Image from the Rainier Valley Post

[UPDATE: Opening has been delayed till April 8th, so don’t go down there this weekend.]

Bring cash and ride Link (or 8, 36, 39) on Saturday for the 10am grand opening of the Othello Public Market. Located adjacent to Othello Station at the NE corner of Othello and MLK, organizers promise that the year-round, indoor market will feature an extraordinarily diverse array of vendors.  A sampling of the vendors includes everything from silversmiths and soccer apparel to BBQ, exotic produce, and “European Hot Dogs.”  Now if only their website included Link on the Directions page.  Grr.

50 Replies to “Light Rail Excuse of the Week: Othello Public Market”

    1. Feel free to leave Seattle, preferably for some hick trailer trash locale with the third world in your front yard.

  1. I’m not going to get elated about this place, seeing that block change over the past three years leads me to believe this venture is going to become another swap meet place, at best.

      1. I dunno, looks like it has plenty of parking. Hopefully all the hide and ride Link traffic won’t choke off access for paying customers :=

      2. Actually, it looks like indoor markets in so-called ethnic neighborhoods in most major cities, which is exciting, not depressing. If the aguas frescas, chicharrones, and fresh fruits and veggies are any good those alone would make it a worthy destination—especially with Link making it such a convenient trip.

      3. When I can get frequent accessible transit connections from my neighborhood to Link, only then can you criticize my choice to drive to link instead of driving to a destination. The bus closest to me that gets me to Link comes about twice an hour and some hours (such as 11 am) just once an hour. The other buses nearby don’t connect with link until Mt. Baker station which is about 3/4 of the way downtown so why get off the bus at that point?

        And if you think I should walk the 1.2 miles up and down steep hills in the rain to the Link station, fuggetaboutit.

      4. My neighborhood fared worse in Martin’s proposal because the 39 is shortchanged. Other than that, I liked what it was trying to accomplish.

        As for where I live, lets just say it’s along the route 39 path in Seward Park. The 39 meets up with LInk at Othello or Columbia City but again, infrequent service especially mid-day. I would say, break up the 39 in to a series of circulators that run frequently and funnel traffic to Link.

      5. I think your neighborhood would be slightly better off. You’d have 30 minute headways from an extended 34 vs the 45 min you have with the current 39. Am I correct?

      6. 30 minute headways are not acceptable. I can drive to the train station in 4 minutes. I can be on a train and near my destination before the bus arrives near my home.

        15 minute headways might be acceptable. Even 20 minute provides more flexibility but is still not competitive time wise.

      7. Also, your suggestion of the 34 is also a non-starter because I’d have to travel to Rainier Beach Station at 30 minute headways when the closest station to me is Othello.

        Other than servicing the VA Hospital, there is really no reason to run the 39 downtown. It is better to turn it into a series of circulators that feed traffic to Link.

        But, I’ve heard that route planners don’t like circulators. Can anybody explain why?

      8. I don’t think the planners have anything against them, but I guarantee that every disabled vet and their crying children will show up at the hearings and say it was the end of the world if you did anything to the service to VAMC, including making people transfer in order to get better service. Look at what happened with the 42.

        The other issue is that they don’t save money, unless you can use them to eliminate a freeway running segment that generates no revenue, which isn’t the case in the RV. If you split Martin’s proposed 36, for example, you still end up having to serve the same corridors at the same headways, and just force people going from Ranier Beach to South Beacon Hill to transfer.

        You are right, though, that the part of the 39 west of the VAMC looks pointless. I think it only really exists to provide the part of Ranier between Alaska and Othello with a one-seat-ride to downtown. If we could get rid of that requirement, the obvious thing to do would be to terminate the proposed 39 at the VAMC, terminate the proposed 34 at Columbia City Station, and add a route to serve the tail of the 34 from Columbia City Station to Othello Station. The tail of the 34 south of Othello St seems pointless in this configuration.

      9. Actually, there are 2 supermarkets near Henderson and also to connect to buses going to Renton is why having the 34 might be useful — If they were frequent.

      10. “I don’t think the planners have anything against them, but I guarantee that every disabled vet and their crying children will show up at the hearings and say it was the end of the world if you did anything to the service to VAMC, including making people transfer in order to get better service. Look at what happened with the 42.”

        There is an easy solution, get a couple of pro-transit vets to go the various AL and VFW Posts, talk to their Commanders, see if you can get an Op-Ed in their newsletter, go to some meetings, talk to the people there.

        Vets aren’t stupid ya know (actually the military has more HS grads and those with ‘some college’ than the population as a whole) if you reach out and explain shit to them they can understand it.

