Lid I-5: The Movie

lidI-5Last week, Seattle’s only newspaper finally jumped on the I-5 lid bandwagon. “The time Is right to fix the I-5 disaster,” they say. The grand — Big Lid — vision for an I-5 cap from Patano Architects the Stranger focused on is one vision for how to address the project. We featured the big, shiny, 45-acre vision on CHS back in September.

The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council is open to the big vision — but it is also taking small steps to add a planning process for a new lid over I-5 to the development of the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

In December, CHS reported on PPUNC’s efforts to include a study for a new I-5 lid in the planning process for the expansion as part of the convention center’s “public benefits” for the project. This week, PPUNC’s chair John Feit shared a 15-point update on the group’s push for lidding I-5 and opening the possibility for creating room for housing and commercial development, park space, and restoring the connection between Capitol Hill, First Hill and downtown. Get ready for a big meeting in February, a fundraising campaign, and a community design charrette:

  1. We will start crowd sourcing soon so we can hire a project manager
  2. Seattle Parks Foundation will be our fiscal agent
  3. We will also be directly soliciting donors (developers, property owners, and the like)
  4. We are also applying for a DON small and simple grant
  5. Capitol Hill Housing is lending a hand with logistical support
  6. Plymouth housing has expressed great interest in our efforts
  7. We have buttons!
  8. There will be a Design Commission Meeting for the public benefit in February
  9. We have the support (in principal) of CMs Bashaw, Gonzalez, and Sawant, especially as it has potential to address affordable housing issues.
  10. Joe McDermott is also on board, and Rep Walkinshaw is interested
  11. Note that we are not pushing particular solution, as Christopher P is, but that a lid can help address several issues
  12. We will have a community charette in 2Q 2016
  13. We are taking our show on the road to design firms in Seattle to generate interest in charette
  14. We need money for the project manager, supplies for the charette, room rental for charette, other expenses
  15. Support our asks of the WSCC for completing the 4 columns dog run and to provide money for a comprehensive study to set goals, cost, feasibility of a lid

And, look, there’s even a movie to support the cause:

In early February, the Seattle Design Commission will discuss the convention center expansion, including the require public benefits of the project. Due to its size and complexity in the middle of downtown Seattle, the expansion project qualifies for a unique process called Planned Community Development. An important part of the process is determining what public benefits the massive project needs to provide to the surrounding communities. According to the city, public benefits can include low-income housing, historic preservation, and public space.

Design Commission Meeting – WSCC Addition
WhenThursday, February 4, 2016, 9 – 11:30am
LocationSeattle City Hall
Bertha Knight Landes Reception Room

The agenda for this meeting will be set one week in advance.

Event ContactValerie Kinast
Event Contact
Event Contact Phone206-233-7911
ProjectWashington State Convention Center Expansion

The convention center project must also pass through two more planned design review sessions.

Meanwhile, next week, the Big Lid vision will be on the table for a discussion at the Urban Design Forum.

You can learn more at

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8 thoughts on “Lid I-5: The Movie

  1. Aye, I was all about a lid until watching that video.

    It’s just three minutes of people drinking coffee and walking around Capitol Hill.

    • It could have worked. Maybe the city is in the mood to give it the votes it needs this time around. Just because something didn’t fly in the past doesn’t mean it won’t now.

    • Yeah, just think. If The Commons had worked, all the drug dealing, assaults, and muggings happening in Cal Anderson Park would be happening at The Commons instead. Maybe if they lid I-5 all this would shift off Capitol Hill, to the lid. Win-Win!

      • I work with Architects a lot and can vouch for charette being a ‘technical term’. Architects love to make up fancy terms for everyday things, it’s part of their attempts to seem ‘cool’.

  2. Looks like an extravagant attempt to get public money to fund private benefit – the architects and developers. Then once its built, no money exists to police the results. Voila, we get big homeless camp.

    The “panhandle” section of Golden Gate park has for 20 years been a homeless encampment sitting next to Upper Haight. Residents stay out, but it’s an open air drug market and homeless camp. I strongly suspect this park over I-5 would become the same. The architects and developers won’t say that, of course. They only tout the benefits – then pocket the money once its built, leaving Capitol Hill residents to clean up yet another mess.