Bell Street Park
Bell Street Park

We’re nearing a year since the opening of the 4-block Bell Street Park between 1st and 5th Avenue in the Belltown neighborhood of downtown Seattle. New businesses have opened, traffic patterns have been changed to facilitate pedestrian flow, and consequently more and more people flock to the area.

Later today, the community organization Friends of Bell Street Park will organize an event to solicit feedback from the public on what kind of art should call the park home and what types of events and practices to use for activation. As it is so early in the development of the park, any idea is fair game and has a chance of implementation. The stated goals for art and activation are:

  • Remember the past (incorporate the rich history of Belltown), look to the future (focus on sustainability), and be in the present (create a destination).
  • Keep Bell Street active all year round!
  • Allow the Park to act as a front porch for all socioeconomic levels of neighbors in Belltown.
  • Create a framework for individuals to champion future community events.
  • Facilitate quick and easy permitting and implementation through collaboration with City staff.
  • Encourage a diversity of event types and art interventions.
  • Build on the Park as a vibrant, green and safe place that Belltown can be proud to call its own.

Event Details:

  • When: Friday, February 13, 6pm-8pm
  • Where: Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell Street, Seattle

If you can’t attend, you can also provide feedback online at

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  1. “Traffic patterns have been changed to facilitate pedestrian flow”

    Good one… Those signs are universally ignored.

    • Maybe, but every time I walk by the motor vehicle volumes are incredibly low. I’ve been by there more than a dozen times since it has opened and I’ve never seen it be an issue. But, perhaps I’m just going by at really odd times? In any case, there does need to be interventions made to make the space more clearly shared to encourage pedestrians to use it. Right now, the arrangement definitely lends itself to clear separation, which is what makes pedestrians think that they can’t own it. This event is one way to do that. This isn’t a science unfortunately, and SDOT and DPR are going to have keep playing with it to come to a balance that they feel meets the intent of a woonerf. I should say, property owners and local organisations have a hand in this, too, of course.

      I’m not bothered by the wolf cries of naysayers and media. They can whine all they want like they do with all urban and transportation issues. They simply want to see this not succeed and to sell ad space.

      • I don’t think all Bell Street naysaying is about wanting it to fail. Some of it is about a design that contradicts itself at every turn. We got that because we didn’t establish a clear vision for what we thought was most important on Bell, and then follow that to its conclusion about what had to be excluded. Instead we tried to cram everything we think is “good” onto it, with no thought to how well these things work together. A successful Bell Street that’s different from what it was before would make me really happy! What was done makes me sad.

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