Eight years in, Seattle ready to study ‘engineering and financial feasibility’ of lidding I-5

It’s a Seattle Freeway Revolt of a different sort and now the city has the money to execute an engineering and financial feasibility study of the potential benefits “for covering more of the I-5 freeway trench in central Seattle.”

The $1.5 million in funding from the Washington State Convention Center expansion’s $83 million public benefits package is now available to the City of Seattle and an advisory council has been formed, the Lid I-5 community group announced last week:

The study funding enables OPCD to procure an expert consultant team with qualifications in civil and structural engineering, economic analysis, urban design, and environmental mitigation. The study is expected to last through 2019 and will inform the next steps in lid design, planning, permitting, and capital funding. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) staff will be engaged during the process. Recent and ongoing freeway lid projects – including in Bellevue, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Philadelphia – provide helpful case studies and a pool of experienced specialists that Seattle’s effort can draw from.

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‘Collab #2’ continues community design process for new I-5 lid

A team presentation from Collab #1

The second in three “collab” events to fine tune community-driven design concepts for a new lid over I-5 will take place Tuesday night.

Lid I-5 Collab #2

The Lid I-5 Collab #2 will focus on taking the project through the “60%” design stage, organizers say. It will be followed by a final collaborative event on August 1st and a presentation of the final design in October. Continue reading

‘Community Package’ including affordable housing, park cash gets support in Convention Center expansion hearing

Council member Mike O’Brien (right) views a model of the planned convention center expansion (Image: CHS)

Fine tuning some $83 million in public benefits — and how quickly the cash to pay for them will be delivered — was the theme of the night as neighborhood, transit, and public space advocates came to City Hall Wednesday.

“The sooner we can get more money for affordable housing the better,” said Seattle City Council sustainability and transportation committee chair Mike O’Brien.

Wednesday’s hearing featured mostly speakers in support of the Community Package Coalition formed to create a shared platform of community priorities for a roster of public benefits to be exchanged for the vacation of “Block 33, Block 43, Block 44, Olive Way & Terry Avenue.” The city land is planned to be part of the construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center addition and development that will create a massive new exhibition facility across I-5 between Pike and Olive Way.

“Equity and equitable outcomes should be at the forefront of discussions around large real estate projects such as this one,” said McCaela Daffern from Capitol Hill Housing. “I ask that you make note of the significant contributions toward affordable housing secured thanks to advocacy of Capitol Hill housing and the rest of the coalition.” Continue reading

Affordable housing over I-5? It’s not as crazy as you might think

The “X-1” group was the set of volunteers tasked to come up with ideas on how to connect the lids with each other to make Seattle more of an interconnected city. The group was joined by six other groups working on various sites at the Lid I-5 Kickoff Charrette at 12th Avenue Arts on Sunday morning. (Image: Alec Dietz)

By Alec Dietz, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

When Interstate 5 was built more than 50 years ago, many didn’t consider the problems associated with a massive highway splitting up the University District from Wallingford, Capitol Hill from downtown, and First Hill from the International District in the Seattle area.

But, a small group of architects, engineers, and community members met at the 12th Ave Arts building on Capitol Hill Sunday to discuss ways that they could heal those divides, and fix lids that had already been built in Seattle, at a Lid I-5 Kickoff Charrette gathering led by co-chairs and architects John Feit and Scott Bonjukian.

“Freeway Park is a beautiful design, but it didn’t work,” Feit said of one of the lids Seattle had tried already. “People are acknowledging that it is a beautiful design, but that it doesn’t work, and we want to make it better. That’s just something the city struggled with for decades.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Central Hills Triangle Collaborative — Join the tours and charrette

From Lid I-5

Funded by a $48,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund, the Collaborative is a major Lid I5 design initiative that will bring together the First Hill, Downtown, Denny Triangle, and Capitol Hill communities throughout 2018. We’ll use the results of the Collaborative to inform the scope of the City’s lid feasibility study and to create captivating illustrations of how lids will benefit the health, economy, and cohesion of urban neighborhoods.

Click here to register for the main event, the Collaborative kickoff charrette, on Sunday, January 21, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, at 12th Avenue Arts’ Pike-Pine room (please note the date has changed from previous notices).

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Community Package Coalition gains ground in push for I-5 lid study, Convention Center public benefits

A coalition of neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations CHS first told you about in February as the new team pushed for a stronger public benefits package in the planned $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center addition project is growing. The Capitol Hill Community Council is the latest organization to throw its weight behind the Community Package Coalition.

The alliance including the First Hill Improvement Association and the Lid I-5 group is calling for a $79 million benefits package in return for the WSCC’s plans to take over three alleys, and land under Olive Way and Terry Ave for its expansion and development project:

Seattle council member throws support behind I-5 lid

screen-shot-2015-12-15-at-4-44-19-pm-1The Lid I-5 group started 2017 with a financial boost in its push for a $1 million study of bridging the gap over the interstate between Capitol Hill and downtown. It also is getting some valuable political support. Seattle City Council member Sally Baghsaw’s District 7 covers downtown. In January, she added her voice off support in a call for studying the possible lid:

We can create a “public land make, not a land take” that could be available for affordable housing, more parks and green space, and private office space to help pay for it.  As other big cities have shown, this is one way we can create new real estate for public/private partnerships and make our Downtown greener and more Age-Friendly.

“I fully support Lid I-5 in District 7, and recognize this is a project that will be envisioned and completed in phases over the next decade(s),” Bagshaw writes.

The Lid I-5 group has proposed a $1 million lidding study as part of the public benefits package the City Council must decide on that will accompany the the massive $1.6 billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center. Other important neighborhood projects are also lined up to be part of the package meant to offset the loss of public right of way from street/alley vacations involved in the expansion.

The Lid I-5 group says there is also growing momentum in City Hall behind its idea for a “short term” “proof-of-concept” lid project at Pine and Boren that would cost around $10 million to complete.

If you think lidding I-5 sounds too far fetched, Bagshaw, in her typical colloquial style, says, not so fast, buster.

“Visionary? You bet. Pie in the sky? No way,” she writes. “It’s what we need to increase green over gray and another way to make our city truly Age Friendly.”

You can learn more at lidi5.org.

Capitol Hill real estate moguls step in with $20k push for group backing Lid I-5 study, $10M+ Pine-Boren lid

The Lid I-5 campaign announced it has secured $20,000 in contributions thanks to two Capitol Hill real estate investors to help its push for a plan that could cover the interstate “in the city center and other neighborhoods.” The group says there is also growing momentum in City Hall behind its idea for a “short term” “proof-of-concept” lid project at Pine and Boren.

Michael Malone of Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital promised a $10,000 donation to the group if it could raise another 10 grand to match. Lid I-5 announced Joe Nabbefeld, broker at Windermere Capitol Hill, stepped up with the contribution. The funding raised the group’s total raised to more than $30,000 in 2016. Continue reading