Seattle canvassers recently collected 32,420 signatures in support of creating an elevated, public park along the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The campaign exceeded the number of signatures needed to put the initiative, known formally as Initiative 123, to a public ballot in 2016.
Landscape activist and proponent of Initiative 123, Kate Martin, has said the colonnade park would be full of lush greenery and even allow space for food trucks and vendor stalls that allow a signature Seattle view to remain intact.
The initiative wants to keep 400 feet of existing viaduct architecture while adding on additional space for a total of six acres of open park space. The viaduct park would begin around Pike Place Market and allow bikers, runners and walkers to continue their journey along a “garden bridge” until they reach the stadiums near Pioneer Square.
However, the proposed initiative would most likely interfere with the city’s ongoing multi-million dollar waterfront renovation project.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct removal is of the key ongoing Seattle Waterfront projects. It will ultimately expand waterfront views and allow more access to the area than ever before. This phase has already made significant progress, with crews hitting the midway point in demolition near the south end of the 62-year-old structure.
Though the plans of Initiative 123 are ambitious, many former supporters have stated it’s too late to save any portion of the viaduct. In a February report by The Stranger, Director of the Office of the Waterfront Marshall Foster said that “it’s not that this isn’t a great idea. It’s that it’s a very late idea and one that we thought carefully about and decided is not best for the public.”
The group behind Initiative 123 has not given up hope on what they see as an opportunity to create a unique public experience. The public will likely not be asked to vote on Initiative 123 until 2016, but the vote could occur as early as November 2015.