Interstate 5 south of Downtown Seattle. (Photo by Scott Bonjukian)

Have you been waiting for a way to positively support the Lid I-5 community effort? Now is the time!

The Seattle City Council is nearing final approval of the long-awaited update to Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan. This document is used to guide policy and recommend growth strategies over a 20-year planning period. Its goals and policies provide important direction for city leaders.

To that end, we believe policy supporting future connections over and around Seattle’s freeways could be more comprehensive and advance a more ambitious vision. The previous version of the plan mentioned lids specifically, while the current draft leaves them out. Here is policy in the updated plan:

Policy T3.11: Look for opportunities to reestablish or improve connections across I-5 by creating new crossings or enhancing streets where I-5 crosses overhead, especially where these can also enhance opportunities for development or open space.

To support our efforts, please consider sending a message to the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee urging the adoption of stronger policy language. We’ve prepared a letter below that you can send directly or customize as needed.

Members of the Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee,

I am writing to support the Lid I-5 Steering Committee’s requests for refinements of the draft Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The following changes are needed to reflect growing community support for the concept of lidding I-5, the long term addition of new public space, and the eventual reconnection of neighborhoods that have been divided for over half a century:

1) Modify transportation policy T3.11 to specifically reference freeway lids and broaden it to all freeways in Seattle. This would be consistent with plans for two new lids in the Montlake and Roanoke neighborhoods over State Route 520, and it would support existing lids over I-5 and I-90: Freeway Park, Sam Smith Park, and the Convention Center.

2) Change the policy to refer to “…opportunities for development AND open space”, as freeway lids are not limited to one or the other. Community feedback has focused on the need for public land for parks, affordable housing, and a Downtown elementary school.

3) Repeat policy T3.11, with revisions as needed, to three other plan chapters: Land Use; Housing; and Parks, Recreation, & Open Space. The creation of new public land above freeways creates a wide range of possibilities which touch on many of the City’s goals for growth, public investment, and private development.

Thank you.

Comments should be e-mailed to these committee members by the morning of Wednesday, September 14:


For more information, click here to download and read the Steering Committee’s formal letter.

If you are interested in testifying publicly, the PLUZ committee is holding a hearing on the Comprehensive Plan on Thursday, September 15, at 2:00 PM at the Seattle City Hall Council Chambers (600 5th Avenue).

Lid I-5 is a community organization working to continue the effort of lidding Seattle’s freeways for parks, housing, schools, and other public uses. They are officially sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation, a philanthropy-based organization that encourages public-sector investment and private-sector giving to help create, activate, and care for public spaces throughout Seattle. For information, visit