Friday, 3 July, 2020

Seattle Adopts Aggressive Vision for Zero Traffic Deaths

A serious accident in Seattle.
A serious accident in Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, alongside his police chief and transportation director, announced last week the goal of eliminating all citywide traffic deaths and serious injuries by the year 2030. This formally enters Seattle into the worldwide Vision Zero movement, an idea originating in Sweden that recognizes traffic collisions can be reduced through better engineering, extensive public education, and coordinated law enforcement. Supporters of Vision Zero question why deaths on streets are acceptable, and tell local leaders and traffic engineers to accept that they aren’t. Local strategies will include lowering speed limits, redesigning streets, upgrading electronic traffic controls, emphasis on traffic police patrols, and ongoing community outreach about traffic laws and street safety.

Vision Zero Map
Priority projects under Seattle’s Vision Zero. Click to enlarge. (City of Seattle)

Seattle is already one of the nation’s safest cities for transportation, with annual traffic fatalities at only one-third the rate of the US as a whole. Traffic collisions here have been declining even as population increases. In raw numbers, though, the carnage is still significant. In 2013, the latest year for which data is available, there were 10,310 reported collisions that seriously injured 155 people and killed 23 people. Collisions involving people biking and walking make up only five percent of annual incidents, but they account for nearly half of fatalities. There is a clear need for safer biking and walking infrastructure citywide, along with broader changes in the legal culture that often lets dangerous drivers go unpunished.

Vision Zero prioritizes efforts that slow down vehicles and prevents serious collisions in the first place, which improves safety for everyone using city streets. In a statement, Mayor Murray said, “We are rolling out a range of new safety improvements that will help get our kids get to school, reduce fatalities on city arterials and make our neighborhood streets safer. Our transportation system must work safely for everyone and this plan will save lives.” Cathy Tuttle, executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, said neighborhood advocates have been working with Murray and city staff on this for over two years.

Dashboard 1
Examples of Seattle’s road diets. Click to enlarge. Courtesy of Troy Heerwagen.

Efforts to save lives through design are not new here. Washington state adopted a Target Zero philosophy in 2000 and has been working with cities to improve safety, especially on state routes. In Seattle, an improvement project on Aurora Avenue (SR-99) was followed by a 28 percent drop in collisions, and similar work will begin on Lake City Way (SR-522) later this year. Admittedly, such efforts often don’t go far enough. But the City itself has implemented over 30 road diets over the past few decades, including on Fauntleroy Way SW, NE 125th Street, Nickerson Street, and NE 75th Street. There are several plans for improving safety on many arterials, including 23rd Avenue in the Central District and four miles of Rainier Avenue in Southeast Seattle.

The City will continue taking a data-driven approach to street safety, noting that 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur on the arterials that make up 40 percent of the street network. In the near term the city will establish 20 mph zones near schools and parks. Under the mantra “20 is plenty”, Vision Zero proponents point to research showing that there is a huge difference in survivability for people hit by cars traveling 20 mph (90 percent chance of surviving) and 40 mph (10 percent chance of surviving).

15th Ave NE and NE 40th St in the U District.
15th Ave NE and NE 40th St in the U District.

Speed limits will be reduced to 30 mph or lower on a number of arterial street segments, including the downtown streets where most collisions occur. There speed limits will be reduced to 25 mph in some places, and several streets be targeted for technological and design improvements like eliminating double turn lanes, starting walk signals several seconds before green lights, and prohibiting right turns on red lights. Specific locations include intersections with 5th, 6th, and 7th Avenues between Olive Way and James Street.

In a joint letter for the Vision Zero report (PDF), police chief Kathleen O’Toole and transportation director Scott Kubly point to other cities as examples: “Better and smarter street design, paired with targeted education and enforcement is proving effective in cities that have committed to similar goals. We can learn from these cities.” New York City activists have been leading the nation on this front, and scored a major victory last year when the New York legislature authorized the city to lower its speed limit to 25 mph. Streetsblog New York has been providing comprehensive coverage on the efforts, which have also included increased ticketing for people driving cars who endanger others and installing side panels on trucks. San Francisco, Chicago, and other US municipalities and states have also adopted Vision Zero.

