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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Seattle Parks Superintendent makes decision on new benches for Green Lake Park

8/14/2012  4:17:00 PM

Seattle Parks Superintendent makes decision on new benches for Green Lake Park
Compromise plan removes two pads, leaves some empty, installs benches on others

Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has made a decision about what to do with nine concrete pads intended for benches in Green Lake Park.

In 2011, Seattle Parks and Recreation removed nine two-way (seating on both sides) benches from Westlake Park to accommodate a new model of park furniture. Later that year a Parks Sr. Landscape Architect suggested they be relocated to Green Lake Park and drafted a design showing the benches along the east side of the lake between Green Lake Community Center and the interior path. He took the design to the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks for their review and approval.

In May 2012, Parks crews poured concrete pads for the benches, and some members of the public raised questions about the appropriateness of the benches at that location. Parks held a public meeting at the site on July 31, attended by 19 members of the public and several City staff.

  • At the public meeting, eight people favored installing benches; some said to install as many as possible and others felt fewer than eight would be preferable. Most noted that this is a very busy area of the park and more benches are needed for people with disabilities and the growing number of seniors using the park.
  • The one bench that has been installed is almost always in use.
  • Five people strongly opposed installing any benches, for these reasons: the area is already congested, it takes away green space near the beach, and it does not respect tradition (Parks design standards)
  • Of the 21 emails Parks received, 11 people support more benches, eight want the pads removed, and three had other opinions.

The Superintendent, after reading through all meeting notes and emails from the public, identified several alternatives:

--Install benches on all the pads
--Remove some of the pads
--Remove all of the pads
--Use some of the pads for other purposes such as picnic tables, bike racks

His decision is to move ahead with the plan shown on the attached schematic. Its elements are:

  • Leave the two most northerly bench pads empty and see what uses evolve for them. Parks staff have observed people having picnics, playing music and other activities on them.
  • Install the benches on the next four pads to the south.
  • Remove the pair of pads closest to the community center where the strip of land between the lake and the community center is narrowest.
  • Keep the bench to the southwest of the community center.
  • Do nothing with the four remaining double benches until Parks has observed park activity and given thoughtful consideration to the possible installation of benches in another location in the future.

The Superintendent believes that this plan is a fair compromise that accommodates evolving needs at the park and addresses the concerns of the opponents.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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