Bell Street Park

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Bell Street Park
LocationBelltown, Seattle, Washington
Coordinates47°36′55″N 122°20′38″W / 47.61536°N 122.34396°W / 47.61536; -122.34396Coordinates: 47°36′55″N 122°20′38″W / 47.61536°N 122.34396°W / 47.61536; -122.34396
Area1.33-acre (0.54 ha)
OpenedApril 12, 2014 (2014-04-12)[1]
Operated bySeattle Parks and Recreation
StatusOpen all year

Bell Street Park is a 1.33-acre (0.54 ha) park, created in 2014 in Seattle, Washington's Belltown neighborhood.[2] Situated in a neighborhood described as a former "hot-spot for low-level crime, drug-dealing and civil disorder",[3] and intended in part to reduce crime rates on the street,[4] the property was transferred from the city's transportation department to Parks and Recreation,[5] and it was redeveloped as a woonerf or mixed-use pedestrian/vehicular traffic area without curbs.[6]

As a woonerf, the park is described as a "grand experiment" in Seattle,[7] and nearly unique in Washington State. It won a design award from the Seattle Design Commission in 2014.[8]

Other woonerven in the Seattle area[edit]


Seattle's The Stranger newspaper called it "our first woonerf",[9] and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called it "downtown's first park boulevard",[10] but some writers say there are others that predated Bell Street Park. According to Seattle University's newspaper, The Commons, the Pike Place and Post Alley area at Pike Place Market is functionally a woonerf, and a woonerf was built at the university's Douglas Building (at the junction of the 12th Avenue and Columbia Street pollinator pathways).[11] described Occidental Park as a woonerf also.[5] A Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson said in 2014 that removing curbs at Occidental Park was under consideration.[12]

A section of 8th Avenue in the South Lake Union district of Seattle was proposed by Vulcan Inc. in 2015 as a woonerf along the lines of Bell Street Park.[13]

Construction on 12th Avenue Square Park, a new park and woonerf on East James Court in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, was completed in February 2016.[12][14][15]


The curbless redesign of Park Lane in neighboring Kirkland, Washington, scheduled for completion in 2015[needs update], used the Bell Street Park as a reference in the design and selection process.[16]


The mixed-use area, called by a local magazine an "experimental ped and car mashup"[17] and by another as a "dog's breakfast" of competing design elements,[5] has resulted in traffic rules that have been called "predatory",[18] and a "ticket trap".[19] One newspaper writer critiqued the woonerf concept for not going far enough and "banning cars altogether".[9]


  1. ^ McVicker, Katie (April 8, 2014). "Celebrate the opening of Bell Street Park" (Press release). Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. ^ Bell Street Park, Seattle Parks and Recreation
  3. ^ Tim Gaydos (July 15, 2014), "How useful is Bell Street Park, actually?",
  4. ^ Joel Moreno (January 23, 2013), Belltown hopes new park can curb violent crimes, KOMO-TV News
  5. ^ a b c Mark Hinshaw (April 23, 2014), "Bell Street Park: A noble bust",
  6. ^ "Seattle's Bell Street Park Is a Pedestrian Friendly Dream", Planetizen, Los Angeles, March 2, 2014
  7. ^ John White (April 12, 2014), Bell Street Park, a sign of things to come?, KCPQ television
  8. ^ "City honors 7 projects with design awards", Daily Journal of Commerce, Portland, Oregon, July 14, 2014
  9. ^ a b Charles Mudede (April 18, 2014), "Bell Street Park Is Just A Slow Zone For Cars", The Stranger
  10. ^ Jean Guerrero (June 25, 2009), "Seattle proposal calls for a Belltown boulevard", Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  11. ^ "Answer me this: Woonerf coming soon to SU", The Commons, archived from the original on 2015-02-27
  12. ^ a b Linzi Sheldon (March 6, 2014), City building "woonerf," road that gives pedestrians, cyclists right of way, KIRO-TV News
  13. ^ Linda Brill (February 11, 2015), Proposed South Lake Union street park sparks debate, KING-TV
  14. ^ 12th Avenue Square Park Development Project Information, Seattle Parks and Recreation, retrieved 2016-02-12
  15. ^ O'Connor, Karen (2016-02-04), 12th Avenue Square Park Opens, Seattle Parks and Recreation, retrieved 2016-02-12
  16. ^ Rob Butcher (May 30, 2014), "Pavers or pavement? Advisory group to discuss surface materials for Park Lane at next meeting", Kirkland Views
  17. ^ Josh Feit (February 28, 2014), "Building Bell Street Park: Growing up by slowing down", Seattle Met
  18. ^ Danny Westneat (February 26, 2015), "Belltown ticket trap turns drivers into sitting ducks", The Seattle Times
  19. ^ Jamie Skorheim, Why ban cars on Bell Street when you can give drivers $124 tickets?, KIRO-AM radio John Curley show

External links[edit]