Lid Feasibility Study RFP Published
It’s official: The City of Seattle is now accepting proposals for consulting firms to research and study how lidding I-5 in central Seattle can happen. See the official posting on the City website.
Lid feasibility study area (graphic by City of Seattle). The study area is proximate to the public benefit nexus (Convention Center Addition) and reflects the topographic area most conducive to lidding in the center city.
The study will investigate engineering conditions and construction options, real estate finance models, and land use scenarios. The data-heavy results, due at the end of 2019, will help the City Council and other public agencies confirm the benefits of lidding I-5 and take the next steps in design and planning.
Three years of advocacy, coalition-building, and community support have led to this moment. Thank you for all of that you’ve done to help the Lid I-5 vision get closer to reality – whether you’ve attended an event, made a donation, or wrote a letter. We’re also thankful to the Community Package Coalition and the Washington State Convention Center for securing this $1.5 million public benefits commitment, which was approved by the Seattle Design Commission and Seattle City Council.
We’re not done yet. Proposals are due January 28 and the Lid I-5 team will continue working with the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and advocating for community interests. Support our work with a monthly donation and stay tuned for future developments.
Lidding I-5: A Big Idea
The Imagine Greater Downtown initiative is dreaming up concepts for improving the Seattle’s core neighborhoods. We’re excited to report the project recently unveiled its ten big ideas, and the “Freeway Stitch” is one of them! Check out the project page here and share a few comments about why you think it’s an important next step in Seattle’s future!
While this campaign is focused on lids as the solution that can both mitigate I-5’s environmental effects and expand public land, the IGD Freeway Stitch concept also recognizes the need to improve pedestrian connections and address the unwelcoming underpasses in Chinatown-International District. We couldn’t agree more – freeways have many types of impacts on urban communities, and we need to do everything we can to improve quality of life around them.
Bellevue Moves Forward with Lidding I-405
Earlier this month the Bellevue City Council unanimously approved a lid option to bridge Interstate 405 as part of the Grand Connection project. The Bellevue Downtown Association says, “It could achieve three key benefits: 1) create new open space with a lid over I-405; 2) support, not preclude, future development capacity; 3) possibly result in lower land acquisition costs for the City. Alternative 3 presents a bolder and more attractive project.”
The other options were smaller scale pedestrian bridges. With the lid concept now moving forward, the City will begin further design and cost estimating in 2019. Zoning changes are also expected to leverage public investment in the Grand Connection and the Downtown Bellevue light rail station opening in 2023.
As shown in Bellevue, throughout King County, and in dozens of cities nationwide, freeway lids are a common and increasingly accepted urban design strategy. Seattle benefits from these case studies and the growing expertise needed to design and construct these community-healing structures.