Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle

April 23, 2015 10 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The vibrancy of cities comes in all shapes and sizes. Many believe that what works in internationally known cosmopolitan settings may not be applicable for cities such as Jacksonville, which have struggled with embracing walkability. If we look hard enough, we may realize that this type of view should be challenged. Despite the diversity around the globe, all lively cities, downtowns, and urban cores have something in common: being pedestrian friendly. Today, Metro Jacksonville visits the streets of a Pacific Coast peer: Seattle.


With spectacular views of Elliott Bay, Seattle's Waterfront is one of the city's most unforgettable neighborhoods.  Here, visitors can enjoy fresh Pacific Northwest seafood, eclectic souvenir and curio shops, scenic ferry rides, and the Seattle Aquarium. It's a great example of repurposing late 19th century/early 20th century wharves for use in the 21st century.

Jacksonville Connection: The Northbank Riverfront was once lined with wharves, similar to Seattle's waterfront. Considered blight, the majority of wharf structures were demolished and replaced with surface parking lots during the 1950s and 1960s. A portion of those large lots, the courthouse parking lot, recently collapsed into the river. Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate Jacksonville's waterfront?




The Alaskan Way Viaduct is a double-decked elevated section of State Route 99, running along the Elliott Bay waterfront in the industrial district and downtown of Seattle. It was built in phases between 1949 and 1953. Efforts are underway to replace the structure with a tunnel.

Jacksonville Connection: The Hart Bridge Expressway viaduct is Jacksonville's version of Seattle's Alaskan Way. Like the Alaskan Way viaduct, it was built to separate traffic from the city's industrial waterfront. The time is rapidly approaching when Jacksonville will need to seriously consider the future of its aging viaduct.



The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel at Pier 57. With an overall height of 175', it was the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast when it opened on June 29, 2012.

Jacksonville Connection" None. However, there is a much larger observation wheel preparing to open in Orlando.


So this is what you get when you mix recreational cannabis and fermented beverages on the Seattle waterfront....

Victor Steinbrueck Park is a popular place for tourist, the mentally ill, vagrants, alcoholics, and drug addicts. However, at least on Metro Jacksonville's day, everyone from all walks of life seemed to be enjoying a common amenity.....sunshine!

Jacksonville Connection: Jacksonville isn't the only city in the United States that has to deal with vagrants and homelessness. Vagrancy should not be tolerated as an excuse for downtown's revitalization problems.



A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the 8th largest port in the United States and 9th largest in North America in terms of container handling (

Jacksonville Connection: JAXPORT is the 11th largest port in the United States and 13th largest in North America in terms of container handling.



The Space Needle is an iconic observation tower built for the 1962 World's Fair.

Jacksonville Connection: In 2013, Killashee Investments introduced the idea of building a 1,000' tall observation tower at the Shipyards. According to Killashee, SEAGLASS tower would serve as the city's arrival on the international stage. However, this proposal never gained traction with Jaguars owner Shad Khan rumored as being interested in the property. A few months after their announcement, Killashee moved on to other endeavors.


Elliott Bay Trail (Terminal 91 Bike Path) is a popular 3.4-mile shared use path along the Seattle waterfront.

Jacksonville Connection: The urban Jacksonville waterfront is home to two shared use paths. The Northbank and Southbank Riverwalks.




The SAM Olympic Sculpture Park Pocket Beach.

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