Neighborhood pedestrian malls

A few months ago, city councilmember Sally Clark suggested opening up Pike and Pine Streets to people on foot. It doesn’t sound like that was the best location to have people filling the streets, so she is now looking at other neighborhoods for a temporary pedestrian mall.

University Avenue, “The Ave” is busy at night, but many shops close early. What if The Ave was from time-to-time closed to traffic to become a pedestrian mall? It is something Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark thinks is worth a try.

She is not talking about streets fair or markets, just a chance for people to stroll the street and window shop and hopefully spend some money.

Of course with any new idea there are people who say that it won’t work. But this isn’t a totally new idea, the Summer Streets events are similar and have been very successful at getting people to come out and enjoy their streets, rather than just driving on them.

The Ave seems like the perfect street to be made car-free as it’s relatively narrow with many street-facing businesses. Traffic can be easily reroute to any parallel street and buses routes can default to the same alternate routes that are in place during the U District Street Fair.

Broadway Ave seems like another good candidate, though it is wider and carries more cars. Same with 45th St in Wallingford. Where else in the city could be a good place for a pedestrian mall?


2 Responses to “Neighborhood pedestrian malls”

  • The Ave- the worry there is whether or not the Ave rats would take over. There’s a BID in place and they’ve employed additional security for the Ave in past, but I don’t know how the budgets are looking lately. Still, worth trying out, Andy Shiga would have (and might have been ahead of you already) approved.
    45th in Wallingford? Good luck. 45th is a slow moving parking lot more often than not, the businesses would hate the idea and the residents would likely oppose it. The first neighborhood parking district was created in Wallingford because the Guild 45th had scrub of hits that brought in extra traffic and parking, in a nabe full of activists. This street would be ideal for azstreetcar, though.
    A few of the side streets in Fremont would seem like good candidates for this notion. Ballard, too.

  • I can’t imagine the city closing down 45th in Wallingford even for the shortest amount of time, although I wouldn’t mind that happening. I’ve never experienced 45th to be a “slow moving parking lot”, just the opposite, I find cars zipping through the area, nearly hitting pedestrians and cyclists.

    “the Ave rats would take over”. I don’t really know what that is supposed to mean. Many Ave rat types now camp out all day and night at Westlake park. Other parts of the Ave have the typical drug selling that goes up and down, depending on how much focus the SPD is putting onto the area. I really don’t see how these people would “take over”. What do you envision?

    Closing the Ave between 41st and 50th (or maybe just 42st and 47th) either during evenings or on weekends would be great to see. If that seems too bold, then close it for just a few times as an experiment. Although it will be hard to gauge any success when there is just sporadic closings of it.

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