Chris Woodward is the newest staff member of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. He adds to the organization a diverse skill set including marketing and communication strategy development, social media community management, and project management. As Marketing Manager, Chris helms the Alliance for Pioneer Square’s social media, email communications, website management, amongst other duties.
You can help drive design decisions for both a new Pioneer Park and King Street Station Plaza! The Alliance for Pioneer Square is currently asking members of the community to take a brief online survey. This is an exciting opportunity to weigh in on how to reinvigorate these spaces and reconnect with what makes them so great. UPDATE: The survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who completed the questions and provided feedback. We will be reviewing those insights to help inform future discussions around the design of these parks.
This open house is part of the Parks and Gateways Project, led by the Alliance for Pioneer Square. The goal of the project is to create a full system of parks and public spaces that are inspiring, active, and inclusive for all. Find project details here:
Work begins in May to resurface two Pioneer Square alleys. Pioneer Square’s alleys are more walkable and inviting due to the collective efforts of art and lighting installation, resident stewardship, businesses opening and building façade improvements. In 2013, the International Sustainability Institute received a Department of Neighborhoods matching grant to redesign two alleys with a surface design acceptable to the Preservation Board, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), utilities, residents and businesses. Before completing the design, ISI partnered with the Alliance and Seattle Chinatown International District Public Development Authority (SCIDPDA) to secure funding for three alleys – Canton Alley, Pioneer Passage and Nord Alley.
Nord Alley lies to the south of Occidental Park, between 1st Avenue S and Occidental. The alley connects Main Street to the new streetcar on Jackson. North of the park, Pioneer Passage runs from Washington to Yesler. These alleys feature shops, restaurants, event spaces and beautification efforts. If you’ve ever been Casco Antiguo’s back patio, you’ve traveled through Pioneer Passage.
The work is divided into two phases: utility upgrades & resurfacing. First, Seattle City Light will dig a trench through Nord Alley to upgrade the aging electrical network (approximately May – June). At the same time, several private properties will upgrade utilities. Once completed, utility work will shift to Pioneer Passage (approximately July-Aug). In the second phase (fall 2016), SDOT will upgrade stormwater systems and resurface the alleys with a Pioneer Square Preservation Board-approved brick pattern. The refinished alleys will provide much-needed utility upgrades and inviting, accessible alleys.
In January, the Alliance reported on the new Jackson Street sidewalk repair, a community-led effort to repair one of the most traveled entries into Pioneer Square. This effort was a result of the International Sustainability Institute’s Active Streets Report. The report listed over 40 inaccessible spots in the neighborhood, one of which was the Jackson Street sidewalk. While we are chipping away at improvements, many more repairs are necessary to link transit and destinations for everyone.
Since that time, we learned of a Seattleite working diligently to make Pioneer Square accessible. Frustrated by watching the struggles of others as they traveled around the neighborhood, as well as taking a few falls herself, Kiana Parker, alternative media coordinator at Seattle University Disability Services, took action. She mobilized a tour of the Square with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in December to give him a first-hand account of what it’s like to get around Pioneer Square using a wheelchair. Real Change covered that story here.
Traveling by wheelchair the entire trip, Director Kubly managed to stay upright on slanted sidewalks, navigated steep curb ramps, and pushed through cobblestones ramps. At one point, Kubly ended up in the middle of a crosswalk when the traffic signal changed because he was so focused on the challenges of the sidewalk and using the wheelchair. In the end, he thanked our team for the eye-opening tour.
In 2014, SDOT received federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funding to repair curb ramps in Pioneer Square and the Chinatown International District. Due to the high cost of repairing ramps in historic districts, funding will cover only design engineering. The Alliance will continue to seek funding sources and partner with neighbors, disability advocates and the City of Seattle for construction funding to complete this project and make Pioneer Square accessible for everyone.