Tag Archive for 'closed streets'

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?


Putting peds on Pike/Pine

A couple months ago Sally Clark brought up the idea of closing Pike and Pine streets to vehicle traffic in the evenings to make for a more exciting and pedestrian-oriented nightlife environment.

There’s been some discussion of this at Capitol Hill Seattle. Sounds good for nightlife, possibly not so good for residents who live nearby, and maybe good for pedestrians, or maybe not.

Dan Bertolet says that removing cars from Pike St isn’t worth it:

One of the likely targets is Pike Street between Broadway and 12th, but the thing is that strip works just fine with cars in it. The striped crosswalks are fairly well respected by drivers. Because there is so much activity around the street, car speeds tend to be relatively slow. Cars and pedestrians and bikes all coexist to create a healthy urban street energy.

If the cars were removed, however, the space would be much too big, and all that energy would lose its punch because it would become too unfocused and diffuse. Pike is a wide street—about 80 feet from building face to building face—and that’s a formidable swath of empty pavement (check out the photo at the top).

I’m not sure if this idea will go anywhere, or if it should. The sidewalks are a little narrow along Pike, so having a whole street to walk in seems like it would be nice. And there’s not really a need to keep the road open for vehicular flow. There are some logistical issues that would need to be figured out, such as paying for additional clean-up. It does seem like it would be good for pedestrians, though, even if it’s not the most ideal pedestrian mall. The comments to the linked articles above have some more thoughts – most of them seem to be in opposition to this idea.