Today, Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Council transportation chair Tom Rasmussen came out in strong support of Amazon's plans to gussy up their future Denny Triangle home with 1.25 acres of fancy landscaped grass and hedgery, a number of street setbacks and pedestrian improvements, an additional streetcar, and—joy of joys—a cycle track on 7th Avenue.
More of this, please, Seattle.
Of course, Amazon is required to include a public benefits package in their construction plans, as their three new office towers will engulf three blocks—or 17,000 square feet—of public alley space. Still, McGinn and Rasmussen say they've done a bang-up job.
“Seattle is recovering at a faster clip from the Great Recession than the rest of the country,” said McGinn in a statement, throwing a big wet kiss at Amazon. “We are recovering because companies like Amazon want to build their future in our city and give back to our community.”
“I have been working with Amazon representatives to ensure that Seattle receives a strong public benefits package and I thank Amazon for spending many months gathering feedback from the community," Rasmussen added between smooches.
Here are the highlights:
· $5.5 million to purchase and maintain a fourth Seattle streetcar for the South Lake Union line for at least the next 10 years. This fourth car will hopefully reduce commuter wait time during peak operating hours from 15 minutes to 10.
· Constructing a two-block, dedicated cycle track on 7th Avenue that is physically separated from cars and pedestrians by rows of trees. It's short but at least it's something.
· Unspecified "contributions" to help the city build a park on a triangular bit of land (the intersection of 8th Avenue, Westlake Avenue and Lenora Street) recently purchased by the Seattle parks department.
Rasmussen's Transportation Committee will be reviewing the proposal following a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, September 25 at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. In his comments, Rasmussen praised Amazon for listening to community wants and wishes and responding accordingly—this will be our first chance to gauge the truth in that statement.
A council vote on the package is expected in early November.