Search This Blog

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shoreline's Town Center and the "Red Brick Road"

The "Town Center" Planning Process

Inquiring minds want to know; Why is the City featuring a design on their website and two 
out of three options for a "Town Center" Park which have the Red Brick Road dismantled?
The Red Brick Road (North Trunk Road) is eligible for listing on the National Historic Register.
So we are asking those who care about our heritage to consider carefully how we plan our town center
and how we integrate this historic element into our concept of ourselves.

Shoreline's Original North Trunk Road
aka Ronald Place
So, what's the big deal about this "Red Brick Road" anyway?
Ronald Place "South section" runs past the
soon to be rebuilt Aurora Rents and Skyline Windows
Shoreline is now undertaking a big planning process for our central area, termed the "Town Center" Planning Process. The "Red Brick Road", known officially as the North Trunk Road or Ronald Place runs North/South from below 175th and continues North through the "Interurban Park". It continues invisibly under Aurora Ave and on up Firlands Drive North-west of 185th N. 

It was built as a part of the original Highway 99. Judge JT Ronald, a Shoreline pioneer (former Mayor of Seattle) worked with developers at that time to bring the highway north as automobile travel became popular. His family's cottage was actually located right at the intersection of N 175th and the center of Aurora.  The story goes that he personally went out and dug the road himself to direct it around his home.

The City's own report dated 8/7/2007, "Cultural Resources Assessment for the Aurora Avenue North Multimodal Corridor Project: N 165th - N 205th St, City of Shoreline, WA" Glen D. Harman, Principal Investigator states; 
"The remnants of the North Trunk (Brick) Road on Ronald Place North, thus, are eligible for inclusion in the National Register under crtierion A due to its association with the region's commercial and residential development during the teens and 1920's. During this era development had become more auto-oriented, and centered along major arterials such as the North Trunk Road. In Shoreline, growth spread along the Interurban rail line and the expanding road network centered along the North Trunk Road. While a section of the brick road north of 175th was recently demolished for commercial development, the remaining segments of the Brick Road have retained integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association. These segments are the only surviving examples of the North Trunk (Brick) Road, and one of the few brick roads left in King and Snohomish Counties.

But here is the way this precious piece of our history is currently being treated. 
Junk storage!

The City is now conducting a process, asking citizens to contribute their opinions about how to 
design our Town Center area (located between 173rd-189th and between Linden and Stone), which is 
scheduled for a "Rezone".  Also up for consideration is the "Town Center Park" which is now known as the Interurban Park between Midvale Ave N and Aurora.

These are crucial design processes which will make a huge difference on the character of our City as we move forward in the 21st Century.   

If you would like to contribute and let your voice be heard follow this link.
Next Thursday there is an important Planning Commission meeting to discuss these issues.
It will be held at 7pm at City Hall.

It is up to the citizens to oversee and watchdog this process. Otherwise it will be the OUTSIDE consultants who make the crucial decisions about OUR City. Our future and our history!


  1. What this article fails to clearly detail is the importance of leaving the bricks of the Red Brick Road wholly undisturbed. Once the bricks are "lifted" or unseated from their original placement for any reason they lose their status as a future historical landmark.

    The idea of lifting them to "grade" is where the problem lies. There has to be a better way. I suggest the City require the design proposals to maintain the historical grade of and the landmark-able status of this last existing section of Shoreline's history.

    I would like to see it become the "foundation" of the proposed historical walk with a "Visitor Center" located adjacent to it. What a great way to begin the proposed Historical Walk.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    I thought my angle of support for the RBR's integrity was clear in my article. If there is any doubt, let the record show that I support your thoughts completely and believe that the City has an obligation to leave the bricks in place and furthermore, they should "enhance them" with interpretive displays.

    Moreover, I support your idea for an "interpretive center" on the City owned property to the West of the RBR. 'As the City planning page states, this should be a "signature park", and that signature IS our historic footprint, the Red Brick Road.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Good luck with your effortss to save the Red Brick Road...what;s left of it! I used to live on Firlands Way at 195th...and tried many years ago (before Heritage Regulations) to save that Red Brick no avail. (The school district said it was too dangerous for
    school buses to travel on it!!) With what has happened to the Shoreline Historical Museum, I
    do not think enough people in Shoreline care
    about "heritage."