Seattle Bike Blog Editor Tom Fucoloro has Gone Bikin’ until Labor Day. In the meantime, we will be periodically posting short news bits and excerpts from good reads floating around the web.
My favorite description of the Melrose Promenade concept is “Capitol Hill’s front porch.” Because the underutilized street with incredible views should be both a major non-motorized route and a great place for people in the city’s densest neighborhood to hang out.
Back when I was active in Central Seattle Greenways, the group helped project volunteers (like dedicated visionary Mike Kent) win some city grant funding for planning and community outreach. So though I have not been personally involved in the project since then, it’s amazing to see all that work come to fruition with $3 million in funding for construction. I can’t wait to see it in action.
More on the grant funding from Scott Bonjukian at the Urbanist:
Today the street is bombarded with the roar of freeway traffic and has a narrow sidewalk on only one side, offering not so much as a street tree or bench in this high density neighborhood. But the street also offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Olympic Mountains beyond. Urban planner and local resident Mike Kent saw a disconnect between Melrose Avenue’s poor conditions and its views of the city. Six years ago he started recruiting friends, neighbors, local organizations, and business owners to advocate for safety changes and public space improvements.
In 2012, a $20,000 grant from the City of Seattle enabled the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee to hire design consultants and host several public workshops. These helped shape the community’s vision for what Melrose Avenue could become. The work led to an 88 page concept plan (PDF) which includes site analyses, public feedback, and schematic renderings.
Billing itself as “the front porch to Seattle’s Capitol Hill”, the concept plan has a variety of elements that support a mix of street users:
- Part of the “active urban” south of Denny Way is envisioned as a curbless festival street with adaptable furniture and lighting elements. The area between Pike Street and Olive Way has a number of retail establishments that draw foot traffic day and night.
- The “overlook” north of Denny Way may have elements like curb bulbs, seating, and translucent panels on the edge of the freeway to make Melrose more inviting for people walking and to enhance the skyline views. The hill climb at Harrison Street, which consists of a narrow stairway today, is widened into a larger gathering and viewing space (see the next image below for a comparison).
- The “park” section would enhance the multi-use trail running through Bellevue Place Park and potentially create new retaining walls and terraces to make the park more useable and attractive as a gathering space.