Seattle already has many other ongoing safety projects that support the idea, including designs for complete streets and corridor improvement projects. As part of regular upgrades, this year the City will install seven miles of protected bike lanes, 12 miles of neighborhood greenways, and 14 blocks of new sidewalks. Seattle’s Vision Zero report (PDF) says the City will continue to improve access to transit and work on safe routes to schools, coordination of construction activities with pedestrian access, and use an upcoming SDOT hackathon to look at holistic transportation solutions.

Other cities, especially in the Puget Sound region, should take note if they want to competitively attract people who wish to leave the car at home. The report declares, “We should not accept death as a byproduct of commuting. It’s time to slow down to the speed of life.”

This article is a cross-post from The Northwest Urbanist, the personal blog of Scott Bonjukian. He is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Department of Urban Design and Planning.

ICYMI: Portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail reopens, work continues elsewhere

The restored Burke-Gilman Trail.
The restored Burke-Gilman Trail.

Last month, we reported on the closure of a western chunk of the Burke-Gilman Trail (BGT) near the University of Washington. At the time, Seattle City Light was conducting utility work near their substation below Interstate 5. The detours were challenging for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists along this portion the trail. The biggest pinch was felt when the bridge over 6th Ave NE was closed forcing trail users to the streets and tight sidewalks along NE 40th St and NE Pacific St.

Seattle City Light and the Seattle Department of Transportation implemented a unique, temporary cycletrack on sections of NE 40th St and NE Pacific St parallel to the BGT. While westbound traffic was rerouted off of these streets to create a one-way system, it was fraught with deeply confused bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians–so much so that Seattle City Light had to post a video of how the detours worked.

You can't get there from here.
You can’t get there from here.
The NE 40th St reroute when it was in effect.
The NE 40th St reroute when it was in effect.

Thankfully, this work wrapped up on time and with an improved BGT. New gravel has been placed at the edges of the trail while brand new asphalt has been laid down where utility work was conducted. In total, this amounts to about 1/4 of mile resurfaced improvements. Your tires and feet will appreciate it. Meanwhile, other work continues on the BGT near the UW as contractors work to improve sections near Rainier Vista and the Montlake Triangle. Trail users should take note of the restricts and detours currently in effect (you can see them in the map below). Part of the Montlake Triangle construction will keep King County Metro Route 44 on reroute until February 17th (tomorrow).

2&U: Like Floating on Stilts

Potential building envelope of 2&U, courtesy of DPD.
Potential building envelope of 2&U, courtesy of DPD.

Seattle could soon be seeing another tree-like tower dot the skylineSkanska USA, a large national development firm, has partnered up with the architects of Pickard Chilton to build a new 34-story skyscraper and podium structure in Downtown Seattle’s West End. Called 2&U, the project will sit on three prominent corners between the streets of 1st Ave, Seneca St, 2nd Ave, and University St. But don’t worry, the Diller Room and its humble brick building aren’t going anywhere.

The developer hopes to create 690,000 square feet of new Class A office space and approximately 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail. While the street vacation of the alleyway is proposed, the developer plans to compensate for this by providing through-block pedestrian connections that would link University St and Seneca St in a diagonal fashion while other openings would be provided east of the Diller Room and on the corner of Seneca St and 2nd Ave. The project manages to achieve this by creating an open-air pathway and central courtyard on the site. Cantilevered above the open space, retail buildings, and pathways would be the towering office space. Think of it as a grandiose arcade.

Pedestrian circulation and access for 2&U, courtesy of DPD.
Pedestrian circulation and access for 2&U, courtesy of DPD.

Of course, the plaza space is not the only public-oriented feature. A new south-facing rooftop garden space would be accessible from paths snaking from the higher grounds of Seneca St and 2nd Ave, and the courtyard. The northeast, southeast, and southwest corners would all see landscaping and passive open space treatments to give some measure of breathing room for passerby, shoppers, and office workers.

Open space and landscaping for 2&U, courtesy of DPD.
Open space and landscaping for 2&U, courtesy of DPD.

The zoning for the site is a mix. The eastern half has the benefit of DOC1 U/450/U zoning (Downtown Office Core) with a maximum height 450 feet. The western half has a lesser zoning type of DMC 240/290-400 (Downtown Mixed Commercial). Given that the tower will be focused one the eastern half, the zoning of its western half is of little important. Downtown development regulation generally require separation of towers on the same block, so it wouldn’t be possible for the developer to much more than they’re proposing.

