A Look Into The Future: Seattle's New Waterfront
The beginning of 2019 marked a major change for Seattle's downtown landscape. The Viaduct—otherwise known as Seattle’s Highway 99 that ran along Seattle’s downtown waterfront—was finally removed and replaced by the long awaited underground tunnel. Now that the viaduct has been dismantled, plans for Seattle's new waterfront are starting to take place. Already there have been significant changes made to the back end of Pike Place Market, including the grand opening of the $74 million Pike Place Market-front, complete with a 30,000-foot plaza and view deck overlooking Elliot Bay.
Most of the other plans for Seattle's waterfront won't be complete for a few years, but they will be beautiful additions to the downtown center. Here’s a look at some of the bold new projects underway that will transform the waterfront from Belltown to Pioneer Square.
Alaskan Way Surface Streets
A new 8-lane surface street highway will replace the current 4-lane route along the waterfront via Alaskan Way. With more lanes, the surface streets will be able to accommodate ferry and bus traffic, and will also include bike lanes, sidewalks, and a promenade along the waterfront side. This streetscape will improve the look of Alaskan Way by including tree-lined, landscaped sidewalks; and will attract pedestrian traffic.
Estimated completion: 2021
Overlook Walk Park
At the waterfront end of Pine Street, a new Overlook Walk park will be constructed to get pedestrians over Alaskan Way without having contact with traffic. The Overlook Walk park will include stairways, seating, and play areas. The park will connect to the newly rebuilt Pier 62 floating dock, which will continue to be used to host concerts and other public events.
Estimated completion: 2022
New Waterfront Promenades
A pedestrian-friendly promenade will stretch along the waterfront all the way up to Pine Street Overlook Walk Park. This expanded open space near the stadiums will connect the waterfront to sports activities and events at WaMu Theatre. The new promenade will be a great space for activities like walking, jogging, dog-walking, and roller-blading, among other things. Local visitors to the promenade will be able to enjoy perusing art galleries and taking in the view at lookout parks.
Estimated completion: 2023
New Coleman Dock
Providing ferry service to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, the Coleman Dock ferry terminal is a key connection for people coming to and from those places every day for jobs and events in the Seattle area. The current aging terminal is old and vulnerable to earthquakes, so it is getting a major upgrade! The additions will replace the main terminal building and passenger only buildings with new modern facilities.
Estimated completion: 2023
Aquarium Ocean Pavilion
Adjacent to the Overlook Walk Park, there will be a new facility created by the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium Ocean Pavilion. From the rooftop of this pavilion, visitors will be able to look out toward Puget Sound and the Olympics, back toward Pike Place Market and the city skyline, and down into a 350,000-gallon shark tank. Boosters believe the dramatic vistas and daring design of the Ocean Pavilion will make the aquarium one of Seattle’s must-see attractions, along with the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, and brand Seattle as a global leader in marine conservation efforts.
Estimated completion: 2024