I know we have been talking about this for years. Yes, there have been some delays, and perhaps some missteps, but I hope those will all be long forgotten once the Bell Street Park is a reality. And that day is nearing! The idea is about to be implemented. Belltown is about to get its own linear park. If you like Dutch Designs, which create lovely, walkable safe green public spaces, you’ll be happy to see many of these elements incorporated into the city’s newest urban park.
Construction will begin in early spring 2013. The Park blocks will be constructed one at a time, to minimize disruption to local residents and businesses.
This project will transform four blocks of Bell Street into a 4-block 56,000-square foot new street park. The continuous level pavement will encourage pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles to share the space with trees and flowers.
Here’s what’s new:
- The existing street lights will be removed and replaced with efficient pedestrian lighting fixtures every block. This new lighting will raise the ambient light and safety level for those on the street while minimizing light pollution for those in their living rooms.
- Parks has designed this street to accommodate and encourage outdoor dining for existing restaurants in the corridor and a proposed new restaurant at Bell at 2nd. Like to eat al fresco?
- Large “civic” trees including London Plane, Tulip Trees, Quaking Aspen and certain birches will replace the trees in place now. I hate to see mature trees removed anytime, but these new trees have been identified as “right tree right place” that will be planted in good soils with large enough footprints to comfortably accommodate their roots and growth.
It turned out that Parks needed a Memorandum of Agreement with other City agencies to spell out the responsibilities of each agency for the long-term maintenance of the Park. To get there, Parks lobbied for and got an interdepartmental planning team established to help ease projects that overlap departments in the future.
Community input has been received and lessons incorporated in the final designs. With additional street parks, such as the 14th Ave Park in Ballard on the horizon, I’m pleased that Parks has taken the project’s lessons to heart.
The Parks and Green Spaces Levy funds the entire four blocks of the park from 1st Avenue to 5th Avenue on Bell Street. Construction bids opened on January 23, 2013. Parks awarded the construction contract to AGR Construction of Monroe WA the low responsible bidder. The contract award is $3,377,000.
Sheila Klein, a nationally recognized public artist who has worked from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, will create art for Bell Street Park. The artwork is commissioned with Parks and Green Spaces Levy 1% for Art funds.
I am thrilled that this new street park will link our Waterfront, the Denny Triangle and South Lake Union through Belltown. Belltown is one of the city’s highest density neighborhoods and will continue to be a big residential draw as more employers join us in South Lake Union. As a downtown neighbor, I look forward to strolling through this great new four block connector; imagine it as a short cut to the Lake to Bay Loop! I hope that those who have experienced frustration will be as thrilled as I am with this new addition.