Site context of 2&U, courtesy of DPD.
Site context of 2&U, courtesy of DPD.

The developers have considered the access issues for the site well. All vehicular access to the development site has been focused on Seneca St. Those wanting to park can enter and exit the underground parking garage from this bi-directional street. Meanwhile, building services like truck loading and trash pickup will also be located in the same area. 500 parking stalls would be constructed on five floors of underground parking.

A suite of significant departures from code are proposed, with superior building design and user experience being the basis for the departures. One of the proposed departure consists of corner landscaping and deep building setbacks. Under the Land Use Code, a structure would normally be required to be have a smaller setback from the sidewalk. Other departures include reduced modulation and increased upper floor building width (no stepping back). However, the developer feels that features like these will enhance the quality of the overall structure by giving it a more earthy and shaped feel.

Upper floors of 2&U and the skyline, courtesy of DPD.
Upper floors of 2&U and the skyline, courtesy of DPD.

For all the good that this project may be, some really high quality masonry buildings will have to say goodbye to Downtown. The Galland Building stands prominently on the corner of University St and 2nd Ave. The building has a very attractive whitewashed facade and stands five stories tall. The building still serves as an office building. Meanwhile, the Seneca Building, a three-story retail building, is stellar example of red brick masonry common of the early 1900s. The beautiful blue transom and window box panelling will be sorely missed.

How To Get Involved

If you’re interested in attending the community design review meeting for this project, you can do so tomorrow night. The Downtown Design Review Board will meet at City Hall in Room L280, located at 600 5th Ave. The 2&U design review meeting begins at 5.30pm. Alternatively, if you wish submit comments in written form, you can do so by e-mailing Garry Papers, Project Planner, at and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) at

For more design review materials and upcoming meetings, see DPD’s design review page.

Sunday Video: Building Seattle One Permit At A Time


Seattle Building Permits Visualization by on YouTube.

A short visualization of building permits in Seattle since 2006. This is astounding!

What We’re Reading: Republicans Throwing the Monkey Wrenches

Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) unveils his transportation plan.
Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) unveils his transportation plan on Thursday.

Trying to kneecap Sound Transit: Senate Republicans come up with a purported “bipartisan” statewide transportation plan that would give new funding authority for Sound Transit 3, but severely limiting taxing options and project scale. Meanwhile, the transportation plan would focus almost exclusively on new highways. Should the plan pass in its current form from the Senate, it would require dramatic reconciliation with Democratic House version.

Changing pot rules: Medical marijuana rules governing cultivation and procurement could be significantly changed if one Republican Senator has her way.

New pricing: Pronto! has released a new set of prices for monthly members and pensioners.

N: harassment: A group in opposition to Swedish Medical Center’s expansion plans have been harassing the organization. Swedish has sent a cease and desist notice to the group.

Representation for renters: With the rents reaching sky-high rates, the head of the Tenants Union of Washington has jumped into the Seattle city council race.

Connecting Olympia: Last week, the Tacoma New Tribune opined that Sounder to Olympia was a long ways off due to expensive costs. But Brian Bunbridge says that resurrecting an alignment may not be out of reach–assuming that parts of Thurston County are added as a Sound Transit service area.

Appealing growth: A number of parties have jumped in to block options for housing and access to jobs in the University District. They hope to overturn the recently completed environmental review of growth alternatives.

Red or blue: Richard Florida asks what makes a dense urban county vote Republican, and finds that core urban counties may not be as blue as people think.

Maps of the week: Four maps that show the massive population shift emanating from Central Europe, what a future DC area transit map could look like if Maryland pushes ahead with two more rail lines, and where all of the young people are living in the Seattle area..

Police living on the outside: Most Seattle East Precinct police officers don’t live in Seattle, and definitely not in the East Precinct. Meanwhile, the City of Seattle won’t support a police accountability bill proposed by Sen. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle).

A look back: Take a walk back in time to 1885 and see what Capitol Hill was like.

Big opposition: Advocates don’t want a new youth detention center in First Hill, but the King County Council passed an ordinance in favor anyway.

Paving paradise: Florence could fit perfectly within one whole Atlanta cloverleaf interchange. Meanwhile, Dallas advocates are trying to shutdown a rebuild of a freeway through the city.

