The Bell St. Park meeting was held last evening at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Kudos, hoorah’s, and many thanks to the Belltown Community Council and the Olympic Sculpture Park for hosting the event and providing a forum for community involvement and input.
The overarching topic of the evening was public safety. Citizens don’t feel safe on Bell street and they’re sick and tired of the perception that nothing is being done to resolve the issue. There were also some evaporative vocal concerns about the parking spaces that will be lost once Bell St. turns into a one lane pedestrian friendly boulevard.
Knowing that this project is moving forward, what should be the goal? I believe the primary goal of this project should be to draw a steady stream of people through the Bell Street corridor. Otherwise, I think the neighborhood concerns are valid, this will turn into a fancy runway for dealing crack and pissing your pants.
As a summary of the ideas that have already been collected on this site – the top three are;
- Increased Cafe Seating – Big sidewalks to encourage new cafe’s which would build infrastructure to keep people happy outdoors even in the rain.
- Art Walk Areas – A rotating mural wall featuring local artists as well as an area that would encourage artists to sell and display their art on the boulevard.
- Food Cart Hook-Ups – The necessary electrical conduits and parking areas need to be designed into the plan to accomodate Seattle’s favorite food carts.
Some new ideas brought up during the meeting were;
- Local Plants – include local fauna and (gasp) fungus that would naturally serve to break down fossil fuel emissions. Great idea!
- Allow Parisian Art Booths – This is another great idea to offer a rotating and seasonal kiosks to artists and craftsmen. The alternating product would keep a constant focus on Bell St.
- Hanging Flower Baskets – Hey why not, they’re gorgeous and remind me of delicious salads.
- LIGHTING – Everyone agrees that the lighting needs to be artful, yet serve the purpose of deterring crime.
- Bike Racks – This was one of my favorite ideas. Lets have local artists design bike racks along the boulevard!
- Kids Play Areas – This heartwarming idea was submitted by a young mother who would like to see some safe areas set up for her children to play. I agree wholeheartedly with this idea and would love to see something for the families that are living downtown.
- Performance Space – Incorporate areas where a stage could be set up for special events.
My main concern with the plan thus far is that the boulevard is currently planned to run along the north side of the street. There’s two good reasons for this. 1 – The city planners note that the north side of the street gets the most sun. 2 – There’s a lot of mature trees on the south side of the street that they want to protect. Here’s the big problem though. The SOUTH side of the street includes most of the businesses. Without stimulating economic development on the available south side, this project could be a wasted opportunity. There are a lot of businesses and potential development opportunities if this project was built on the south side. However, there’s very few options for expanded business offerings on the north side.
If you have additional concerns, let off some steam in the comments. I’d love to hear your opinions and will do my best to make sure your voice is heard during the meetings. Please be thinking of ways that this development can enrich the vibrancy of Bell St. How can we ensure that this is a busy area and not just a big sidewalk?