Putting a lid on the I-5 corridor running through Seattle isn’t just a pipe dream and the people behind the idea are stepping up their efforts and looking for more input from the public.
The group, called LID I-5, has launched Lidi5.org and hopes to generate more conversation about the possibilities of this game-changing idea.
Ultimately, what they want is to “secure public funding for a citywide technical analysis of where lids over Interstate 5 are most reasonable and cost effective.” They’re hoping it can be funded as part of the Washington State Convention Center expansion plans. An analysis would focus on the point in Seattle where I-5 runs below street level through the city, but would also attempt to identify other areas where a lid could make sense, such as University District.
Ultimately, the driving forces behind the lid is to connect the east and west sides of the city, create new public lands, and make use of the limited space that Seattle has as it expands and population grows.
In May, the group held a design charrette to come up with ideas as to how to make the most of potential lids over the highway. The ideas ranged from parks to affordable housing to trails and even to an elementary school.
Per John Feit, LID I-5 steering committee member chair and GGLO architect, “People usually associate a lid with a park, but we're not necessarily advocating for that.”
Coming up on December 7, an open house at WSCC will focus on the public benefits that come with the convention center expansion. Other topics of discussion will include Freeway Park, safety upgrades for Olive Way, the Terry Avenue green street on First Hill and affordable housing. The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room 2AB in the convention center.
We’re a long way from knowing if an I-5 lid is a possibility but the conversation has already started. Let’s see who wants to be a part of it.