Connect Us to the Water

Inspiring and interactive experiences on the lake, sound and plazas

The vision

  • Streets and views connect people to Lake Union and Elliott Bay
  • Water is easy to touch, learn about, and enjoy
  • Everyone has affordable options to float, paddle, and circulate by boat
  • Each neighborhood has a walkable route to Elliott Bay or Lake Union
  • The entire water’s edge is accessible to all of us
  • Our connection to the water can be leveraged for mobility options

How we'd get there

Make continuous walking paths along the water’s edge

Example:

  • Build upon and expand the Waterfront Seattle Program

Create culturally significant and educational connections between the water and land

Examples:

  • Create boat landings for native communities
  • Include educational wayfinding and art about native water ecology including salmon, orcas, the sea wall

Offer affordable options to get around by boat for all types of trips

Examples:

  • Expand foot ferries in Elliott Bay and small boat mobility options in Lake Union
  • Introduce kayak share and small electric boat share in Lake Union

Create affordable public spaces for recreation and informal gathering on the water

Example:

  • Build a pool barge, sun-bathing pier, or kayak rental

Support free and frequent recreation activities and entertainment on the waterfront

Examples:

  • Concerts, festivals, outdoor movies and entertainment
  • Places to barbeque, have a picnic, exercise, play music and dance
  • Implement the Waterfront Seattle Program public space at Pier 48

Create watercourses and water features along key streets to larger bodies of water

Example:

  • Streams, fountains, or water features along sidewalks and in plazas

How we strive for equity

  • Make it cheap and easy and walkable to get to and enjoy our waterfront places
  • Give children, seniors and minority communities opportunities to get on the water and provide opportunities for everyone to learn about our region, history, and natural resources
  • Celebrate and honor native cultures' relationships to the water and shoreline

icons of two people holding hands with text bubbles above their heads

What we've heard

  • More water access, views, and walking paths along the water’s edge!
  • We want to be able to walk all the way from the Sculpture Park to Pioneer Square along the water
  • We want to leverage our waterways to expand the connections to Greater Downtown

Great examples from Seattle and beyond

Dozens of small colorful boats with names such as Bella and Virginia travel along a river lined with large trees.

Every Sunday in Xochimilco, Mexico City, people gather with their family and friends to float along the canals in these colorful boats and eat, sing, dance, and celebrate together.
Photo credit: Doug Knuth

A half dozen people wearing straw hats and with paddles, row in large canoes decorated in Native art.

Thousands of Native people across the Pacific Northwest embark on a long canoe journey every year. There are many stops hosted by local tribes along the way. Future improvements may build upon the current Waterfront Program improvements planned for Seattle’s central waterfront. The area could be expanded to enhance connections to the water and serve as a welcoming landing in the journey.
Photo credit: Mark Pouley

Urban dock situated near a tree-lined esplanade complete with a staircase, several edges for entering and exiting the water. In the background are tall apartment buildings which have a view of the water and innovative dock.

The Islands Brygge harbor baths offer recreational swimming areas on central Copenhagen’s waterfront.
Photo credit: webjay