Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

If you've ever wondered how City leaders can claim big initiatives you've never heard of have broad public support, they likely spring from forums like the Imagine Downtown Open House happening this Thursday at City Hall from 6-8:30 pm.  (Details below)

Imagine Greater Downtown is a partnership between the City of Seattle, King County Metro, Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and Sound Transit.  Were you aware that for the past four months they've held a series of meetings around Seattle to serve as a guide for changes to public spaces, streets and the transportation system over the next 20 years?  Not exactly small stuff. 

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) is a business and developer led organization. That's not necessarily bad, but it’s not representative of the growing number of downtown residents that we represent at the Downtown Residents Alliance.  By summer this public/private consortium will have collected feedback to "refine, combine and compile Big Ideas" into a vision plan for the future of downtown.

Now that you know what's at stake don't be part of the Silent Majority!  Please consider attending this Thursday's forum on Transportation or send your ideas via email. Here's a link to the Big Ideas with a way to comment online: https://imaginegreaterdowntown.org/big-ideas/people-streets

Below is a cross section of the Big Ideas being considered.  Some are great but others might do with some reality and refinement. And there might be a few that you are totally against or believe are totally useless. Let our leaders know what you think!

Create pedestrian- and transit-only spaces and streets with limited or no vehicle access 


  • Create superblocks that designate vehicle traffic on a wider grid

Create fossil fuel-free streets, districts, and pedestrian only zones


  • Establish a recurring car-free day, or 24/7 car-free streets

Implement congestion pricing with a robust equity strategy


  • Use pricing tools, geographies, discounts and exemptions that promote a more just transportation system

Transform one or more downtown corridors into a linear park with no or minimal vehicles


  • Third Avenue transit and pedestrian spine, or an Emerald Mile

  • King Street in Little Saigon, Jackson Street underpass park

Design bus stops to promote an enjoyable experience for waiting riders 


  • Transfers feel safe, secure, comfortable and pleasant

  • Include weather protection, lighting, and information

Provide fast and frequent transit service competitive with single-occupancy vehicles 


  • Create more transit priority over private vehicle traffic

  • Limit or prohibit vehicle traffic on key transit corridors

  • Continue to improve Third Avenue as a great street for walking and transit

Require autonomous vehicles and new mobility options to be carbon neutral 


  • Make this a requirement for private and transit vehicles

Organize new mobility and autonomous vehicles around transit hubs and existing and planned transit networks


  • Whether you're driving a car or riding a scooter, it should be carbon neutral if it's entering greater downtown

Create goods delivery hubs and an e-vehicle/e-bike distribution network 


  • Distribution hubs and neighborhood lockers for goods

Manage street design and curb space to be flexible for the next generation of mobility


  • Congestion charging, more on street loading and less on-street parking, but not to the detriment of pedestrian, transit and bicycle movement

Manage parking to support transit goals


  • Manage on-street parking to balance competing needs

Create a comprehensive transportation arrival, transfer and departure experience for all modes


  • Help people make the best decision for their needs (bike, bus, transit, walk)

  • Wayfinding between transit options and destinations using color coding and images, universal symbols and signage

Connect parks and open space with a network of well-landscaped streets, trails and trees


  • An Emerald necklace of connected streets, greenways, or garden streets

Redistribute space in the right-of-way for social and cultural activities


  • Make space for play, food vendors, cultural activities, events, sitting, places to rest

Encourage and better leverage private development for public space and nature access


  • Free fitness and playground equipment in indoor/outdoor spaces with views

  • Public roofs and sky gardens

Shape buildings and policies to encourage more activity at hubs around the clock


  • Redesign all ground floor frontages by converting blank walls to windows or shopping displays 

  • Make it easy for restaurants/food trucks to spill out into the park to serve both residents and tourists

Join us at the Imagine Greater Downtown open house on February 28, 6:30 – 8:00 PM at City Hall (600 4th Ave) in the Bertha Knight Landes room to see the final Big Ideas and how they’ve been shaped by what we heard from you!

Notice the carefully crafted language “final Big ideas”, and “how they’ve been shaped by what we heard from you”…when the vast majority of Downtown residents we’ve spoken with had never heard of this initiative.  That means if you don’t Speak Now, the train is leaving without you!