Curbed: Here’s what Pike and Pine could look like after 2020

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This article was published by Curbed Seattle on Oct. 4, 2017.

With planned pedestrian and bike improvements

At an open house Tuesday night, the city of Seattle and Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) unveiled new concepts for the first phase (“Act One”) of what they’re calling the Pike-Pine Renaissance. The redesign of the downtown corridor piggybacks off a planned overhaul to Seattle’s waterfront with the Alaskan Way Viaduct about to come down.

For Act One of the $20 million project, Pike and Pine streets will get a redesign west to First Avenue and east to Melrose Avenue.

A few top-level priorities include unifying the area and giving it a cohesive identity, including consistent paving and crosswalk design. They also hope to improve the pedestrian experience by adding better lighting, widening sidewalks, and enhancing the tree canopy.

The plan also integrates the new and planned Pike and Pine bike lanes, raising the grade to sidewalk level and adding a “vegetated buffer” between the lanes and the street.

Under the plan, two-way streets would be converted to one-way streets—already common downtown. While they can improve travel time in some cases, research shows that that they can be more dangerous.

Some of the design concepts presented at the open house Tuesday show before-and-after visions of what Pike and Pine could look like.

On Pike Street between First and Second Avenues, the street morphs into a curbless, shared road, with low posts separating wide sidewalks. Car traffic is limited.

First and Pike, now and under the current proposal.Courtesy of City of Seattle

The entrance to Westlake Station, now bordered only by a narrow sidewalk, would become a plaza, making it easier to mingle around the major transit hub.

The current concept for outside Westlake Station widens the sidewalk into a plaza.Courtesy of City of Seattle

Up at Westlake Plaza, the signature paving is maintained—prompting one Post-It comment from an open house attendee.

Heading east to Melrose, Pike and Pine both cross over Interstate 5, currently creating a less-than-ideal bike and pedestrian experience moving from downtown to Capitol Hill. This is one reason why some are hoping to lid I-5—and it’s a corridor also zeroed in on for public benefits from the nearby Convention Center expansion.

While these street concepts don’t go as far as adding a lid, they do widen sidewalks, strengthen railings, and add green space to both corridors.

The freeway overpass heading up Pike Street to Melrose Avenue, now and under the current concept.Courtesy of City of Seattle

The design for Pine Street is similar—widened sidewalks, thicker barriers, and more green space.

Courtesy of City of Seattle

View a full map of the corridor here (.pdf).

DSA and the city expect to keep developing design concepts through 2019, with construction starting in 2020. Those that missed the in-person open house on Tuesday can participate in an online open house through October 24.