Kiosk Removal at 5th and Union

Today the kiosk at 5th and Union will be removed and the sidewalk restored. The removal of the kiosk will require a crane and in addition to obstructing pedestrian traffic, will also close two lanes of vehicle traffic. (View Larger Map)

This kiosk will be the third kiosk that has been removed of the five that were originally installed. These kiosks were installed from Pine to Seneca as part of a 1978 Fifth Avenue Improvement project. While originally well-intended, and probably an enhancement to the pedestrian experience at the time, the kiosks have not been used in a few years and are an obstruction to the pedestrian right of way.

Kiosk at 5th and Pine

Kiosk at 5th and Pine, before removal. Photo courtesy SDOT.

5th and Pine after Kiosk removal

5th and Pine after Kiosk removal. Photo courtesy SDOT.

The kiosks are privately owned by the adjacent property owners and this removal was requested by the Metropolitan Improvement District. According to SDOT, the MID “worked with the Department of Neighborhoods and the Seattle Department of Transportation to obtain the grant from the Neighborhood Projects Fund to pay for the removal.” These kiosks currently house an electrical box, so SDOT is involved to replace the existing electrical box with a less obtrusive structure. The MID hopes to have the remaining two kiosks removed over the next four years.


2 Responses to “Kiosk Removal at 5th and Union”

  • I gotta say, this strikes me as the opposite of a feel-good pedestrian story. While certainly a waste of space, I never saw and honestly can’t imagine most of these kiosks obstructing pedestrian traffic, considering the sidewalks along most of 5th are about 15 feet wide. I won’t say they shouldn’t’ve been removed, but I will definitely say that Neighborhood Projects Fund money shouldn’t’ve been used to remove them.

    That money could have been used to build a traffic circle, plant trees, repair a crumbling sidewalk, or improve a playground. Things that would’ve actually improved the livability and walkability of this city. Instead it was wasted on a project that will have little to no practical impact.

    I also can’t help but wonder why the owners of the kiosks couldn’t’ve paid for the removal all on their own, since most if not all the “adjacent property owners” are multimillion dollar corporations and property development firms. Maybe the MID has plans to plant trees, or install art and benches, or to have sidewalk vendors take up residence in the newly freed sidewalk space. But if all they’re doing is replacing a big green blob with a smaller grey box, well, it seems like a waste of far too precious funds.

  • I agree with Andreas. The kiosks were slightly out of scale with the pedestrian experience but replacing them with an ugly gray traffic signal cabinet doesn’t add anything positive to the neighborhood aesthetic. Why not use that money to add another all-way walk or better yet enhance the new all-way walks at First and Cherry / First and University.

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