Shoreline rezones: Residents fill a council meeting to express their fears about a series of rezones.

Rebuilding 520: Tom at Seattle Bike Blog takes a close look at the current plans for the Seattle rebuild of SR-520.

Fighting for a stand, losing the forestFuturewise argues that Seattle is reducing its tree canopy, but their numbers are questionable at best.

The success of urban villagesCityLab takes on Seattle’s urban villages strategy and concludes that it’s fighting sprawl.

Ranking transit: Washington State rounds out the top 6 for transit usage.

Seattle’s Vision ZeroSightline takes us through what Seattle’s Vision Zero program will do.

New parklet: A sixth parklet will be debuting on the 21st of February in Lower Queen Anne.

Spotting a gray: In a rare instance, a gray whale swims through the Port of Tacoma‘s network of waterways.

February 2015 Service Change for Metro, Community Transit, and Sound Transit

Coming soon.
The new timetable pamphlets.

On, and around Valentine’s Day, King County Metro, Sound Transit, and Community Transit will be implementing their late winter and early spring service changes. In early April, there will be some additional changes to Metro routes 4, 8, & 48 in order to accommodate construction. Details follow below; click the linked images to jump to the specific transit provider:

King County Metrosound-transit-logocommunitytransit

King County Metro

New Timetables

Keep a lookout for the new green timetables on buses and at timetable information kiosks. This service change is relatively minor, the last before the Proposition 1 funded changes start going into effect this June and September.

New Customer Service Center Hours

Beginning February 14, Metro’s Customer Information office will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for trip planning and Lost & Found calls, and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for ORCA calls and customer comments. The office will be closed on weekends and major holidays.

The Customer Stop on the mezzanine level of Westlake Station will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the first and last four business days of each month. The Customer Service office and Lost & Found at the King Street Center in Pioneer Square (201 S Jackson St) will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

New Route (Effective February 16th)

Route 628
route_628_mapIn an effort to expand alternative transit service on the Eastside and to help mitigate Route 208 service reductions and the deletion of routes 209 and 215 last fall, Metro has contracted with Hopelink to operate a new shuttle service in the Snoqualmie Valley.On weekdays, Community Shuttle Route 628 will operate about every 30 minutes between 5-8 am and 5-9 pm. It will operate on a fixed route to and from North Bend and the Issaquah Highlands P&R via Snoqualmie and Snoqualmie Ridge, and also provide service on request at designated stops within a flexible service area in the Issaquah Highlands. To schedule service in this area, call 855-233-6043.Route 628 will operate via SR-202, Snoqualmie Parkway, SE Ridge St, Douglas Ave SE, I-90 and Highlands Drive NE. It will also operate a reverse peak-period express service (eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening) to and from the Factory Outlet Mall in North Bend and the Issaquah Highlands P&R via I-90. Regular Metro fares will apply.Metro routes 208 and 224, and the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT) shuttle also provides service in the Snoqualmie Valley.

Revised Routes (Effective February 14th)

