12th Avenue Square project ready to dig in

by Sebastian Garrett-Singh

A conceptual image of 12th Avenue Square Park presented in 2011 (Image: Seattle Parks and Recreation)

A conceptual image of 12th Avenue Square Park presented in 2011 (Image: Seattle Parks and Recreation)

Back in June 2011, CHS posted design meeting plans for a 7,322 square-foot gravel lot on E James Court. It will soon be 12th Avenue Square Park. Now, with funding and a permit in-hand the Department of Parks and Recreations is looking to begin construction by late-spring/early summer and build upon the 564 12th Ave empty lot next to Ba Bar restaurant.

“The acquisition of the space was a community-initiated project from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund Project,” said Kerri Stoops of Seattle Parks. The Department of Neighborhoods passed the property to the parks department in 2008 who have acquired a steady flow of funds to get the project rolling that will include a woonerf to run “along James Ct spanning between the 12th Ave Park to the south and the new Seattle University and Seneca group development to the north.”

You may be wondering what a woonerf is. Here’s your answer:

A woonerf (Dutch plural: woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over motorists. The techniques of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits are intended to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.

Before construction can start on the 12th Avenue parcel the City has to find the right contractor.

“The project is now permitted and will go to bid.  If there is an acceptable bid, we will most likely, start construction late spring, early summer 2014,” Stoops tells CHS. Plans for the square were initially on-hold in 2008, but after bringing in $500,000 for the woonerf project from a 2008 parks levy and hurdling the public vetting process in 2011 the path is clear for construction.

The Seattle Parks Foundation is also chipping in $70,000 with an additional $490,000 coming from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy.

When it’s all done it will look more Westlake than Cal Anderson Park:

Designed by Hewitt Architects, the group will stay on as consultants for the woonerf project, according to a parks department description. “The park project and the woonerf project will go through design development, construction documents and construction simultaneously,” the parks website adds.

In addition to the pedestrian promenade the park will include artistic touches created by Ellen Sollod, who collaborated with Hewitt Architects on the project. “The artist has been selected by the community,” said Stoops. Sollod also serves on the Seattle Design Commission and Public Arts Advisory Committee.

Stoops said the construction schedule is slated to take 100 days.

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