Big changes are coming to Seattle's waterfront. A new Elliott Bay Seawall is under construction, replacing the existing and nearly 100 year old seawall. In a few years, the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct will be coming down, making space for a new surface street, Alaskan Way, which will move traffic north and south as well as provide important access to downtown. More than 20 acres of new parks, trails, and public space will be created along Elliott Bay; with new connections from Pike Place Market, First Avenue, and Pioneer Square it will be easier to get to the waterfront from downtown. There will be a continuous public promenade, extending along the shoreline from Pine Street through Pioneer Square, with spaces for walking and biking, new trees and landscaping, and places to grab refreshments, play, or just sit back and enjoy the views of Elliott Bay.
To prepare for these changes, the City of Seattle launched "Waterfront Seattle" - a multi-year effort to plan, design, and ultimately build the new waterfront. This work is being coordinated intensively with the broader Seattle public, civic leaders, and waterfront stakeholders. This effort was rooted in dozens of public meetings and large-scale civic events which helped to shape the plan for improving the waterfront; along with input first from the Central Waterfront Committee and now from the Waterfront Steering Committee, both established by the Mayor and City Council to advise the City in preparing the plans and operations for the Waterfront Program. This work was based on a set of Guiding Principles, which emphasizes the importance of creating an open, inviting, democratic series of public spaces to serve the city and the region. This effort culminated in a Concept Design and Framework Plan, which was endorsed by Seattle's Mayor and City Council in 2012.
Today, Waterfront Seattle's focus is on finalizing the design, completing environmental review and permitting, and managing construction. The Elliott Bay Seawall construction is underway and will be completed by mid-2016. The promenade and other elements of the new waterfront will follow. Here's more information on our schedule.