In this newsletter:
- Join us September 20 for a fall social
- More federal funding for lidding freeways
- Upvote lidding I-5 across Seattle.
- A look back at how far we’ve come since 2015.
- Watch our national webinar presentation.
Lid I-5 Fall Social
You are cordially invited to our fall social on Tuesday, September 20, 4:30 PM at The Cloud Room. Please RSVP here.
Your first drink is on us! This is a casual event to catch up, recharge, and meet the team. Meet your neighbors and hear more ways you can get involved in building a greener and stronger Seattle.
Light appetizers will be provided from local restaurant Osteria la Spiga. Starting at 5:30 we will have brief remarks from Councilmember Andrew Lewis and an update from our volunteer team on the Lid I-5 campaign.
The Cloud Room is located on the 4th floor of Chophouse Row, located at 1424 11th Avenue in Capitol Hill. Enter the midblock alley, turn right in the courtyard, and use the orange door to get to the elevator. Please RSVP here.
We look forward to seeing you!
More Federal Funding for Lidding Freeways
On August 16 President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, a package of funding and policy to fight climate change. A key part that flew under the radar is very important for cities like Seattle that are strangled by freeways. A new program called the Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants provides $3 billion for communities to mitigate and resolve infrastructure barriers like urban freeways and railroads.
Sound familiar? This is a very similar program to Reconnecting Communities pilot (RCP) which was created last fall with $1 billion. This new program essentially quadruples the funding available for cities, states, and community organizations to heal their neighborhoods and create good jobs and environmental benefits at the same time. Eligible projects also include complete streets, greenways and trails, noise and pollution mitigation, and safety improvements. A key aspect under the newest program is it cannot result in an increase of vehicle capacity.
Both programs were advocated by Lid I-5 as part of a national coalition led by the Congress for the New Urbanism.
We’ll be looking for more information on the new Neighborhood Access program to see how it compares to RCP. The RCP program lasts for five years and currently Lid I-5 does not anticipate being able to apply this year, but we will lay the groundwork for one or more grant applications next year. We look forward to collaborating with our partners at the City of Seattle, Seattle Parks Foundation, and in Congress.
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. This is a great place to raise public awareness of the project.
You can also leave a comment supporting lidding I-5 in your neighborhood on the transportation plan interactive map and take the transportation survey. Dozens of people already have and we thank those who have made their voice heard.
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!
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.