What’s Happening with the Waterfront?

With Bertha behind us and the Alaska Way Viaduct scheduled to come down, the full Waterfront redesign is ready to kick into high gear.

In July 2012, the City of Seattle released a Concept Design and Framework Plan rooted in dozens of public meetings and large-scale civic events which helped to shape the plan for improving the waterfront. The city launched “Waterfront Seattle” – a multi-year program to plan design, and ultimately build the new waterfront from Pioneer Square to Belltown. It includes: the rebuilt Elliott Bay Seawall; twenty acres of new parks, trails and public space along Elliott Bay; improved connections between center city neighborhoods and the waterfront; critical utility infrastructure; and new Alaskan Way and Elliott Way surface streets to serve all modes of travel.

Current Developments

  • The new Elliott Bay Seawall is under construction, replacing the existing 100 year old seawall. Seawall construction is expected to be completed in 2017.
  • Bertha completed digging the SR 99 tunnel through downtown in April 2017. Remaining construction components include: disassembly and removal of Bertha; interior roadway construction; installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and testing/commissioning.  The tunnel is expected to open to traffic in 2019, followed by demolition of the viaduct.
  • One of the early elements of the waterfront vision will open on June 29, 2017: the Marketfront at Pike Place Market. This mixed-use development will provide parking for the Market and the waterfront, low-income housing for seniors, expanded social services and additional Market retail and restaurant space. The MarketFront will also provide 30,000-square-feet of public open space and views of Elliott Bay while creating a critical new connection between Pike Place Market and the new Central Waterfront that emerges after the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
  • A rebuilt Alaskan Way and new Elliott Way will serve all modes of travel and provide pedestrian crossings and signalized intersections.  Construction is expected to begin in 2019.
  • City officials are expected to request a Local Improvement District (LID) in parts of downtown Seattle.  Beginning in 2018, the LID would collect nearly 30% of the $700 million required to design and build waterfront projects. A LID is a funding tool in the form of a special tax assessment levied at taxpayers who are expected to especially benefit from public improvements.

More resources
City of Seattle Office of the Waterfront
Waterfront Seattle
WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement schedule

Image courtesy of WSDOT

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