  2. While we’re on this subject, I want to nominate a Link excuse of my own: Grocery Outlet in SODO. It finally gave me a reason to use Stadium Station, less than 10 minutes walk away. Between it and Uwajimaya, I’m a lot less annoyed at the lack of a big grocery store downtown.

    1. Grocery Outlet’s ok if you’re craving an slmost-expired $1 pint of Cherry Garcia. But for real shopping the cheapest groceries near downtown are the small produce and fish markets dotting the ID. Go to any of them and you’ll choke on your tongue next time you buy rice or produce at QFC, MM, or Safeway. If I lived downtown I’d hit up the ID every weekend. Dominic Holden just had a Stranger piece on some of those outlets.

      1. Oh yeah, I do most of my food shopping (except breads and cheese and other white-people-stuff) in the I.D., although the last box of mangoes I got at Viet Wah did not agree with my stomach. I like GO for cans of beans, giant boxes of oats and the like.

      2. Well, first of all, how big is your household that you buy a “box” of mangos. Leave anything on the shelf long enough it will disagree with the stomach. Second, having been in Viet Wah how do you know they were mangos? I can’t identify 90% of what they have. It’s a very cool store.

      3. Just me. I get through a lot of mangoes. They were fresh and tasty, only a couple of days from the store, still they turned my stomach upside-down each time I ate them.

  3. Also considering there is a complete dearth of shopping other than veg/fruit stands within walking distance or the few box grocery stores are long distances away from neighborhoods the RV has a long way to go. Markets like these are at least home grown.

    If you live in Rainier Vista, you have to travel to Othello to find a Grocery store. Or you could travel to Beacon Hill. I hope in all that TOD they find a way to put in useful stores like groceries, clothing, drug stores, phone stores, shoe stores. etc. etc. Oh and few/infrequent east/west buses to get you the Grocery stores on Rainier.

    Failing that, give me a direct express bus to South Center.

      1. @Othello, not Alaska. If you lived in Columbia City (e.g. @ Rainier Vista), where would you go to get your groceries that you didn’t have to take a car or ride the bus or train for miles to get there?

      2. “If you lived in Columbia City (e.g. @ Rainier Vista), where would you go to get your groceries that you didn’t have to take a car or ride the bus or train for miles to get there?”

        The QFC on McClellan? It’s only one Link station away. Not a distance most people would want to walk, but…

    1. Walking distance is a very relative term and mental attitude has a lot to do with it. 1.2 miles up steep terrain may seem like a lot to someone who isn’t used to it, but if you quit whining and just do it, it really isn’t that much, unless you’re carrying a heavy load or really in a hurry. Walking is also something where the more you do it, the easier it gets as your body gets better in shape.

      While a 20-25 minute walk may seem time-consuming compared to driving, remember that you’re getting good exercise and if it means you don’t need to spend 30 minutes a day on the treadmill at the gym anymore (plus however long it takes to drive there and back), you’re actually coming out ahead on time in the long run.

      If you’ve got a bike, yet another option available is to put your bike on the bus to go up the hill (when leaving home, you can time it and have a minimal wait) and let gravity take you and your bike back down on the way home. Thanks to the hill, riding your bike down should be just about as fast as driving, with almost no effort.

      Rain is also a solvable problem – with proper clothing, it’s really no big deal. If such clothing is unacceptable for work, solutions include carrying a change of clothes in a waterproof backpack or keeping extra dry clothes at work.

      Bottom line – for distances as short as 1.2 miles, there are lots of options available and one should not be too quick to assume that because one option (the bus) sucks, that the car is the only other option remaining.

      1. This is where your expectations of what the average person finds acceptable don’t match reality. I am here on this blog because I do like the goals of density and a modern and efficient transit system. But, our existing built space is not dense and it must be accommodated until it can be replaced. I also acknowledge that urban life is not for everybody.

        As long as cars provide convenience, they’re useful. The changes you are suggesting are considered by the average person to be a diminution of quality of life, not an improvement. Like I said, I can be at the station in 4 minutes in my car. The bus can too but I have to wait for it for 30-45 minutes to make a 4 minute vehicular trip. i’m willing to walk 1/4 to 1/2 mile on moderate terrain for example from 42nd to 50th on the Ave, I’m not willing to walk more than that or on steep hills on a regular basis. And those 30 minutes are mine and I choose to use them getting to my destination, not getting to the train so I can get to my destination.

        And you wonder why more people aren’t riding light rail?

      2. Speaking as someone who willingly walks the 2 miles to and from work rather than take the bus, expecting people to sacrifice 20 or 30 minutes of their time just to get to the train is ridiculous.

        It’s bad enough the our buses have 30 minute headways, and that we consider 15 minutes “frequent.”

