There are roughly 127 neighborhoods in Seattle. Pockets of homes and businesses with their own distinct names and histories. Ballard has deep Scandinavian roots. Italian and Japanese immigrants developed farms on Beacon Hill. Long before the Kingdome and the Mariners, the Seattle Pilots played big league baseball in Rainier Valley.
The Seattle waterfront also has a rich history, one that is both economic and cultural. From shipping to canning to tourism, the waterfront has long acted as a gate for Seattle to the world and beyond. Now we have a new opportunity to create a great mixing chamber for our city — a natural gathering spot for the world within Seattle.
Seattle’s central waterfront will be that natural gathering spot.
We’ve highlighted the rebuilding of Pier 62, along with the role it will play in providing a canvas for Seattle’s vibrant and diverse art and performing scene (not to mention the awesome squid jigging scene), but the piers and performances and businesses are just a part of what the revitalized waterfront will have to offer. There’s also something near and dear to the spirit of Seattle — something our city needs as density continues to increase: acres of green space.
20 acres, to be exact, complete with a pedestrian promenade and a full bike path. The revamped waterfront will feature 400 new trees and over 120,000 new shrubs along Elliott Bay, which will make it one of the largest, most unique green corridors in the city. This green corridor will sequester CO2, helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect, while filtering storm water before it reaches Elliott Bay. There will also be an elevated park with views from up as high as the current viaduct that will give everyone a window seat for Elliott Bay sunsets, incoming ferries, and the Olympic mountains.
Combined with the piers and businesses along the waterfront, the blocks of green space will both connect downtown Seattle to the water and provide people from every corner of the city a centralized place to gather. A place where cultures and communities mix even as our city becomes more gentrified.
From Carkeek to Seward and all the parks in between, Seattle’s commitment to green space is tied closely to its identity. Beginning at the turn of the 20th century with the Olmsted bothers’ plan for a citywide park system and continuing today as our city grows in population and green space becomes more important to the quality of life. The revitalized waterfront has been designed to continue that commitment. Seattle’s gate to the world will soon be a regular destination for everyone in Seattle — acres of land bringing our unique and diverse communities together.