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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:

  • Improvements to Freeway Park. Improve Freeway Park, the largest urban park in Seattle. to be more safe, accessible, and enjoyable for local residents, employees, and Convention Center visitors.
  • Interstate 5 Lid Feasibility Study. Fund a City-led technical study of extending Freeway park and lidding Interstate 5 in the Center city and beyond for parks, affordable housing, new streets, and other civic uses. 
  • Melrose Promenade. Implement walk and bicycling improvements, public spaces, and public art along Melrose Avenue in Capitol Hill.
  • Pine-Boren Lid Park. Expand Plymouth Pillars Park by building a 14,000 square foot lid park over Interstate 5 at the east corner of Pine Street and Boren Avenue.
  • Terry Avenue Woonerf. Build a pedestrian-oriented woonerf on Terry Avenue between Cherry Street and Marion Street on First Hill.
  • Virginia Street Woonerf. Build a pedestrian-oriented woonerf on Virginia Street between Boren Avenue and Minor Avenue.

UPDATE: Oops. We only included the coalition’s streets and open space initiatives. There are also initiatives related to transportation and affordable housing:

  • 8th Avenue Bicycling Improvements. Build a northbound protected bike lane between Pike Street and Bell Street. 
  • Interstate 5 Overpasses. Implement a suite of pedestrian improvements for Interstate 5 overpasses, such as landscaping and sound buffers, between Olive Way and Madison Street.
  • Olive Way Overpasses. implement a roadway reconfiguration on the Olive Way Interstate 5 overpass and interchange to increase pedestrian safety and reduce traffic conflicts. 
  • Pike/Pine Corridor Bicycling Improvements. Build protected bike lanes along Pike/Pine connecting the existing bike lanes on Broadway and 2nd, and forming the spine of an all ages and abilities bicycle network. 
  • Build More Homes. Contribute funding to create 300 affordable homes for workers earning hospitality industry wages (50-60% of area median income) within one mile of the Convention Center Addition. 

Wednesday, Lid I-5 announced the endorsement of State Sen. Jamie Pedersen and City Council member Rob Johnson for its call for a $1 million study of lidding a portion of I-5 next to the planned expansion between Capitol Hill and downtown. The officials join support for the study from council member Sally Bagshaw who represents downtown District 7. “These are incredible milestones which validate our vision for a more connected, sustainable, and equitable Seattle,” the Lid I-5 group said in an announcement of the endorsements.

Various proposals for future lidding of I-5 have included everything from parks land to housing and entertainment venues. Some have proposed the city could sell a portion of lidded land to developers to help pay for the ambitious projects.

The FHIA will host a presentation on the Lid I-5 effort in April:

First Hill Improvement Association – Lid I-5 Presentation
Tuesday, April 11
6:00 PM
Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Avenue

The public benefits process will continue next month when the Seattle Design Commission meets to discuss the package Thursday, April 20 at 9:00 AM at Seattle City Hall.

Construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Convention Center addition and development project could begin next year and had been slated to be finished by 2020. The proposal calls for adding five stories above ground and two stories below ground totaling a little more than 1.2 million square feet of space, in addition to a 200,000 square foot loading dock and 500-800 parking spaces. Bringing thousands of truck trips to the area, most of the construction will rise above what is now the King County Metro Convention Place Station, roughly bounded by Pine and Howell streets and 9th and Boren.

You can learn more about the coalition at

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3 years ago

And how will ‘we’ pay for it – perhaps – another rise in property tax ? Say another $2000 for each average house should do it.

At this point Seattle needs an income tax so that everyone participates in funding these wonderful ideas…

3 years ago
Reply to  Nope

Pay for which? Lid I-5 would require future construction money TBD. But everything in the Community Package itself would be funded through the Washington State Convention Center’s purchase of right of way that the city of Seattle currently owns (there are a few other sources of potential revenue related to this project, but that’s the bulk of it). They get their budget from a tax on hotel rooms.

An income tax eventually seems like a necessity since we have the most regressive tax structure in the nation, but that’s an entirely separate conversation.


3 years ago
Reply to  Nope

‘This’ being the lid – what is the point of spending money on studying something that can’t be funded.

Indeed, given that 520 has soaked $Many Billion to stop earth quake collapse maybe the first step is to make sure I5 itself doesn’t collapse. It’s columns and date of construction look alarmingly like 520, and we know from wsdot that it will fall in the big one..