For the middle layer, GGN advises making more permanent changes, mostly around landscape. Their scheme involves using trees running solely along the north-south avenues to serve as a wayfinding cue, while filling in treeless voids around the city. Additionally, GGN proposes minimizing shrubs along the hilled east-west streets to expose waterfront vistas. There is also a plan for lighting the dozen or so alleys between Pike and Pine streets, capitalizing on the success of Post and Nord Alleys that run parallel to Pike Place Market.
Ideas for the deep layer range from elevating 20 intersection crosswalks to be flush extensions of the sidewalks, to changing several one-way streets to two-way, to implementing the bike master plan, and introducing traffic calming measures like reducing speed limits.
“This plan is about playing up the existing features that already make downtown Seattle uniquely interesting, while making it an exceptionally comfortable place to walk,” said Shannon Nichol, founding principal of GGN. “The plan’s light-handed design standards simply restore some of Seattle’s historic sidewalk details while emboldening the contrasts between Seattle’s two key street types: north/south avenues and east/west hill streets.”
The Seattle Department of Transportation approves of the plan, but the next step is getting support from the private sector. Plan implementation is estimated at $27 to $54 million. Funding has not yet been secured. The Downtown Seattle Association will be working with the public and private sectors.
The plan would be implemented in stages. The first would focus on immediately hosting programs on Pike-Pine while introducing new sidewalk standards alongside new developments, and later the launching of new crosswalks and sidewalks in the most crucial areas.