The Seattle Municipal Archives recently posted these videos showing the construction of Freeway Park in the mid-1970s. No sound, but plenty of great sights.

2nd Phase, Part One
2nd Phase, Part Two

This is an open thread.

19 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Building Freeway Park”

  1. Last time I checked, still plenty of lid left to build. On the other hand, no special rush about it. This is what succeeding generations are for. In whose name, thanks for this posting. James R. Ellis’s lesson is that all it takes is one to rediscover, remember, and emulate.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Looking at the new freeway lids in Medina, I can tell that freeway lidding technology has improved considerably since Freeway Park was built. Freeway Park, the roar of the freeway bounces off the concrete, so I feel it’s difficult for anyone not deaf to actually enjoy it as a park. Newer lids, such as on Mercer Island and Medina, it’s not nearly as bad.

    There have been proposals for a new lid on I-5 through all of downtown Seattle, extending north a bit beyond Denny, allowing Capital Hill to finally be connected by staircase to SLU. Would love to see it get built, but I’m not sure where the money is going to come from.

  3. I think we should build a gondola (not tram, but think La Paz) from the U District station to Ballard with stops in North Fremont and Wallingford. The distance is about 3 miles, the same as the longest gondola in La Paz, which also has 4 stations. This could open a DECADE before link serves Ballard and will still be useful beyond.

    Okay Gondola skeptics, unleash!

    1. You are assuming that the litigation from angry homeowners won’t delay this project about 15 years?

    2. Also, thinking in a straight line is a waste of good aerial technology. Think Ballard, Phinney Ridge, the historic trolley district on east Queen Anne, SLU, West Capitol Hill, UW. Avoid SFH Wallingford and connect the mid-rise districts.

    3. Since Seattle thinks it’s a good idea to house a bunch of poor people in the middle of Discovery Park, a gondola would be the perfect transportation to get them out on snow days, since they’ll be far removed from any reliable bus, train or streetcar service.

  4. My father has pictures somewhere of my family and my godparent’s family sitting on the fountain in that park. I believe it was prior to 1977. Our families had a lot of hair back in those days. I did not know for years where the pictures were actually taken until I was grown up.

  5. Idea for a post … How bad Link stations get chosen. Take us through the politics of how (and who), chooses poorly sited Link stations. Be it East Main, or SE Redmond, how do these horrible station locations originate and get pushed through? Take us behind the scenes of station siting. Show us how the sausage is made when it comes to light rail station location selection.

    1. Thank you for your gracious offer to fund the research for this post. Frank can handle the payment details.

    2. You can look through STB back issues about the politics and who supported what. Since you have every word memorized it should be easy to recall them.

      1. If they wrote about it and I missed it, then my bad, but, I don’t recall them writing about how SE Redmond Station got on the table in the first place, just that it was on the table as an option. And why did ST agree to it? It’s a horrible location!

      2. SE Redmond is there because it’s a good bus-intercept and excellent Park-N-Ride location. No, it’s not good for walk-up transit because of all the public land around it. But it is good for keeping P-n-Riders from Sammamish and environs — and their cars — out of downtown Redmond

      3. I wasn’t in town then, but I believe there was lots of discussion about whether the tracks should go first to Downtown Redmond or SE Redmond. I would think both locations were always proposed because Downtown Redmond interests feared that they would be overrun with commuter parking if there was just one station.

  6. New lids to connect the North Capitol Hill stairs at Harrison or Republican, or a lid extending Harborview Park seem like a cool ideas. That would not only add public space and seemingly ease freeway noise, but would also enable pedestrian connection to the west (SLU and Pioneer Square) that could be served by elevators or escalators.

  7. too bad the WSCC expansion was not an extension over I-5, perhaps south of Pike Street, instead of taking out the Convention Place Station.

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