It’s time to reconnect our city. As the waterfront viaduct is torn down before our eyes, we’re turning attention to the central freeway that has marred vital urban neighborhoods for half a century. The opportunities are endless, and with your help we can turn Seattle’s next civic vision into reality.
Join the Lid I-5 campaign today.
Current Status: Feasibility Study Proposals Due January 28
View and download the RFP on the City website here. While Lid I-5 will be engaged in the feasibility study, we are not in charge of the project. For more information or questions, please contact the official project manager listed on the City website.
After three years of advocacy and coalition-building, Lid I-5 secured $1.5 million for a freeway lid engineering and finance feasibility study. We collaborated with the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) on drafting the scope of work. The study will occur through 2019 and will have public engagement opportunities. Lid I-5 will continue working in a parallel advocacy role.
About the Campaign
Lid I-5 is a grassroots effort run by working professionals who are volunteering our time. Why do we do it? We believe in building a stronger city for people and creating a more livable, equitable, and sustainable Seattle. While we see this as a citywide effort, we are currently working with several challenges and opportunities in the Center City.
A Need for Public Land
According to OPCD data, Downtown, Capitol Hill, and First Hill are 3.5% of Seattle’s land area but are absorbing 29% of population growth, and at the same time are running out of land. Lidding I-5 is likely the only opportunity to catch up on much-needed affordable housing sites, public open space, civic facilities like schools and community centers, and other public and private infrastructure.
The I-5 freeway is a major environmental issue, with significant noise, air pollution, and visual impacts to thousands of people who live and work nearby and walk across it every day. Where topography allows lids to be built, they reduce these impacts. Lids will also enable more people to live, work, shop, and play in walkable urban neighborhoods and drive less, contributing to Seattle’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal.
We know freeway lids are possible – they’ve been done dozens of times before across the country (see our map here). Based on our review of these projects, it is likely more economical to lid the freeway than purchase land in Downtown. There may be a value capture opportunity that facilitates creative financing, private-public partnerships, or enables a new revenue source for local governments.
WSDOT is Thinking About I-5
The I-5 Systems Partnership is a high-level planning discussion among public agencies about the future of the corridor between Chehalis and Marysville. As the freeway ages past 50 years and remains seismically vulnerable, it is possible the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will decide to study major rehabilitation on the Seattle section. Seattle should be ready with a community plan before any major work happens so that public benefits can be coordinated and leveraged.
Learn more about the campaign by exploring the website.