2017 Parks and Open Space Plan

A big thank you to the hundreds of citizens and staff who have submitted comments, given us input, reviewed our data, and participated in focus groups, public meetings and discussions on the draft 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan.

We are very pleased to announce that the Board of Park Commissioners unanimously voted to recommended approval and adoption of the 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan (Plan) at their June 22 meeting.

City Council's Parks Committee unanimously approved the plan on August 3 and it was adopted by the full City Council on August 7, 2017: Resolution: 31763

The Plan is required by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office to maintain the City's eligibility for state grants that will help realize outdoor recreation development and open space acquisition projects; as such the Plan needs approval by the Superintendent and must be adopted through resolution by City Council.

Download the 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan 

"did you know . . . that 94% of the housing units in the City of Seattle are within a 10-minute walk to a park?"

The Plan

  • Includes goals and policies in keeping with Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan,
  • Allows Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) to compete for State grants and funding opportunities,
  • Lays out action steps to implement those goals and policies in keeping with SPR’s mission and the plans desired outcomes,
  • Looks at Seattle’s demographic and recreation trends,
  • Provides an inventory and overview of SPR facilities,
  • Uses new technology to map out ‘walkability’ to parks and open spaces,
  • Recommends capital projects.

The 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan is a six-year plan that documents and describes SPR's facilities and lands, looks at Seattle's changing demographics, and lays out a vision for the future. The 2017 Plan is required by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to maintain the City of Seattle's eligibility for state grants and funding programs that will help realize outdoor recreation development and open space acquisition projects.

This plan also guides SPR in addressing the future needs of the community and progress towards achieving our mission. The 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan works together with and is informed by other planning documents, including: Seattle 2035 - the City of Seattle's Comprehensive Plan, 2014 Parks Legacy Plan, the 2016 Seattle Recreation Demand Study, the 2015 Community Center Strategic Plan and other city plans.


This schedule is subject to change.

May - October 2016 Background analysis and development of walkability mapping
November 10, 2016 Board of Park Commissioners - Briefing I and public roll out
November 2016 - May 2017 Public Engagement - participation with DON's Citywide Public meetings, focus groups, other partners and City Departments (ongoing)
December 8, 2016 Planning Commission - Briefing I
January - May 2017 Analysis, Refinements, and Finalize Plan
May 16, 2017 Public Release of Draft Plan - sent electronically to Board of Park Commissioners and posted on the project webpage
May 18, 2017 Focus Group II and Planning Commission Briefing II
May 22, 2017 SEPA posted
May 25, 2017 Board of Park Commissioners - Briefing II
June 8, 2017 Board of Park Commissioners - Public Hearing
June 12, 2017 Full Council Briefing I
June 15, 2017 Public comment period closes for Draft Plan and SEPA
June 22, 2017 Board of Park Commissioners - Discussion and Recommendations
June 2017 Draft Legislation
July 20, 2017 PSCLW Committee Meeting – Summary of public comments and Councilmember input
August 3, 2017 PSCLW Committee Meeting – Discussion of changes and potential vote
September 7, 2017 PSCLW Committee Meeting – Discussion and final vote
September 11, 2017 Full Council Meeting – Final approval by full council
October 2017 Submit 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan to the State
November 2017 2011 Development Plan expires

What’s proposed, what’s new and what is different?

The desire is for this plan to be more visionary and usable for future planning, and looks at city resources from the lens of accessibility and equity. We will be using equity and population density mapping, as one of many tools, to help us formulate our priority areas for acquisition. The intent is to gain a more accurate picture of access, by measuring how people walk to a park or facility. We are calling this ‘walkability’. 

What are the desired Outcomes?

  • Have an approach to Open Space and Recreation Facility distribution that is based upon access, opportunity, equity, and real time data.
  • Have a user-friendly data interface that the public can access via story mapping and other new technologies.
  • Maintain a Baseline Level of Service for Citywide Open Space.
  • Have refined long-term strategies that look to acquire more land to add to the park network over time, and to increase the capacity of existing facilities to allow expanded use (e.g., converting grass fields to synthetic turf fields or adding a walking path in a park), where feasible.

What does ‘walkability’ mean?

SPR is using the Trust for Public Lands and the National Park Service definition of ‘walkability’ as the distance a person walks in 10-minutes, which is approximately ½ mile. ‘Walkability’ is both a measurement and an urban design concept. The measurement is the distance from a park. As an urban design concept, it is how an area or neighborhood is designed to encourage walking, including factors such as sidewalks or pedestrian rights-of-way, safety, traffic, road conditions and other public amenities such as open space.

How is ‘walkability’ measured?

‘Walkability’ is measured as a network that uses the street grid and measures the distance that a person would need to walk, or bike, to access a community center or park, and is measured from the park or facility entrance.

How does the map work? Do I need a special program to view the maps?

SPR’s GIS staff mapped over 1000 park entry points and linked to SDOT’s walking network layer to develop the Walkability areas. In addition to park property, there is information on Greenway projects, bicycle and park trails, public school property, major institutions and universities, and other non-park owned property, such as Seattle Center.

No special program is needed to view the maps, just pull up the link below on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer and zoom into the neighborhood you are most interested in.
Walkability Map link

Previous Plans

The Seattle Park District website has more information on our facilities and projects. Download the 2016 Seattle Park District Facilities Map here.

Public Comment

The public comment period for the draft plan has now closed. For questions, please e-mail: 2017OpenSpace@seattle.gov

SEPA Determination of Non-Significance

Download the SEPA Determination of Non-Significance Public comment period for the SEPA Determination of Non-Significance has now closed.

Parks and Recreation

AP Diaz, Superintendent
Mailing Address: 100 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA, 98109
Phone: (206) 684-4075
Fax: (206) 615-1813

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