Route 7
The southbound Route 7 schedule will be revised to provide improved service to and from S Prentice St.
Route 50
In early February, Route 50 will serve a new bus stop inside the Veterans Administration Medical Center. If the new driveway and entrance is not finished by the start of the service change on February 14, Route 50 will continue serve the bus stops on Columbian Way S, just east and west of the entrance to the medical center.
Route 55
Southbound Route 55 to the Admiral District will serve the bus stop westbound on Wall St just east of 5th Ave. It will no longer stop at the bus stop westbound on Bell St just west of 7th Ave.
Route 111
Southbound Route 111 to Lake Kathleen will serve the bus stop westbound on Lenora St just east of 4th Ave. This route will no longer stop at the bus stops westbound on Bell St just west of 7th Ave, and on 2nd Ave just south of Bell St.
Route 114
Southbound Route 114 to the Renton Highlands will serve the bus stop westbound on Lenora St just east of 4th Ave. This route will no longer stop at the bus stops westbound on Bell St just west of 7th Ave, and on 2nd Ave just south of Bell St.
Route 143
Southbound Route 143 to Black Diamond will serve the bus stop westbound on Lenora St just east of 4th Ave. This route will no longer stop at the bus stops westbound on Bell St just west of 7th Ave, and on 2nd Ave just south of Bell St.
Route 193
The southbound Route 193 trip to Federal Way leaving E Jefferson St & 18th Ave at 7:05 pm will be revised to leave 35 minutes later at 7:40 pm.
Route 204
The span of service for southbound Route 204 trips to south Mercer Island will be extended by about an hour in the evening. The last southbound trip leaves the North Mercer Island P&R at 7:03 pm.
Route 212
The westbound trip to downtown Seattle leaving the Eastgate P&R at 7:21 am will be revised to leave six minutes later at 7:27 am.
Route 255
Eastbound Route 255 trips during the afternoon peak period will be revised to help eliminate a 29 minute gap in service between 7:15 and 7:44 pm. Also, a westbound trip to downtown Seattle leaving the Kirkland Transit Center at 5:44 pm will be deleted.
Route 303
The northbound Route 303 trip to the Shoreline P&R leaving E Jefferson St & 18th Ave at 7:18 pm will be revised to leave 22 minutes later at 7:40 pm.
Route 312
The southbound Route 312 trips to downtown Seattle leaving the Kenmore P&R at 7:16 and 7:23 am will be revised to leave at 7:18 and 7:22 am instead.
DART 913
At Kent Boeing, DART Route 913 will be revised to operate via 59th Ave S, S 208th St and the Kent Boeing Access Road in both directions. It will no longer operate on S 212th St between 59th Ave S and 66th Ave S, 66th Ave S, S 208th St, 67th Ave S and the roadway on the east and south sides of buildings 18-61, 18-67 and 18-62.

Revised Routes (Effective early April)

Route 4
Beginning in early April, southbound Route 4 will only operate as far as 21st Ave & E James St for about eight months due to a long-term construction project on 23rd Ave S.Alternative nearby service to downtown Seattle is available via Route 2 on E Union St, Route 3 on E Jefferson St, Route 7 on Rainier Ave S, Route 8 on Martin Luther King Jr Way, Route 14 on S Jackson St, Route 27 on Yesler Way and Route 48 on 23rd Ave.In conjunction with the start of the Route 4 routing revision, Route 8 will be revised to operate, in both directions, on Martin Luther King Jr Way S between S Jackson St and E Yesler Way. It will not operate via S Jackson St, 23rd Ave S and E Yesler Way northbound or via E Yesler Way, 23rd Ave S and S Jackson St southbound.Also, northbound Route 48 service on 23rd Ave S will be rerouted between S Jackson St and E Cherry St via Martin Luther King Jr Way. Route 48 will serve the bus stops eastbound on S Jackson St just east of 23rd Ave S, northbound on Martin Luther King Jr Way at E Alder and E Cherry streets, and westbound on E Cherry St at 25th Ave. Southbound service will be maintained but traffic delays should be expected.
Route 8
In conjunction with the start of the Route 4 routing revision, Route 8 will be revised to operate, in both directions, on Martin Luther King Jr Way S between S Jackson St and E Yesler Way. It will not operate via S Jackson St, 23rd Ave S and E Yesler Way northbound or via E Yesler Way, 23rd Ave S and S Jackson St southbound.
Route 48
In conjunction with the start of the Route 4 routing revision, northbound Route 48 service on 23rd Ave S will be rerouted between S Jackson St and E Cherry St via Martin Luther King Jr Way. Route 48 will serve the bus stops eastbound on S Jackson St just east of 23rd Ave S, northbound on Martin Luther King Jr Way at E Alder and E Cherry streets, and westbound on E Cherry St at 25th Ave. Southbound service will be maintained but traffic delays should be expected.

Sound Transit

For more detailed information look in the new Ride the Wave guide on all Sound Transit vehicles. A PDF of the new Guide is also available at

Bus Service (Effective February 14th/15th)

Route 510
New morning trip
Route 574
Minor schedule changes.
Route 590
Fourteen trips deleted and minor schedule changes to other trips.
Route 592
Two trips deleted to match ridership demand and minor schedule changes.
Route 594
Six trips added and minor schedule changes to other trips
Route 596
Minor schedule changes.

Rail Service

There are no changes to Link, Tacoma Link, or Sounder service.

Community Transit

New bus schedules are available at and you can now use the Trip Planner to plan your trips after the service change. New Bus Plus schedule books will be on buses starting Friday, February 6.

