Initiative asks: Does Seattle need an elevated park? | KUOW News and Information

Initiative asks: Does Seattle need an elevated park?

Jul 15, 2016

The view is pretty nice as you look out at the water while traveling on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. So a ballot initiative in Seattle seeks to build a mile-long, elevated park that looks over the waterfront where the viaduct stands now.

Initiative 123 sponsor Kate Martin says people will miss the view when a tunnel replaces the viaduct.

That's one reason her group is proposing an elevated garden park from Century Link field to Pike Place Market.

Martin: "This park would be much more like having a Green Lake kind of place, where it's very inspiring and you meet with your friends, and there's no cars, and it's glorious with the views, and all of that because the preeminent asset is the amazing views."

The initiative would do two things:

1. Build an elevated waterfront park.
2. Create a development authority (like Pike Place Market has) to oversee the park.

It goes against the city's long term plans to create park space at ground level along the waterfront.

The Downtown Seattle Association says Initiative 123 is irresponsible. Don Blakeney, a member of the association, notes that that initiative backers would be the original members of the development authority.

Blakeney: "You know it gives, if this does pass, it gives them a blank check to work with the city's general fund and/or sell off city property to fund this project. And so looking at kind of the unknown about what resources would they be pulling away from the city, that's a lot of concern."

Kate Martin says an elevated park would cost the same as the city's waterfront proposal.

If I-123 passes, she hopes a section of the existing viaduct could be part of the new park.