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What will it be like to stroll along downtown Seattle’s waterfront in, say, 2017 or 2019?

A 14-foot-long scale model of the 26-block stretch along Elliott Bay — on display at Seattle’s Central Library — offers some hints.

There’ll be an airy, plazalike “Overlook Walk” below Pike Place Market. Between Lenora and Bell streets, crisscrossing roadways and staircases will lead to two pocket parks: Belltown Bluff and Blanchard Street Overlook. And an actual beach with pebbles and sand is planned for a one-block stretch just south of Colman Dock.

The model is a teaser, showing the layout without giving much detail. Buildings are stark white ghosts of themselves. Even the marine traffic — ferries, cruise ships, the Victoria Clipper — is represented with bland vessel-shaped “footprints.” (Gee, couldn’t someone have sprung for a few model ships to add some color?)

But what’s there is an eye-catcher. Last week, library patrons kept being sidetracked by the model, drawn into the fantasy of what a waterfront boulevard will be like with no noisy viaduct looming over it. You can find out more at The model stays on display through Jan. 3, 2013, on Level 3 of the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free (206-386-4636 or

Michael Upchurch: