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October 31, 2017

LID I-5 wants 4 teams to design options for adding lids over I-5

  • Lid I-5 expects to pick the teams by the end of this year, and complete the work in September 2018.
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Image by John Feit

    A group that wants to see lids built over parts of Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle received a $48,000 grant for its campaign, including for conceptual design of lid options in the city center.

    Lid I-5 plans to use much of the grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to cover marketing and other expenses, but small stipends would go to four teams to design lids in three areas, and to develop a plan for multi-modal access between the sites.

    Lid I-5 expects to pick the teams by the end of this year, and complete the work in September 2018.

    Interested teams are invited to attend one of two meetings from noon to 1 p.m. — either this Friday or Nov. 7 at The Center for Architecture & Design at 1010 Western Ave. in Seattle. Those who cannot attend, should contact John Feit, Lid I-5 steering committee member chair, at feit.john@gmail.com or (206) 617-9388.

    The teams will be composed of consultants and developers of affordable and market-rate housing, office, hospitality and retail, as well as advocates for open space, said Feit. They will develop conceptual lid programs as well as conceptual designs for landscape and buildings for the following areas:

    South: Over I-5 between Madison Street and Pike Street with a focus on parks and open space, including connections to Jim Ellis Freeway Park.

    Central: Over I-5 between Pike Street and Olive Way with a focus on office, hospitality and retail projects, and how to help activate the Pike-Pine corridor and Olive Way.

    North: Over I-5 between Olive Way and Thomas Street with a focus on affordable and market-rate housing and how to transition housing on Capitol Hill to commercial uses on Eastlake Avenue and South Lake Union.

    Connection: This team will focus on bike, walking and transit access between the lid sites.

    Feit, an architect, said Lid I-5 has received approval from transportation and parks agencies, including Washington State Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks, to design projects that would include their rights of way.

    The city and King County recently announced terms for “a suite of benefits” worth some $82 million that would be provided by Washington State Convention Center as part of the planned expansion of the center. Seattle City Council will vote on the public-benefits agreement early next year.

    The benefits would include $1.5 million for a study of lidding I-5.

    Feit's group wants the city to use that money to analyze where lidding would be most cost effective and have the greatest value, with a focus on the city center, where it said I-5 runs in a trench below street level and where foot traffic is highest.

    Feit said other U.S. lid projects with parks have cost around $500 per square foot, but lids with buildings cost more as they must be stronger.

    Lid I-5 would like the city study to consider the cost of lids that can accommodate taller buildings, and what type of exhaust system might be needed, he said.

    Lid I-5 is made up of architects, developers and urban planners. It was formed in 2015 in response to the WSCC expansion. Feit said the group knew there would be public benefits because of street closures and saw an opportunity to expand lidding in downtown Seattle.

    He called the interstate a “gash through downtown” that creates noise and pollution. Lids would help connect people and create “some great real estate” for new buildings and parks, he said.

    Lid I-5 is sponsored by Seattle Parks Foundation, with partners that include Freeway Park Association, First Hill Improvement Association, Capitol Hill Housing, Central Seattle Greenways and Melrose Promenade.

    It will hold a design charrette from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 13 at 12th Avenue Arts at 1620 12th Ave. in Seattle so people can see the design team's work. The public is also invited to the meetings in November.


    Lynn Porter can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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