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On the Bench: Friends of Street Ends Wants Your Ideas

As we have reported recently, Friends of Street Ends (FOSE) is making real changes daily here in our neighborhood. A volunteer group under the leadership of Daniel Collins, opened the water’s edge of Lake Washington at the East end of S. Massachusetts St. With parking for a few vehicles, low bank access, a gentle curving path leading to the water, this little hidden gem offers a breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier, a quiet refuge, and a place to access the lake with a kayak.

When thinking about the use of this space, Karen Daubert and her team could not help but think about the best ways to set up the “new” park for public use. Could we incorporate a spot for people to gather? Should we keep the site natural and soft with a simple grassy slope? Would a bench or table be a good idea? How would we design and install a bench (or benches) that would be safe, useful, attractive, and dry?

We need your help. Included below is some information, photos, considerations, and ideas:

  • Constraints: The bench or furniture must meet the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). This applies to indoors and outdoors benches. Minimum size: 42” long, 20” deep, 18” back; height 17–19”; strength: 250 lbs. support in any direction.

  • Permits: Usually these benches are mounted in concrete and this requires shoreline permits.

  • Location and orientation: Where? How close to water? Angle to sun and view?

  • Configuration: More than one bench? Is a table a good idea?

  • Materials and design: Design is important for usefulness, comfort, and maintenance. Constructed of metals and/or wood? Aesthetic?

  • Funding: What is our budget. Can we raise some funds to install?

  • Recognition: We are planning to recognize Steve Shulman with this bench.

So here is what you can do to help us. As you visit public spaces, look for best-in-class ideas for benches and table in small parks. What do you like? What do you want us to avoid? We need your help, insight, and advice. Please contact Daniel Collins, Project Manager at FOSE (, or me at The Leschi Street Beat

~Daniel V. Byrne, PE


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