Great Places – Washington – 2019: Recognizing Great Streets! 

An awards program co-sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA WA) and the Planning Association of Washington (PAW)

After a successful program launch in 2017 (Great Neighborhoods) and follow up last year (Great Gathering Spaces), we recently released a call for nominations recognizing Great Streets in Washington State. Awards this year will be given to three different streets based on their context and function (see below). This program is based on the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America Program.

Last year we received 20 submittal applications for a wide variety of gathering spaces. The number and quality of these gathering spaces created great competition for the awards. We intended to award three spaces based on size. But we ultimately awarded four gathering spaces due to a tie in one of the categories. The committee enjoyed presenting plaques to the award winners at the Washington APA conference last fall and sharing slides of the gathering spaces with attendees. Beyond those four, it was great to see the efforts in communities throughout the state to create new gathering spaces. Some of these spaces were brand new and are certainly potential great place winners in the future! Last year’s awards built up considerable momentum in the program and our initial outreach on “Great Streets” has already generated a number of calls and emails to us about the applications and criteria.

Great Streets Award Category and Criteria:
We plan to award three different categories of Great Streets:

  1. Urban main streets
  2. Small city/town and neighborhood main streets
  3. Boulevards (streets that successfully balance vehicular traffic with transit and pedestrian circulation)

These may be portions of longer streets or they may encompass the entire street, provided they meet the awards criteria below. The categories are intentionally broad to allow for streets with a great range in development intensity. Ultimately, we’ll be evaluating applications against the following awards criteria:

Great Streets:

  • Integrate a vibrant mix of uses that supports the greater community
  • Are framed by interesting and articulated building facades that contribute to the use and popularity of the street
  • Include attributes and design elements that create a distinctive character
  • Feel safe and welcoming to all, particularly pedestrians
  • Accommodate community events and facilitate social interaction

Images courtesy John Owen, MAKERS

Based on our experience in evaluating the 20 applications for last year’s award, it’s important to assume that the evaluation committee has never been to the street. Thus, providing complete applications with photos and graphics that help to tell the story of how the street meets the criteria is essential.

The Great Places Committee encourages submissions by all interested parties, including neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, tribes, consultants, cities, towns and counties. Should you have any questions or seek a Word version of the application, please contact me (Bob Bengford) at [email protected] or my co-chair Amanda Tainio at: [email protected]

The deadline for applications is July 22!

2018 Great Gathering Spaces Winners

Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park

City of Bainbridge Island & Walker Macy

Pike Place Marketfront

City of Seattle, Pike Place Market PDA & Berger Partnership

Hing Hay Park

City of Seattle & MIG

Second Street Plaza

City of Langley & Framework



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