Maggie Smith
Spur Line
1999

LOCATION
Westlake Avenue North, from Galer Street to Crockett Street

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art and general funds


Artist Maggie Smith worked on a design team with City of Seattle staff to provide enhancements to designated elements of the West Lake Union Improvement project. The project began as a partnership among community members, businesses, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to develop a pedestrian/bicycle pathway and to improve parking and drainage and water quality into Lake Union.

The artwork, Spur Line, draws much of its thematic content and formal cues from the history of Lake Union as a working waterway, the rail line that followed the water's edge and the drainage system below the path. The artwork consists of benches, sidewalk inserts, pedestrian handrail and a listening tube connected to the drainage infrastructure. At Waterway #1, the whimsical galvanized steel "listening tube," a double-bell reference to speaking tubes used on old boats to connect above with below, carries the sound of water from an innovative below-ground stormwater treatment unit, a Seattle Public Utility facility. The artwork's interactive element and text in the pathway reinforce references to the work SPU performs in treating stormwater.