Envisioning New Waterfront Parks

The City of Seattle and State of Washington have been crafting plans to transform Seattle’s central waterfront after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down in 2016. They’re vision, called Washington Landings, includes rebuilding Pier 48 and Colman Dock, Pier 52, both owned by the State, to include new parks offering water access and spectaular views of Elliott Bay.

(photo credit: Micah Wright / Lonely Planet)

(photo credit: Micah Wright / Lonely Planet)

They would be the first State-run parks in Seattle and they would incorporate interpretive elements recounting the area’s unique histories.

The State is funding a 10% conceptual design phase to be implemented by the City of Seattle in partnership with the Washington State Ferry System’s Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Coleman Dock Project.

Pier 52, Coleman Dock, would see its new ferry terminal topped with an elevated public space providing sweeping views of the ferry operations, the Port of Seattle and the entire Elliott Bay.

Pier 48 would become a “fesitval pier,” hosting cultural facilities, outdoor concerts and interpretive features addressing the history of the area.

Nearby, a natural shoreline would expand on the habitat improvements and restoration of the historic Washington Street Boat Landing underway as part of the Elliott Bay Seawall Project. The beach would serve as intertidal habitat environment for migrating juvenile salmon that frequent the area, provide water access, and cap contaminated sediments.

Pier 48 festival pier with open space and natural beach

Pier 48 festival pier with open space and natural beach

Two features strike me as being ideal for incorporating into these two parks. One is a Levitt Pavilion. The other, a writers’ park that would include a Little Free Library.

The non-profit Levitt Pavilions is a unique philanthropic organization that partners with cities to build and transform outdoor performance venues. A typical Levitt Pavilion offers more than 50 free music concerts every year, with the goal of serving those most unable to afford music concerts. 

Recently, my legislative aide Frank Video sat in on a meeting with staff from the City’s Office of Economic Development and the Department of Planning & Development, the executive director of the Levitt Foundation, and the executive director of Friends of Waterfront Seattle to discuss siting a pavilion along Seattle’s waterfront. Pier 48 seemed to be their location of choice.

I, too, support a Levitt Pavilion at Pier 48 because, as a non-profit foundation committed to free, high quality concerts,  Levitt can best address one of the guiding principals of the Central Waterfront’s re-design: opening up the waterfront to all. 

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