2017 Development Plan and Gap Analysis Update

The City has made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050. A goal in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan is to consider access to our parks by transit, bicycle, and on foot when acquiring, siting and designing new park facilities or improving existing ones.

The 2017 Development Plan is a 6-year plan that documents and describes Seattle Parks and Recreation’s (SPR) facilities and lands, looks at Seattle’s changing demographics and lays out a vision for the future. Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, contains overarching goals and polices, whereas the 2017 Development Plan takes these a step further and helps to define SPR’s future acquisition priorities and capital investments. 

SPR manages a 6,410-acre park system; with the system comprising about 11% of the City’s land area. In 2016 Seattle’s population was 686,800 and it is expected to grow by over 120,000 new residents over the next 20 years.

We will be discussing key questions and issues with the public over the next few months and will be coming back to the Park Board with staff recommendations based upon public input, legal requirements and broad city goals on these key issues.

What’s proposed, what’s new and what is different?

The desire is for this plan to be more visionary and usable for future planning, and looks at city resources from the lens of accessibility and equity. We will be using equity and population density mapping, as one of many tools, to help us formulate our priority areas for acquisition. The intent is to gain a more accurate picture of access, by measuring how people walk to a park or facility. We are calling this ‘walkability’. 

What are the anticipated outcomes?

  • Have an approach to Open Space and Recreation Facility distribution that is based upon access, opportunity, equity, and real time data.
  • Have a user friendly data interface that the public can access via story mapping and other new technologies.
  • Maintain a Baseline Level of Service for Citywide Open Space.
  • Have refined long-term strategies that look to acquire more land to add to the park network over time, and to increase the capacity of existing facilities to allow expanded use (e.g., converting grass fields to synthetic turf fields or adding a walking path in a park), where feasible.

What does ‘walkability’ mean?

SPR is using the Trust for Public Lands and the National Park Service definition of ‘walkability’ as the distance a person walks in 10-minutes, which is approximately ½ mile. ‘Walkability’ is both a measurement and an urban design concept. The measurement is the distance from a park. As an urban design concept, it is how an area or neighborhood is designed to encourage walking, including factors such as sidewalks or pedestrian rights-of-way, safety, traffic, road conditions and other public amenities such as open space.

How is ‘walkability’ measured?

‘Walkability’ is measured as a network that uses the street grid and measures the distance that a person would need to walk, or bike, to access a community center or park, and is measured from the park or facility entrance.

How does the Gap map work? Do I need a special program to view the maps?

SPR’s GIS staff mapped over 1000 park entry points and linked to SDOT’s walking network layer to develop the Walkability areas. In addition to park property, there is information on Greenway projects, bicycle and park trails, public school property, major institutions and universities, and other non-park owned property, such as Seattle Center.

No special program is needed to view the maps, just pull up the link on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer and zoom into the neighborhood you are most interested in.

Visit the Gap Analysis Storymap

Key handouts

Public Involvement Process

Anticipated Schedule

  • November 10, 2016 - Initial briefing and roll out to the Board of Park Commissioners
  • November 2016 – Jan, 2017 - Public Engagement - participating with DON’s Citywide Public meetings, focus groups, other partners and City Departments
  • December 8, 2016 - Planning Commission briefing
  • March, 2017 - Board of Park Commissioners Public Hearing
  • March-June 2017 - Finalize Plan
  • May/June 2017 - Draft Legislation and SEPA review
  • September 2017 - Council Approval (Resolution)
  • October 2017 - Submit to the State

Comments and Questions

The public comment period runs from November 10, 2016 through March, 2017. Public comments can be submitted by email or U.S. mail, or shared at a public hearing. All comments are weighted equally.

Seattle Parks and Recreation
Attention 2017 DevPlan
800 Maynard Ave South, 3rd fl.
Seattle WA 98134

Previous Plans

The Seattle Park District website has more information on our facilities and projects. Download the 2016 Seattle Park District Facilities Map here.