      3. I must say I agree with Charles here. In a similar vein, I’ve butted heads with (young, fit) bike activists who insist that masses of people would start riding to work if only a heap of money were spent on bike lanes and trails. This is totally unrealistic and mostly illustrates their uncommon appetite for biking and exercise.

        I’ve argued elsewhere that mid-day bus service at less that 30 minutes is basically useless to most people, and that where it exists it should be abolished in favor of frequent one-way peak commuter service; 30 minute service itself is pretty marginal.

        I also think that in the long run, the city’s decision to prohibit permanent P&Rs in station areas will pay off by encouraging more density close to the light rail, which will in time allow us to justify putting more service hours into the RV and extend frequent service to the east. For now there are other areas of the city where the busses are overloaded that need the hours more.

  4. While this might be shameless self promotion, but any STBers in the Columbia City area should visit the Molly Moon’s ice cream truck, we’ll be parked across from Tutta Bella on Rainier most evenings in April. I’ll be working this (friday) evening 5-10 and if you mention the blog you will get something special.

    1. Thats cool. And a short 7 bus away… Or if I’m lazy, a short drive in the Prius.

      1. Ok STB’ers, customer endorsement. I just dropped by the Molly Moon truck in Columbia City and Tim — a super nice guy– fixed me up with a treat. If you live around here or just want a fun experience, check it out. Mention the blog tonight and he’ll fix you up.

  5. Really am curious, “microsloth”: do you think Seattle made a mistake saving Pike Place Market? People had serious First World plans for that real-estate- what was it, high-rise office buildings? Forty years later, look what’s happened: people throwing fish across a trillion dollars worth of real estate!

    Remembering outdoor market scenes overseas, I think it would be fantastic if that whole corner could fill up with stalls and booths, open most of the day and night. Same doubled, incidentally, for the mile of parking lot between Tukwila and the Somali shopping center across 99- would make a certain station a lot more comfortable after dark.

    First thing a society needs in order to really class as “Third World” is a ruling elite who despise, hate, and fear their fellow countrymen who get their hands dirty for a living. Especially the kind of people, usually women, who operate the outdoor markets that provide about a hundred thousand percent of the real capitalist enterprise in such places.

    So if you don’t like Othello Public Market, take a hint from the people who run the Third World and stay on the train to the airport and go shopping in Switzerland. LINK’s got TOD for everybody.

    Mark Dublin

      1. And our very own PCC (Puget Consumers Co-op) Natural Markets is the largest consumer-owned food co-op in the United States. It’d be awesome if they had a store near a Link station. How about taking over the former Grocery Outlet next to Mount Baker station? The closest PCC is in the Seward Park neighborhood along the 39, not very accessible by transit.

      2. Yeah, well PCC has a store out on Avondale (I think that replaced the one in Kirkland). When we lived out near Cottage Lake I was in there once. I think we were trying to buy something resembling a nutritious meal for our son prior to a soccer match. We probably would have done better to hit the mini-market at the Shell station across the street. REI used to be a cool place; back when they had a store in DT Seattle that sold pack cloth off the roll. Now they’re what Eddie Bauer used to be and Eddie Bauer has become the equivalent of a useless east coast brand name.

      3. Oran, unless something has changed recently, that old Grocery Outlet is going to be a community center. (Ethiopian, I think.)

      4. I’d go to the Seward Park PCC more often if I didn’t have to wait up to a half hour for the 39. The same goes for Seward Park.

    1. “First thing a society needs in order to really class as “Third World” is a ruling elite who despise, hate, and fear their fellow countrymen who get their hands dirty for a living.” Mark, Not defending “microsloth” at all but you do realize you are describing what is happening in our own country, right? Read, Republican attack on public employee unions, etc. Just sayin’.

    1. OT reply of the week… I submitted a comment to that project pointing out that Metro’s stop data has the locations of the stops on the 36 & the 60 near 12th and Weller incorrect. The northbound stop is just south of Weller, as is the southbound stop, but Google maps and OneBusAway both get these stops wrong. They show the northbound stop as north of Weller and the southbound stop as significantly south of weller (as in, on the bridge). Seems like something they might care about.

  6. According to the Othello Market website, opening day is actually April 8. It’s been postponed, I guess. So don’t go down there today!

  7. Yes, a toast to stop consolidation on route #36!

    Also, as a resident of the Othello neighborhood, I’m perplexed and concerned about the underage raves occurring at the Citadel. There has been issues/problems in the neighborhood, i.e. at the Safeway across the street with increased shoplifting and “activity” in the restrooms I’m told by some checkers at the store. For underage events, isn’t there some kind of monitoring or chaperones for these events? These types of issues amongst others recently in the news re: Safeway supports having some type of police presence at the store. The unarmed security guards do not seem adequate now.

    1. John, you’re a very negative person. I bet you’re not very fun to be around.

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