In this newsletter:
- Call for volunteers! We’re looking to expand the Steering Committee.
- Upvote the idea for lidding I-5 across Seattle.
- Freeway Park is now a local landmark.
- A look back at how far we’ve come since 2015.
- Watch our national webinar presentation.
Call for Volunteers!
The Steering Committee is looking to expand our ranks with energetic and enthusiastic community leaders! Submit your interest by July 31. Volunteering with Lid I-5 is a great way to get engaged with the future of your neighborhood and building a more connected, equitable, and sustainable city.
We’re looking for people who are representative of the diversity of the Seattle community. Women and people of color are highly encouraged to inquire.
Volunteering on the Steering Committee is a flexible commitment, with terms of 6-12 months. Steering Committee members are expected to contribute at least 5 hours per month toward their area of interest or expertise (such as public outreach, advocacy, writing, fundraising, event planning, etc.). The team meets monthly and frequently communicates electronically. Reliable participation is expected.
We welcome people working in all fields with skills that translate to public outreach, advocacy, and other campaign activities. Experience in fields like architecture, urban planning, engineering, or real estate is a plus. For a better understanding of everything that Lid I-5 does, check out our recent newsletters, team info, candidate responses, and letter archive.
To start, fill out the interest form by July 31. We look forward to hearing from you!
Vote for Lidding I-5!
Seattle is working on two major planning efforts relevant to Lid I-5. Each has an online “engagement hub” where you can take surveys, send in your ideas, and find upcoming events.
Please upvote the idea to “Lid Interstate 5 across the city” on the Comprehensive Plan engagement hub. You will need to create an account.
Of course, this is also a great time to send in your other input about Seattle’s growth strategy, housing, parks, the economy, and other elements of city planning.
Thanks for your help!
Freeway Park Becomes a Landmark!
On July 6 the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designated Freeway Park (1976) as a local landmark. This followed a nomination on May 18.
Thank you to the folks who submitted comments by email! The Board definitely heard us. The vote was unanimous and several Board members spoke in favor of Lid I-5 and retaining flexibility to grow and evolve the park over time.
The landmarking will give Freeway Park well-deserved attention and could help attract preservation funding. It’s a one-of-a-kind park, designed with a rare form of “landscape brutalism” that brings nature to the fast-paced city. At the same time, we know the park needs to be able to respond to the dynamic needs of a growing city and the glaring lack of park space in First Hill and Downtown – meaning the park may need to expand with future lids to the south and north.
We intend to keep following this process. Scott from Lid I-5 spoke in favor of the designation, but advised the Board to carefully craft the “controls and incentives agreement” that governs how the park can change. The Board’s staff and the Seattle parks department will now negotiate that agreement. City Council will have the final say at an undetermined date.
How Far We’ve Come
Amid the chaos and uncertainty of the last two and a half years, it’s easy to forget about the longer term. Thankfully, the Lid I-5 volunteer team is dedicated to keeping the flame alive as we methodically and carefully chart a course forward. In doing so, it always help to look back at how far we’ve come. Here is a quick timeline of the Lid I-5 campaign by year.
- Since 2015 the project has reached thousands of Seattle citizens through community workshops, tours, and media coverage, starting with our first public presentation at City Council
- In 2016 Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan was amended to include lid-supportive policies.
- In 2017 a coalition of community partners secured over $90 million in public benefit funding through the Washington State Convention Center Addition. This included $1.5 million for the lid feasibility study, $10 million to enhance Freeway Park, and $30 million for affordable housing.
- In 2018 the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods awarded a $48,000 grant for Lid I-5 to host a year-long public design program, which resulted in a variety of inspiring lid design concepts.
- In 2019 the City of Seattle endorsed the project in the Imagine Greater Downtown initiative.
- In 2020 the I-5 Lid Feasibility Study confirmed the project is possible and should be advanced.
- In 2021 the project was featured in the national Freeways Without Futures report and we joined a national coalition that secured funding for the $1 billion Reconnecting Communities pilot program
- In 2022 the state legislature provided funding for WSDOT to study the general conditions and future of the I-5 corridor.
- Today: The campaign is endorsed by city councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Dan Strauss, Andrew Lewis, and three state legislators (plus numerous former officials). Lidding I-5 in central Seattle enjoys strong public support (over 60 percent approval).
Freeway Fighters Webinar
Did you miss our appearance at last month’s ‘s webinar? You can check out the recording of On the Park Bench, a webinar series from the Congress for the New Urbanism. Scott from Lid I-5 presented news on the Seattle front and lessons on effective engagement. Alongside were leaders from the Rethink35 campaign in Austin, Texas and the Riverfront Collective in Albany, New York.