The People’s Waterfront Coalition is a Seattle-based grassroots organization that wants to achieve the full potential of the opportunity offered by Seattle’s failing viaduct and seawall to reclaim our downtown waterfront. Our vision is a dynamic water’s edge, with parks, beaches, recreation paths, event spaces, and an urban street integrated into a functional shore ecology. And no new highway at all.


Programs and Activities

Washington State Department of Transportation (WS-DOT) and the Mayor’s Office are currently pursuing a plan to replace the decaying viaduct with a new highway in this location –- perhaps the most insane use for this land, given what we know now about how to foster vibrant cities and how to nurse Elliott Bay back to health. Our advocacy work aims to coalesce the desire among Seattleites to capture the rich civic, ecological, and economic potential of precious shore lands for our city’s future. Many people recognize this opportunity as too profound to let the highway department declare a lesser goal – maintaining highway capacity – and pursue this in exclusion.

Working with some of the best local planning and design talent, our organization has developed a sustainable vision and implementation strategy for this landscape, called Seattle Strand. This includes a systems-based transportation solution, where improvements are made to capture underutilized capacity on existing facilities so viaduct trips can be accommodated elsewhere. This "No-Highway" solution adapts some of the strategies used by San Francisco, Portland, and Vancouver when faced with similar challenges, and is based on research done by the Seattle Department of Transportation and the expertise of Puget Sound Regional Council transportation planners.

In a city without a strong central planning office like ours, it is not unusual for this kind of progressive grassroots movement to emerge and ultimately succeed. We see our work as continuing in the tradition of saving Pike Place Market, preserving Pioneer Square as a historic neighborhood, and stopping the RH Thomson Expressway through the Arboretum.

With the Viaduct gone, the downtown shore is likely Seattle’s most valuable land ecologically, economically, and civically. When the other more appropriate uses for this land are imagined, and the bounty of benefits are tallied, it becomes increasingly clear that this is the most insane possible location for a highway. Our supporters are most passionate about this issue; they want to boldly take advantage of our one opportunity to leave a legacy to our children that will be cherished and revered.

Links to Additional Information

People's Waterfront Coalition web site


The People's Waterfront Coalition
P.O. Box 2332
Seattle, WA 98111
Phone: 206-624-1061
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.