Rainier Vista residents take back their streets

By transforming busy thoroughfare into a pedestrian-friendly, community park

By Seattle Department of Transportation

On Nov. 3, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), held a grand opening for a new Pavement to Parks project in the Rainier Vista neighborhood. The new park space includes planters, seating, turf mounds, and a street mural designed by local youth.
“This project is a great example of the positive outcomes that come from collaboration between government and the community,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “We are activating an open space in a way that is driven by the community, improves safety and livability and reflects the cultural diversity in Rainier Vista.”
This Pavement to Parks project repurposes a portion of S Genesee St., between 29th Ave S and Jill Place S, for an expanded park space in the neighborhood. Built under SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program, the project uses low-cost, adaptable materials to test a public space on the street before permanent changes take place.

South Genesee Street, just to the south of Rainier Vista's Central Park, has been converted into a new public space through the Seattle Department of Transportation's Pavement to Parks program. Local youths helped design the street mural.

South Genesee Street, just to the south of Rainier Vista’s Central Park, has been converted into a new public space through the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Pavement to Parks program. Local youths helped design the street mural.

“The Pavement to Parks project in Rainier Vista provides a great example of the benefits of the Adaptive Streets Program,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “By working with residents to install experimental and low-cost safety enhancements, the City is better poised to quickly respond to the specific needs of the neighborhood, while allowing time to review community feedback and performance data before making the enhancements permanent.”
Rainier Vista community members requested that SDOT close the block in response to speeding traffic in the neighborhood. SDOT included the project as a 2016 Pavement to Parks installation to increase space for play and community activities, while reducing speeding on surrounding streets and improving pedestrian safety. SDOT and the Rainier Vista Neighborhood Traffic Safety Committee gathered ideas for the design of the project during outreach events.
“I’m proud of the community engagement by Rainier Vista residents that led to this project, and the partnership of the Seattle Department of Transportation in making it happen,” said SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton. “The new park solves what was a traffic safety issue and, with its colorful new mural painted by youth, provides a vibrant play area and neighborhood gathering place.”

Officials and local youths celebrated the official riboon-cutting Nov.3.

Officials and local youths celebrated the official riboon-cutting Nov.3.

SDOT will evaluate the Rainier Vista Pavement to Parks project over the next two years. If successful, SHA will work with the City to build the project as a permanent park extension in the neighborhood.
For more information about SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program contact Susan McLaughlin at 206-733-9649 or susan.mclaughlin@seattle.gov, or visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/AdaptiveStreets.htm.

 

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