Summer 2012
by Frances Chapin, Cultural Services Director

 

99 artist concept 1In 2004 a study of commercial areas on Highway 99 pointed out that Edmonds has a small but flourishing International District in the area approximately between 220th and 236th on SR 99. As a result of the study, the City started looking at ways to visually reinforce the International District identity and encourage economic development in the area. The outcome of that effort is about to be implemented as
lighting and other improvements are installed between 230th and just north of 224th starting in late August or September.

The idea of creating a visual gateway was included in the 2006 City of Edmonds Streetscape Plan and it was the basis for a collaboration between the Economic Development Department and Cultural Services staff to apply for a Federal Highway Enhancements grant.
                                               Artist Concept Drawing

In 2006, the City of Edmonds was awarded a $316,000 grant under the Federal Transportation Enhancement Program to improve the aesthetics and pedestrian safety within the Edmonds International District on SR 99. Additional funding of $57,000 was awarded in 2008, and the project was expanded in 2011 with an additional grant of $289,000 secured by the City for a total PE and Construction budget of $662,000 in federal funds.

The federally funded lighting and streetscape improvements will create a visual gateway for the district, improve illumination and pedestrian safety, and promote economic development.

The construction will begin in late August or September and includes installation of 14 new overhead light standards with pedestrian level lights and banner signage. Seven of the poles in the center of the project outside Ranch 99 have artist made pedestrian level light fixtures. Opposite these lights on the traffic island at 76th St. a solar lit sculptural element will be installed on a new decorative surface. New sidewalk and pedestrian lights with signage will lead south from the island towards BooHan Plaza. The Seattle artist, Pam Beyette, calls the installation “Eight Paths of Light” in honor of the lantern form and lantern festivals which are experienced in cultures worldwide. The lantern is an international icon that evokes the shared cultural symbols of light, celebration, abundance, and harmony. She designed the artwork to serve as a welcoming landmark to Edmonds International District.

99 artist concept 2
The grant funded enhancements include:

  • Replacing 14 existing cobra head poles on the east side of SR 99 with decorative street lighting in new foundations;
  • Adding signature streetscape/gateway elements to 7 of the poles through artist designed pedestrian lights and standard pedestrian arms on the other poles;
  • Installing a new service cabinet on the west side of SR 99 south of 76th and eight new pedestrian level lights with small banner signage;
  • Including district ID graphic panel signage on the 14 large poles;     
  • Adding a graphic to existing street signs (i.e. 224th) to meet way-finding and district identity objectives;
  • Resurfacing the asphalt median island at 76th and SR 99 with an enhanced hardscape treatment of stamped colored concrete and new curbs; installing an artist made sculptural gateway element on the island; and adding ADA ramps to the sidewalk crosswalks at the island.
 

These enhancements will improve comfort and attractiveness of the district for transit riders and pedestrians and enhance the overall aesthetics for drivers through the area. From a marketing perspective, the intent is for these enhancements to help visually “brand” the Edmonds International District as a key shopping area north of Seattle.

Contact: Frances Chapin, frances.chapin@edmondswa.gov">frances.chapin@edmondswa.gov




                                                                                                                                                                                               Artist Concept Drawing



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