Can Seattle make I-5 disappear?

May 5, 2016, 1:35 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm

lid I-5...

A lid was placed over I-90 as it crosses over Mercer Island. The land is now a park. Some propose to do the same over I-5 in Seattle. (Creative Commons/ Jeff Hitchcock)

(Creative Commons/ Jeff Hitchcock)

A group called LID I-5 wants to put a cover over a portion of Seattle’s main corridor.

The group has been holding meetings around the city and it is preparing to host a charrette on May 7 — a meeting with various stakeholders with the aim of forging a path forward.

Architect John Feit with the group expects a half-dozen teams to try and come up with designs during the event.

Related: Is it possible to put a bike lane on I-5 through Seattle?

“Each team would … reach some kind of consensus about what are important issues and important things that should be incorporated into lidding I-5,” Feit explained.

KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross points out that the group doesn’t want to cover all of I-5. Instead, it will look at sections of the road near Seattle to put a lid on it. Some areas include the stretch between Madison and Denny Way, as well as the stretch between 45th and 55th Streets.

But why would anyone want to put a lid over I-5?

Feit says, for one, it would improve “quality of life and aesthetics.”

“I-5 generates a lot of noise. It’s a visual blight,” Feit said. “It also impacts air quality and divides neighborhoods. Lidding I-5 could address all those issues.”

Plus, it would create a lot of land for the city, Dave says. And it isn’t as radical an idea as it sounds at first. Look at the lid over the SR 520 bridge near Medina, or the lid over I-90 on Mercer Island that is home to a park.

Feit argues that I-5 is going to need some rehabilitation at some point down the road. When that happens, he hopes “the culture and expectations of a lid are sufficiently established to know what to prepare for.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

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Can Seattle make I-5 disappear?