant community space.
Community comments emphasized making the space comfortable year round and keeping it well lit so it feels like a safe place at night. The eight small groups in the meeting were in near consensus about a semi-permanent to permanent closure of Denny Way between Broadway and Nagle Place. Sara Roberston of SDOT was also enthused about this idea. She said the department is still looking into how this might affect the area and whether or not it would be a viable option.
The plaza will be interrupted by a two-story ventilation stack that planners hope will become an icon in the plaza. Commenters at the meeting suggested a wide range of decoration options for the stack varying from a mural on all sides, covering it in ivy and even using it as a movie screen.
But the main point of the meeting was that the space needs to be kept flexible for many uses, be it just for sitting and people watching or for craft fairs and performances.
The Community Council’s Land Use committee will hold a meeting to debrief Tuesday’s comments Thursday at 7 PM in Roy Street Coffee & Tea.