Waterfront Seattle Program
Big changes are coming to Seattle's waterfront. In July 2012, the City of Seattle released a Concept Design, Framework Plan and Strategic Plan to capture the overall vision for the waterfront.
Today the Office of the Waterfront is delivering that vision in the form of the Waterfront Seattle Program, starting with construction of a new Elliott Bay Seawall as the foundation of the central waterfront. Seawall construction began in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Office of the Waterfront
This multi-year program is led by the Office of the Waterfront, established by Mayor Ed Murray in 2014. The office brings together key staff from the Mayor's Office and the City's departments of Transportation (SDOT), Planning and Development (DPD), Parks and Recreation and others. The job of the office is to deliver the vision of a waterfront for all.
Office of the Waterfront management team:
- Marshall Foster, Director
- Angela Brady, Manager, Engineering and Project Delivery
- Dorinda (Dori) Costa, Manager, Finance
- Joshua Curtis, Manager, Partnerships
- Erin Tam, Manager, Outreach
- Tiffani Melake, Administrative Staff Analyst
Everything in the program ties back to the guiding principles, adopted by Seattle City Council Resolution 31264 in 2011.
Create a waterfront for all
The waterfront should engage the entire city. It is a public asset and should remain focused on public use and activities that attract people from all walks of life. It should be a place for locals and visitors alike - a place where everything comes together and co-mingles effortlessly. The process for developing a waterfront design should, in fact must, draw on the talents and dreams of the entire city. The resulting public spaces and surrounding development will engage us through a range of activities throughout the day and year.
Put the shoreline and innovative, sustainable design at the forefront
To succeed, the waterfront must bring people to the water's edge - allowing them to experience the water itself and the unique geography and ecology of Elliott Bay. At the same time, we must take bold steps to improve the natural shoreline ecology while also preserving and enhancing the maritime activities that remain central to the Central Waterfront. The waterfront should, in its design, construction and operation, reflect Seattle's commitment to sustainability, innovation and responding to climate change.
Reconnect the city to its waterfront
The waterfront should provide a front door to the downtown neighborhoods and the City. It will build a network of green connections and public spaces that connect visually and physically to the water, to vital civic and commercial destinations, nearby neighborhoods and the larger fabric of downtown, city and regional open spaces. This will require a phased approach that is implemented over a longer horizon, but the full picture needs to be in view from the beginning.
Embrace and celebrate Seattle’s past, present and future
The waterfront is a lens through which to understand Seattle's past, present and future - from its rich geologic and natural history and early Native American settlements, to the founding of the region's maritime and resource economy, to maritime, industrial, commercial and recreational activities today. The waterfront is and should continue to support these activities, to provide essential connections and access to the waterfront and to surrounding neighborhoods. New waterfront public spaces should tell these stories in ways that are authentic and bring them to life for people today and preserve these connections into the future.
Improve access and mobility (for people and goods)
The waterfront is and will remain a crossroads. Waterfront users rely on safe and efficient access to the piers both from water and land, thousands of commuters use Colman Dock each day, and Alaskan Way will continue to provide an important connection for moving people and goods between the south and north of downtown. At the same time, the waterfront will be an increasingly attractive place for walkers, bicyclists, joggers, recreational boaters and others. The future waterfront should accommodate safe, comfortable and efficient travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and freight. The interactions among these many parties must be designed carefully for safety, comfort, and efficiency for all.
Create a bold vision that is adaptable over time
The waterfront will come together over time, with many complex infrastructure and engineering projects that must be completed before permanent public space improvements can be made. The vision developed now should clearly define an overall framework for how the waterfront will take shape, what the key elements will be, and define their essential character. At the same time, the vision must be flexible enough to adapt as conditions inevitably change.
Develop consistent leadership – from concept to operations
To succeed, strong leadership is necessary from an independent body tasked with realizing the waterfront vision. This leadership needs to be apolitical and start early - ensuring design excellence, rooting the process in a broad and transparent public outreach, and based on the realities of maintaining and programming the project once it is complete.
Project and community partners
The change happening on the waterfront includes many project partners collaborating to achieve a great waterfront. Learn about our project partners:
Our community partners help spread the word about Waterfront Seattle and increase community participation. If your organization would like to become a community partner, please contact us.
View the list of community partners
AEG Live is one of the leading providers of live entertainment and sports in the world.
Alliance for Pioneer Square
The Alliance for Pioneer Square is devoted to the betterment of Pioneer Square through advocacy, programming, marketing, and community action.
Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice.
The Arc of King County
The Arc of King County is the oldest non-profit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in the Greater Puget Sound area, and is one of the oldest such organizations in the United States.
Camp Fire Central Puget Sound
For more than a century, Camp Fire Central Puget Sound has provided innovative programs that cultivate environmental stewardship, strengthen our community, nurture families, celebrate and honor diversity, and foster strong, confident leadership skills in youth.