Revised Routes (Effective February 16th)

Route 412
Route 412 will have adjustments to the first three morning trips heading to Seattle. This includes permanent scheduling of a trip that was added last fall to meet demand. Please note that this route is not operating on Presidents Day.
Route 425
Route 425 will have its first trip leave several minutes earlier. Please check times at your stop. Please note that this route is not operating on Presidents Day.
Sound Transit Route 510
Sound Transit Route 510 will have the permanent addition of a morning trip to Seattle that was added last fall to meet demand.
The Smokey Point Transit Center will open
All bus routes traveling through the Smokey Point Area will use the transit center as a hub for transfers. Routes 201, 202, 220 227, 230 and 240 all will serve this new transit center. See the map online or in Bus Plus schedule books for bay location details. There is no pa





He got on along with the great mob at 4th and Pike. Somebody in front of him was taking an extra moment to pay cash, and he’d tapped his ORCA card and snuck quietly past, but my “how’s it going” reached his ears. The man had been planning to walk further back, but after seeing the way I greeted everyone he sat down up front with a smile, grinning as one does upon coming across something at once energizing and unexpectedly familiar, like a relative you’d forgotten how much you liked.

He responded by asking how my day’s been.
“It’s been fan-tastic,” I said. He cackled with shared delight, perfect rows of teeth highlighted against his dark skin and rugged attire.

I continued. “What kind of work do you do? If I may ask.”
“Sign spinner,” he said sheepishly.
“Really? Science….”
“Sign spinner.”
“Oh, sweet! Like ‘slow and ‘stop?'” He nodded with a rueful smile, which blew into a huge grin upon my saying, “That’s awesome!” I was thrilled at the opportunity to learn more about the job I see so often.
“Not really!” he laughed.
“Aww. Are you sure, ‘not really?'”
“This is Seattle in the wintertime!”
We burst into fits of giggling. “This is true. Minor detail! But! I would hope, ’cause that sounds like a safety sensitive job, I would hope you’re gettin’ paid. I hope they’re givin you a little somethin’ extra, standing out there. ‘Cause it’s a standing job too, and that, that, that takes a certain kinda energy!”

We talked about his job, then about mine, how nighttime is the best time for driving, how the light cycles are shorter, the people are fun, how great I think the 7 is, and so on. Through the course of all this we found ourselves using terms like ‘fortuitous’ and ‘elated,’ and it wasn’t just myself lobbing off the four-syllable words. Here was a man who shared my passion for learning, no matter his career or life circumstances.
“Now, I’m not sayin’ you have to,” I quipped, “but if you’re ever on my bus you can always lean out and wave that “slow” sign around, get some of these cars back in line!”

Then, after a pause, a new thought occurred to me. I’d been trying to imagine the job from his perspective.

“Hey, lemme ask you something. Do a lot of people wave thanks, or hi or something, as they drive past you?”
“Aaaauuuhhmm,” he said. We laughed again. “Sometimes they do. I always do. I mean, it only takes a second, to smile.”
“It only takes a, exactly. I mean, what else are you gonna do?”
“The bus drivers always, they looove me! They get so excited when they drive past….”
“Oh, yeah! I always wave, ’cause i’m thinkin,’ both of us are workin,’ here we are,”
“Yeah. it only takes a second.”
“It’s so easy. Plus, you’re gonna see each other ten more times!”
“Exactly! Oh man, I know every single bus driver, police officer, ambulance driver,”
“These are good people to know!”
“Taxi driver, Jack-in-the-Box, every single Post Office employee, every pizza delivery guy,”
“There you go! Oh, you’re set!”
“One day I’ll just be like, ‘do you have an extra one uh those?!'”
“And they’ll be like, just don’t gimme that stop sign next time!”

Another pause. One of those conversations where a silence can enter and easily be broken again later on. I said, “I tell you, ’cause when I look out at these car drivers sometimes, they just seem so depressed! They just look morose!”
We were laughing.
“Ooh, great word. That’s gotta be the word of the day, morose.”
“Thanks man!”
“Love that word,” he said.
“Me too! I so rarely get an opportunity to use it in a sentence!” The giggling fits began anew….
“I love vocabulary!”
“Me too! It expands our horizons. New ways of thinking!”
“Exactly. It’s like, why not?”
“I know, man. There’s more than five four-letter words with which to express ourselves!”

Event Today: Shape the future of art and activation of Bell Street Park

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