RFQ For Finding Freeway Park: A Community Design Process

The Freeway Park Association (FPA) is undergoing a community engagement and schematic design process to envision and create improvements to connectivity, visibility and public safety at Freeway Park. We seek to hire a landscape architect to lead this process and develop conceptual design recommendations for future use by the City and the Association. We envision this community design and planning process as the first step to improve access to this hidden gem and to support the needs of the community within the changing landscape of our City.


Freeway Park is Seattle’s largest downtown public park. The 5.2 acre park opened 40 years ago on July 4th, 1976, bridging Seattle’s Downtown and First Hill neighborhoods after they were severed by the construction of Interstate 5. The Freeway Park Association was established in 1993 in response to the community’s demand for greater public safety in their aging neighborhood park. Freeway Park began to decline in the late 1980s when its robust plant palette became unruly due to lack of maintenance, growing larger than originally intended, shading out lighting poles and creating dark areas where elicit behavior was easily hidden. FPA quickly formed an enduring relationship with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and together, worked to garner the necessary support, ideas, energy, and fundraising to restore the neglected park. FPA now enjoys and benefits from an Urban Parks Partnership with SPR, has an Executive Director and Engagement Coordinator on staff, an active Board of Directors, and a rich activation calendar.

While all of FPA’s work to improve Freeway Park has brought a significant increase in positive activity, the space remains underutilized. We believe this is for two critical reasons: 1.) Poor visibility into the Park from its edges and entrances mean that many people don’t know it exists and others don’t feel safe entering it; and 2.) The meandering and often disorienting landscape, though lovely, compounds the sense that the space is unsafe.

At this stage in the history of Freeway Park, we seek to re-evaluate its position in the greater city landscape. Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth right now, making our open spaces all the more precious especially those in the downtown core.

Project Scope

FPA seeks to hire a landscape architect/firm who specializes in public space design, wayfinding, placemaking and community engagement to create a suite of design recommendations for the following areas:

  • Improved connections to the Park from the surrounding streets that will help visitors on foot and bike navigate easily and safely toward Park entrances.
  • Enhancements to the Park’s 12 entrances so that they are clearly visible, inviting and reflect its iconic nature.
  • Improved wayfinding throughout the Park that will help visitors navigate the often-disorienting pathways and clearly mark the 12 exits in the Park.
  • Improved lighting throughout the Park that respond to community concern regarding public safety after dark and highlights the Park’s unique landscape architecture.
  • Concepts for new amenities in the Park that would give visitors a reason to stay in the Park rather than use it as a thoroughfare.

The landscape architect/firm will lead the schematic design development process including public outreach, community meeting facilitation, creation of conceptual designs and development of a final report. The landscape architect/firm will work closely with the FPA Director and Steering Committee. FPA will help the consultant manage the project scope, schedule, and budget and will support the work of the consultant through regularly scheduled progress reviews, by using FPA resources and networks to assist in outreach and marketing, and by engaging our network of members and community partners.

Project Elements & Deliverables

  • Planning and Outreach
    • Work with FPA to coordinate the community design process; scope, schedule and budget.
    • Develop and implement a robust public engagement plan including outreach strategies for two public meetings and one public presentation.
  • Community Design Facilitation
    • Work with FPA to facilitate two community design meetings or design charettes in Freeway Park that will guide participants through an interactive and iterative process resulting in meaningful design recommendations that address identified “areas for improvement” listed above.
    • Work with FPA to plan and facilitate a final community meeting to present the final design recommendations.
  • Conceptual Design
    • Using input from the community design meetings, create a conceptual design package with a suite of design recommendations for Freeway Park.
  • Final Report
    • Produce a final project report including background information, precedent research (if applicable), documentation of community design process, and final design recommendations with conceptual design drawings and next steps for implementation including estimated design/construction budgets.

Project Budget

This project is funded through a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The budget for the first phase of planning and schematic design services is $22,500.

* Additional funds will be available for the second phase of the project: design development and construction documents. Details TBD.

Landscape Architect Qualifications

  • Familiarity with Freeway Park.
  • Experience creating schematic designs for urban public spaces that have resulted in implementation.
  • Experience with community outreach and collaboration with diverse stakeholders.
  • Experience facilitating large community meetings.
  • Creative, innovative, and flexible design approach.
  • Licensed Landscape Architect in the State of Washington.
  • Experience working with City of Seattle key departments eg: SDOT, Parks and DON is a plus.


RFQ Specifications

Please send application materials as a single PDF (max 20MB) to Riisa Conklin, FPA Director at riisa@freewayparkassociation.org by 5pm on March 10th.

Applications must include the following information:

  • Cover Letter (1 page): Identify your firm, your project manager and why Freeway Park is a place you are interested to work with.
  • Company Profile and Project Team Description (2-3 pages): Company profile, including size, experience, number of years in business, summary of key staff who will be involved in the project especially with regard to project management and community design facilitation.
  • Proposal Description (1-2 pages): Include your proposed approach to satisfying the project scope and deliverables. Cite examples of work you have done with other community groups, your approach to community design and the challenges/opportunities of designing for an urban public space.
  • Related Work Examples (1 page each): Provide brief project descriptions and images for up to three recent projects of a similar scope and nature including corresponding project references with contact information.


RFQ Timeline: 2017

March 10 – Qualifications due by 5:00pm

March 17 – Short­listed firms will be notified

March 23 – Interviews conducted

March 24 – Notification of selected firm

March 31 – Contract signed and notice to proceed anticipated from City of Seattle

April 1 – Contracted work begins


Project Timeline: 2017

May – First Community Meeting – Information Gathering/Community Design Process

July – Second Community Meeting – Draft Design Concepts/Community Input

September – Community Presentation – Final Design Concepts

November – Final Report Due to FPA

December – DON Grant Contract Complete


Contact Information

Direct questions to FPA Director Riisa Conklin – riisa@freewayparkassociation.org