Park Area Improvements

Park Area Improvements

Proposed improvements in specific park areas aim to make Freeway Park more welcoming, delightful, and successful in the ways it was originally intended to be (see below). The following is a brief summary of challenges and design solutions for four park areas where we see distinct potential to improve the park experience. Each section below has details about the proposed park improvements.

Upper Lawns

The Upper Lawns area serves as a neighborhood park for the surrounding apartment buildings and residents of First Hill. It is the best place in the park to lay a picnic blanket or throw a ball. Today, it is tucked away, usually quiet, and isolated from the Convention Center next door. Some areas of the Upper Lawns are dark and overgrown.

More details about Upper Lawn improvements

A map highlighting the location of the Upper Lawns at Freeway Park.

Upper Lawns project area.

An image of current conditions in the Upper Lawns.

Upper Lawns, north end: Existing condition.

Improvements in this area would enhance the character and use of the Upper Lawns space to make it better connected to the rest of the park, more comfortable and functional as a neighborhood park, and inviting as a place for kids to play. Possible improvements include:

  1. Expanded lawn areas with more room to sit or play.
  2. Adding steps and raising the lawn to make original concrete features more accessible for play.
  3. Improved visibility at the entrance from Convention Center Plaza.
  4. New family-friendly restrooms in the original restroom building.

A graphic showing proposed future improvements at the Upper Lawns.

Upper Lawns, north end: Artist’s rendering highlighting improvements of the Upper Lawn’s north end.

Pigott Corridor

Pigott Corridor is a key connection into Freeway Park from the First Hill Neighborhood. Designed years after the park opened, it is now an integral park circulation route. Throughout the day, it is full of people using the park to get from First Hill to Downtown, but poor visibility makes the corridor uninviting for those unfamiliar with the park.

More details about Pigott Corridor improvements

A map highlighting the location of Pigott Corridor at Freeway Park.

Pigott Corridor project area.

An image of current conditions in Pigott Corridor.

Pigott Corridor entrance: Existing condition.

Improvements are focused on creating a welcoming park entrance and overlook at the top of the Corridor with views to Puget Sound. Possible improvements include:

  1. New entrance signage with park map.
  2. New overlook with park bench.
  3. Selective pruning or removal of some evergreen trees to restore views.

A graphic showing proposed future improvements in Pigott Corridor.

Pigott Corridor entrance: Artist’s rendering of 9th Avenue entrance and possible improvements.

8th Avenue Entrance

The 8th Avenue Entrance is centrally located in Freeway Park, but nearly invisible. The stair down to the park has many blind corners and is hidden by high walls and evergreen trees. Every day, hundreds of people pass over the park walking on 8th Avenue, and more people are expected with the addition of new housing on First Hill.

More details about 8th Avenue Entrance

A map highlighting the location of Freeway Park’s 8th Avenue Entrance.

8th Avenue project area.

An image of current conditions in Freeway Park’s 8th Avenue Entrance.

8th Avenue Entrance: Existing conditions.

Improvements in this area are focused on inviting more people into the park and helping them to get oriented. Possible improvements include:

  1. A more visible and open entrance with views to Puget Sound.
  2. New stair leading to plaza (replaces existing stair leading to underpass).
  3. Improved plaza with seating and park map.

A graphic showing proposed future improvements at the 8th Avenue Entrance.

8th Avenue Entrance: Artist’s rendering facing 8th Avenue plaza and stair; the underpass is on the right.

Seneca Plaza

Seneca Plaza is the iconic heart of Freeway Park, home of the Canyon and Cascade fountains, and the center of activity for programming and events. It is the park space closest to downtown and the most dramatic and adventurous landscape in the park. The fountains are no longer used as they were intended—as interactive features—due to maintenance challenges, difficult access, and too much shade from mature trees. Large areas of the plaza have become unappealing or unusable, and perimeter planting obscures desired views.

More details about Seneca Plaza

A map highlighting the location of Seneca Plaza at Freeway Park.

Seneca Plaza project area.

An image of current conditions at Seneca Plaza.

Seneca Plaza: Existing conditions.

Improvements are focused on encouraging exploration and play, improving the fountains, making the space more accessible, and supporting activities and events.

Possible improvements include:

  1. New staffed park building, with concierge, public restrooms, and storage.
  2. Modifications to make the Cascade Fountain/​Children’s Fountain clean, safe, and accessible.
  3. A sunnier area around Cascade Fountain.
  4. Refreshed planting around the plaza, with a focus on lower plants for better sight lines.
  5. Better access and visibility at the Canyon Fountain (not shown).

A graphic showing proposed future improvements at Seneca Plaza.

Seneca Plaza: Artist’s rendering of the Cascade Fountain and new building, facing north.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Seneca Plaza building.

Artist’s rendering of the Seneca Plaza building.