On the evening of May 25 DPD held a community meeting about streetscape concept design for Thomas St. from Eastlake Ave. to Elliott Ave. Thomas St. is one of three streets that will be reconnected across Aurora Ave. (SR 99) when the north portal of the waterfront tunnel is completed. This will create opportunity for a continuous green street pedestrian corridor through South Lake Union, Seattle Center, and the Uptown neighborhood. The goal of the work is to collaborate with communities to plan for the character of the streetscape in advance of the major north portal work. The streetscape concept plan can help guide public and private investments as the street and adjacent properties are redeveloped.
The meeting was held at the Cascade People’s Center in Cascade Park, where about 35 stakeholders, business and property owners gathered. Community members from both the Cascade and Uptown neighborhoods as well as officials from Seattle Center participated. Planners from DPD and SDOT presented draft concept designs and discussed them with participants. Topics of extensive discussion included: options for east-west bicycle connections on Thomas St. and other South Lake Union streets; an enhanced entry into Seattle Center at the intersection of Thomas St. and 5th Ave. N.; and making sure the street is safe and pleasant for pedestrians after traffic is reconfigured. A key design idea, which was generally supported by the group, is to strive for a generous ‘green promenade’ sidewalk in the range of 20 feet wide through a portion of the study area.
The final design concept will become part of the Right-of-Way Improvement Manual, where it can help guide public and private improvements that will occur incrementally over time. DPD expects to refine concept designs based on input from stakeholders, and hold a second community meeting later in the summer. Meeting materials, draft design concepts, and contact information is posted on the DPD website at www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/ThomasStreet/RelatedDocuments/default.asp.