The Central is a neighborhood activity center that addresses social, educational, and health needs of older adults and the community at large.
Chinese Information & Service Center
CISC helps Chinese and other Asian immigrants throughout King County achieve success in their new community by providing information, referral, advocacy, social, and support services.
Downtown Seattle Association
The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) is a non-profit member-based organization dedicated to ensuring Downtown's health and vibrancy through advocacy, economic development and marketing, as well as a variety of commuter and neighborhood cleaning, hospitality and safety services.
Easter Seals Washington
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Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit social enterprise providing employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.
Literacy Source, A Community Learning Center, has been providing unique and responsive adult literacy services since 1986.
Metropolitan Improvement District
Founded by Downtown Seattle Association in 1999, the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) is a business improvement area paid for by tax assessments on commercial and residential properties in Downtown Seattle.
Municipal League of King County
The Municipal League is a volunteer-driven, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works toward better government in King County, Washington.
Nordic Heritage Museum
The Nordic Heritage Museum is an internationally recognized museum and cultural center where people of all backgrounds are welcomed to be inspired by the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples.
Since 1965, Northwest Center has been a leader in promoting the rights and independence of infants, children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities.
Pacific Science Center
Pacific Science Center is an independent, not-for-profit educational institution that inspires lifelong interest in science, math and technology by engaging diverse communities through interactive and innovative exhibits and programs.
Pedestrian Advisory Board
Created by the Seattle City Council in 1993, the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board plays an influential role in implementing Seattle's Pedestrian Master Plan.
Pike Place Market
Established in 1907 to connect citizens and farmers, the Market continues its "Meet the Producer" tradition with a year-round farmers market, owner-operated bakeries, fish markets, butcher shops, produce stands and specialty food stores. The Market is also home to more than 300 residents, many of who are low-income seniors.
Port of Seattle
By air, land, and sea, the Port of Seattle connects passengers and cargo to destinations around the globe.
Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society
The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society's mission is to create appreciation of the Puget Sound region's maritime past in order to better understand the present.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.
The region's premier resource for hands-on marine experiences and conservation education, the Seattle Aquarium offers fun, exciting ways to discover more about the amazing Puget Sound and our world's one big ocean.
Seattle Architecture Foundation
The Seattle Architecture Foundation connects people to the architecture, design and history of Seattle.
Seattle Arts Commission
The Seattle Arts Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs to promote and encourage public programs that further the development, public awareness, and interest in the fine and performing arts in Seattle.
Seattle Housing Authority
Established in 1939, Seattle Housing Authority provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 26,000 people in the city of Seattle.
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most diverse business association in the Puget Sound region. Founded in 1882 by local business leaders, the Chamber today is an independent organization representing 2,200 companies and a regional workforce of approximately 700,000.
Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
The Office of Arts & Culture envisions a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences.
Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
OIRA promotes a citywide culture that understands and values the benefits that all members of our society receive when immigrants and refugee communities are successfully integrated into our civic, economic, and cultural life.
Seattle Parks Foundation
Seattle Parks Foundation improves, expands, and connects parks, trails and green spaces, building a more vibrant community.
Seattle Works connects volunteers, develops emerging leaders and inspires dialogue.
Seattle Youth Commission
The Seattle Youth Commission is a group of 25 Seattleites aged 13-19 from all over the city who are appointed by the Mayor and City Council to connect youth to their elected officials.
Senior Housing Assistance Group
The Senior Housing Assistance Group is dedicated to providing quality, affordable rental apartment homes and promoting an active and fulfilling lifestyle for age and income qualified people.
Southeast Seattle Senior Center
For over 51 years, Southeast Seattle Senior Center, located in the Rainier Valley, has been a neighborhood activity center that addresses the social, educational, and health needs of aging adults and the community at large.
Space.City is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to spirited public discussion of art, architecture, urbanism and cultural issues in the spatial arts in Seattle.
Sustainable Seattle is focused on the long-term health and sustainability of Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound region.
Swedish Cultural Center
The Swedish Club is a nonprofit organization with the objective of promoting a better understanding between the United States and the Scandinavian countries, through learning about, practicing and celebrating the culture and traditions of Scandinavia, with an emphasis on Sweden.
Town Hall Seattle
Town Hall is Seattle's community cultural center, offering a broad program of music, humanities, civic discourse, and world culture events.
Transportation Choices Coalition is Washington's only non-profit bringing you MORE CHOICES – buses, trains, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Sign up and get involved!
Washington Council of the Blind Environmental Access Committee
The Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) is a volunteer organization promoting opportunity, equality, and independence within the blind community through education, public awareness, and advocacy.
YMCA of Greater Seattle
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.