How Seattle’s Waterfront Plan Took Shape

See Seattle waterfront's milestones

By Erica C. Barnett

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February 25, 2019

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the March 2019 issue and is part of our Seattle Waterfront feature. Click here to subscribe.

2001
February: Nisqually Earthquake occurs and damages the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct

2009
January: City, county and state governments agree to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel

December: City forms Central Waterfront Partnerships Committee

2010
September: James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) selected to design Seattle’s waterfront park

2011
January: Seattle City Council creates Central Waterfront Committee (CWC); public outreach begins

2012
August: Seattle City Council adopts JCFO concept design and CWC strategic plan

Summer: Friends of Waterfront Seattle is incorporated

November: Voters approve bond for new seawall

2013
November: Seawall construction begins

July: Tunnel-boring machine “Bertha” begins work on the Viaduct replacement tunnel

December: Bertha stalls

2014
February: The city’s Office of the Waterfront is formed

August: Voters approve metropolitan park district to create sustainable funding source for Seattle parks

2015
March: City Council authorizes Pike Place Market MarketFront expansion

June: MarketFront expansion breaks ground

August: City Council and mayor approve master plan for aquarium expansion

December: Bertha resumes tunnel-boring work

2016
July: City Council approves Pier 62 rebuild

2017
April: Bertha finishes tunnel-boring work

June: MarketFront opens

August: City Council releases local improvement district (LID) feasibility study

September: City Council adopts a resolution affirming the LID funding approach for the waterfront

Fall: Groundbreaking for Pier 62 rebuild; seawall replacement project complete

2017–2018
City Council reaches out to property owners who would be affected by LID tax

2019
January: City Council considers LID legislation; Alaskan Way Viaduct is closed

February: The new State Route 99 tunnel opens

Late winter and spring: Alaskan Way Viaduct is removed

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