A seating area, games, a stage, a food truck — these were all suggestions for how to transform a small section of Summit Ave E between E Denny Way and E Olive Way into a public park.
But first the Seattle Department of Transportation took votes on nine maze-themed designs to brighten up the pavement Thursday night at the site as part of the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk. The department also accepted other submissions for the Pavement to Parks project that evening.
“The more colorful, the better,” said Keith Haubrich who lives nearby. He liked SDOT’s suggested Pac Man-themed design.
Capitol Hill resident-submitted designs included a blue and green Earth-like maze, a geometric design created with triangles that seem to pop out of the pavement in the options of blue or orange tones, the words “Capitol Hill” in four different color options, and “The Hill in Transit” a public transportation map.
SDOT says they’re tallying the vote results and will announce a winner…. soon.
Susan McLaughlin, SDOT Adaptive Streets Program manager, said she hoped the winning designer would stay involved throughout the process; the two-to-three-day installation is planned for August or September.
If the pavement park is deemed as successful after two years, it will be permanently installed. Success will be determined by gauging whether traffic was impacted and if the park has been a positive experience for pedestrians, McLaughlin told CHS.
Haubrich said he believes drivers will complain about the closure of the street, but that he doesn’t mind.
Roland Lopez said he thinks the street is pretty useless for vehicles, so making it into an interesting park is a good move, but he would like to see more features than just tables and chairs.
He suggested a bocce ball court, farmers market, outdoor gym or a performing arts stage — something that encourages more activity and interaction.
Haubrich also shared his thoughts about what he’d like to see in the park including a stationary exercise bike that could be used to charge phones, a chess board with thief-proof pieces and a food cart or truck.
“I’d love to hang out here and play chess with people,” he said.
Jeff Weir said the geometric design he submitted for the park, which leaves some spaces of pavement unpainted, aims to get people moving by hopping from one unpainted portion of pavement to the next, like the “hot lava” or “the floor is lava” game kids play.
Weir, a designer who dabbles in art, said he lives near the proposed park and regularly drives the short street, but is “enthusiastic” about the new public space, believing that healthy cities have more public spaces.
“I think it strengthens social bonds,” Weir said.
The Summit project is one of four $70,000 Pavement to Parks projects proposed around the city this summer.
Last summer’s pilot projects can be found in First Hill around the three-way intersection of University, Union and Boylston and at 9th Ave.
“People are generally positive about the concept,” McLaughlin said. But she said there is more concern about transitioning the parks to permanent fixtures. Those transitions will be made on a park-by-park basis depending on city, community or private partnerships, McLaughlin said.