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Stitching Back Seattle: Creating the Lid I-5 Toolkit

Interstate 5 is a freeway that runs north/south through the heart of Seattle, splitting the residential area of Capitol Hill from the central business district of Downtown. Recently, a group of urban activists and designers has proposed a solution to this problem in the form of a “lid” or cover over the I-5 roadway that would re-connect the city’s urban grid as well as provide new, and much needed, open space. My project supports this effort by developing a series of design guidelines aimed at enhancing the pedestrian experience of the new lidded area. Using a matrix based on the Dutch architect Jan Gehl’s twelve criteria for successful public spaces and the design criteria of a Woonerf or Dutch “living street”, I develop several recommendations that will improve the safety, accessibility, and user experience of this important future urban amenity.