pike-pine-1 Image: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

The City of Seattle is calling all designers to create a $20-million new look for major tourist area Pike and Pine streets from First Avenue to Melrose Avenue. They want something that encourages people to sit, sip coffee, and frequent local businesses on their way to the waterfront. The design will reinvent the pedestrian corridor with sidewalks, trees, lights and more, connecting densely populated Capitol Hill to Pike Place Market.

Steve Pearce, the project manager in Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront told the DJC that the tight budget will require “smart and surgical approaches” to tie streets together. “We will not have the same level of investment on every block,” Pearce reported to DJC. “Inevitably there will be a base level of improvement that we will apply to the whole corridor, and some places will have more intensive rebuilding of the sidewalk environments.”

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL # Image: Courtesy of the City of Seattle

Seattle hopes to make the area more inviting by silencing the noise of the I-5 overpasses with noise walls, green walls, plantings and special lighting. All of this will be paid for by a local improvement district the City plans to start forming in first half of 2018. The City also envisions transit shelters with real-time information signs and Orca card readers. Bike racks, bike share stations, and public art elements will also compliment the city’s green philosophy and hopefully improve traffic.

The project is part of the Pike-Pine Renaissance, a movement begun in 2013 by the Downtown Seattle Association to engage dozens of stakeholders in revamping the waterfront into one of Seattle’s greatest assets. It will be a while before we actually see these changes in action. Design bids will be accepted till March 23rd, 2016, but then construction doesn’t start till January 2019 with a tentative completion date of October 2020.

For better, worse, or somewhere in between, Seattle is becoming a brand new city.

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