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» soundway

In 2003, the City of Seattle Fleets and Facilities Department recommended that 7 acres of greenbelt north of SW Holly be sold to developers. The City estimated that 39 detached homes could be built amongst the Environmentally Critical Areas of the Soundway property.

Some people in the neighborhood opposed this development, and became actively involved in keeping Soundway as part of the greenbelt designated by the City in the 1980's.

After much negotiation, the Mayor's office announced in 2005 that the property would be saved for green space. To read media coverage and other documents, click here .


Background

In 1953, the original 1st Ave S. bridge was being planned. In conjunction with the bridge, there was a desire to build freeways into what were then the suburban areas of Burien and SW Seattle. I509 was built as part of this, but "Sound Way" never was. The intent was not to connect to a bridge to Vashon, as the Department of Fleets and Facilities maintained, but plans for that connection were to be considered in the design.

Sound Way was to connect with the 1st Ave S bridge, heading from there across Highland Park Way and up through this property that is now being called the "Soundway" property. It was to continue SW down through what is now Puget Ridge Co-housing, across Orchard near Delridge, down past Westwood Village and ending up around 23rd and Roxbury, just about three blocks east of Safeway.

Click on the image at left to see this photo which was taken just below 12th Ave SW & SW Holly St. You can see here how sharply the hill was cut into. This continues around by Holly, but is less visible because of the trees and brush.

The property had been owned by Klinker Sand and Gravel which was mining the property with an eye for ending up with large flat areas for housing developments. The Department of Engineering city bought some of the property outright and then traded their own sand and gravel operations, located where South Seattle Community College is now, for the remainder.

The DOE then built a service road from the base of Highland Park Way up to 14th Ave SW and SW Holly St, with a specified 10% grade. This allowed the city to use this property as a Sand and Gravel pit to provide fill for the 1st Ave South bridge construction. Most of this road remains intact today.

Click on the image at left to see this photo. The road built by the DOE is still perfectly usable in most places and makes a beautiful walking path. See walking riverview for directions and pictures of a hike up this road from Highland Park Way.

It is important to note that the portion of property that was transferred for Greenbelt was the portion that had been scraped clean for its sand and gravel. The portion to be sold for development was the only relatively untouched portion of property remaining.

In the 1980's, the property was designated as greenbelt by a City Council that intended that the property remain green. This included Councilmember Jeanette Williams with her (then) legislative aid Tom Rasmussen. Apparently this designation does not prevent the current Mayor from reversing it.