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August 2012
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CityLink Seattle

Parks Superintendent makes decision on new benches for Green Lake Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has made a decision about what to do with nine concrete pads intended for benches in Green Lake Park.

In 2011, Seattle Parks and Recreation removed nine two-way (seating on both sides) benches from Westlake Park to accommodate a new model of park furniture. Later that year a Parks Sr. Landscape Architect suggested they be relocated to Green Lake Park and drafted a design showing the benches along the east side of the lake between Green Lake Community Center and the interior path. He took the design to the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks for their review and approval.

In May 2012, Parks crews poured concrete pads for the benches, and some members of the public raised questions about the appropriateness of the benches at that location. Parks held a public meeting at the site on July 31, attended by 19 members of the public and several City staff.

• At the public meeting, eight people favored
installing benches; some said to install as many as
possible and others felt fewer than eight would be
preferable. Most noted that this is a very busy area
of the park and more benches are needed for people
with disabilities and the growing number of seniors
using the park.
• The one bench that has been installed is almost always
in use.
• Five people strongly opposed installing any benches,
for these reasons: the area is already congested, it
takes away green space near the beach, and it does not
respect tradition (Parks design standards)
• Of the 21 emails Parks received, 11 people support
more benches, eight want the pads removed, and three
had other opinions.

The Superintendent, after reading through all meeting notes and emails from the public, identified several alternatives:
–Install benches on all the pads
–Remove some of the pads
–Remove all of the pads
–Use some of the pads for other purposes such as picnic tables
or bike racks.

His decision is to move ahead with the plan shown on the attached schematic. Its elements are:
• Leave the two most northerly bench pads empty and see
what uses evolve for them. Parks staff have observed
people having picnics, playing music and other
activities on them.
• Install the benches on the next four pads to the south.
• Remove the pair of pads closest to the community
center where the strip of land between the lake and
the community center is narrowest.
• Keep the bench to the southwest of the community
center.
• Do nothing with the four remaining double benches
until Parks has observed park activity and given
thoughtful consideration to the possible installation
of benches in another location in the future.

The Superintendent believes that this plan is a fair compromise that accommodates evolving needs at the park and addresses the concerns of the opponents.