When in Belgium, I found myself incredibly lost in a village situated amongst some farmland. I had been hitch hiking and had followed a road that became progressively smaller and smaller until it was just a one lane cobbled street. Needless to say I was definitely not happy about being steered off course, and after hours of wandering past sheep and giant chateaus, I was getting pretty worried about finding my way around/out of this village.

After some time I found myself nearing the center ville and ended up finding a giant billboard with a walking map on it detailing the quickest routes around the town (I saw these in the Lille suburbs too). That billboard map stuck out at me as something incredibly genius. There were more too. They were all strategically placed on the routes marked on the map. The most interesting thing was that they also JUST showed the streets that they wanted you to walk on. Other smaller residential streets were not even visible. I found this to be interesting and actually incredibly helpful.

With the aide of these maps I was  able to find my way to the edge of the town and onto a local access road that connected to a regional motorway. After this experience, I thought that this idea could be put to some good use on the Hill.

Capitol Hill is a destination for people from within the city to people from around the world. It’s the densest neighborhood in the Northwest and it’s full of a lot of great public places and businesses. It can also be a bit confusing for outsiders (“Olive Way and Olive Street? Pike and Pine? Olive Way Becomes John Street? Bellevue, Bellevue, and Bellevue?”) and this is where the map comes in.

To the left is my preliminary design for a central Capitol Hill pedestrian map. The goal was to stay simple and I am hoping that the goal was achieved. I plan to share this map at the next CHCC Transportation Committee meeting to gain some feedback from others and hopefully improve upon the idea. From there, maybe a trial run somewhere? Maybe not a giant billboard, but pamphlets might be useful as well.

Here is to hoping that this idea could one day be a resource to another weary traveler or maybe just another Seattleite enjoying a night on the Hill.

Download the Open Alleyways Central Capitol Hill Pedestrian Map (PDF)