How did those cars get there? And look at those shadows!! How could anyone live in such an anti-urbanist hellhole?!?!
What are those cars doing there?! And look at those shadows!! How could anyone live in such an anti-urbanist hellhole?! Image from

Maybe I just hang out with the wrong kind of riffraff, but it seems every couple of months I find myself in a conversation about whether or not automobiles should be allowed on Pike Place. Once and (likely not) for all I’ll respond.

Cars belong on Pike Place.

Yes, I said it. I don’t think we should ban automobiles from Pike Place.

Saturday my family and I joined some friends downtown for an aquarium visit. Walking through the market with my stroller, I of course used the street, the sidewalks being too crowded. Hundreds of people were doing the same. Cars, bikes, strollers, people, all jumbled together but surprisingly no mass casualty situation emerged.

Judging by the ‘WTF?!? How the hell do I get out of here!?!’ expression of most drivers I made eye contact with, many did not mean to be there and wished they were anywhere else. However, there are legitimate reasons for driving on Pike Place. Maybe you are dropping off someone with mobility issues, or you’ve got a dinner party and don’t want to haul 2 cases of wine from Pike and Western Wine Shop up the hill and back home on Link, or maybe you even work for a business in the market (yes it’s not just a tourist photo op, but an actual market) that needs a delivery.

As long as automobile drivers recognize the priority of non-motorized users (which they obviously do in Pike Place), what is gained by banning automobiles? The only change I would make to Pike Place would be to either lower the sidewalks or raise the street. In Seattle’s only real woonerf* it would be nice if the street engineering matched the usage. Aside from that, leave it alone, why fix what isn’t broken?

*when people ask me what a woonerf is, I say ‘Pike Place’ and they instantly get it. Seriously. Not an exaggeration. How else would you describe the concept to a Seattleite?

192 Replies to “Pike Place is for everyone, including those in cars”

    1. However, though I have no idea if the sidewalk heights date to the Market’s 1907 founding or to the 1970s rehabilitation, I would tend to argue for leaving them as is.

      This would be the “if it ain’t broke” principle of urban design.

      1. And the Seattle Wheel Reinventors Society rears its ugly head yet again.

  1. I totally agree! The only time I’ve driven to Pike Place was to pick up 100’s of flowers for our wedding. We never could have gotten them home on the bus or our bikes, but would never drive without a really good reason. If we couldn’t drive down and pick up the flowers though, we probably wouldn’t have been able to do them ourselves or get them from the market.

    1. Literally the exact same argument people use for protecting their on street parking rather than allowing bus or bike lanes. You said it yourself – it was a once in a lifetime thing. So once you could experience a bit of inconvenience and use a dolly (vendors likely have them to move their own stuff) to move your goods to your vehicle.

      1. Anton, I agree that it’s the same argument, but the use of space in the desired outcomes is different.

        When people use this argument for parking spots, it’s not ok because the desired result is for space to be dedicated for the use of cars. When cars share a space that is clearly pedestrian-dominated (the ones that honk at you to move are being rude), it’s …kind of amusing but also keeps it from being a mall. (ever get annoyed at gaggles of people walking slowly four-abreast on Pine? That’s mall-training!)

        To Jason downstream: cars in a car-dominant, car-prioritized space make pedestrians uncomfortable. In fact, put me on a Bellevue block and take away all the cars, and I’m still uncomfortable, because all the blocks look like fortresses and I don’t know where the drawbridge is. Pike Place is different — it is designed for pedestrians, and cars blend in fine.

  2. I guess the big question is how do we make more pike place streets.

    A good place to start might be to look at places like the Ave.

    Iconic, busy, and full of dense retail…

    How do we make a woonerf out of what we have now?

    1. First let’s find a better word than “woonerf” to describe the concept so that people who aren’t city planning nerds can have reasonable discussions about it.

  3. Agreed too. The slow-moving cars add to the vibrant streetscape and are rather amusing to watch from the rare pedestrian-dominate point-of-view. Removing them would create a strange hole and remove some of the energy from the Market.

    On that note, lunch at the Market sounds like a good idea.

    1. Given their druthers, Washingtonians tend to stand around in herds lollygagging.

      Perhaps the cars are beneficial for moving them forward, like cow catchers.

  4. I have to disagree, and I think it’s honestly quite lazy to argue that you can’t walk a block (or less) to load your personal vehicle. I shop at Pike and Western and pick up my cases by looping down Lenora from 1st and turning up Virginia and parking in the loading zone for a minute. Easy peasy. Michael will even run the cases out to your car for you. You can do the same for flowers, bread, whatever you like. There are nearby parking garages for those who work in the market because the street parking doesn’t serve them anyway.

    The benefit to closing the street to traffic (save for delivery vehicles, etc. during non-peak hours) is that it would create a nicer pedestrian environment. Many people aren’t comfortable walking in the street along with car traffic. I use the market daily and lots of vehicle drive down the street too fast, almost pushing through the people and bikes trying the use the street because the sidewalks are inadequate. More importantly, cars already have too much space in this city, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting them removed from a single two-block stretch of pavement.

    1. I agree with Jason. When I walk in the street at Pike Place Market, I always feel like an angry driver is just seconds from mowing me down. I’ve been honked at many times. It is very unpleasant, and I spend less time in Pike Place Market as a result. Very few of the cars driving down the street have any legitimate reason to be scaring everyone else onto tiny, overcrowded sidewalks. For those that do have a good reason, they can get a hall pass or something. That would be very few cars and trucks.

      Oh, and did this community learn nothing from Cascade Bicycle Club’s and Sightline Institute’s very astute conclusion about how you don’t get community support when you talk like a wonk? Let’s dump the word “woonerf” faster than an angry and insensitive tourist from California can honk at you for walking in the street at Pike Place Market.

      1. I don’t know. Wasn’t Woonerf a Klingon- or was that Worff? Anyhow, I think Klingons would’ve had more lively markets than, say Vulcans- no disrespect to the late Leonard Nimoy.

        Fear that a Vulcan market would look pretty much like the Adobe complex that introduced something really ugly and boring to ruin the view of Lake Washington with the SR99 bridge from Fremont.

        But pretty sure that the market for sub-prime mortgages was definitely Ferengi. And unfortunately, warp space means that terms like “was” are meaningless.


  5. I agree. But I also have a solution if we want to save those poor lost drivers some headache. How most European countries I’ve visited handles the *some cars* issue is retractable bollards. Basically, motorized bollards that retract down into the street when someone types in a code or swipes an access card at a reader. It allows only delivery vehicles or those that need access into the pedestrian zone.

    That said, that adds cost, complexity, and a little hazard (for a driver that follows a delivery vehicles and doesn’t read signs), when doing nothing works fine as well.

    1. I think that is overkill for this situation, especially since it perfectly legal right now for any car to drive down there. If you want to ban regular cars (and I do) then just ban them. That changes the maps, the GPS and the street sign. Just put “authorized vehicles only” on all the street signs (or in some cases, no [left|right] turn expect authorized vehicles) and live with the occasional person who doesn’t read the sign.

    2. They tried that when they first built the Westlake Mall.

      For a time they did intermittent closures on Pine. Then at one point someone decided to permanently close off traffic.

      All hell broke loose (in terms of popular complaints). They soon reopened it, permanently.

      1. Wow. Does John just likes to make things up?

        First, creating a pedestrian mall on Pine was something that had been proposed many times since the 60s, and actually became a reality after the construction of the DSTT and Westlake Mall. It wasn’t just someone’s whim.

        Second, no hell broke loose over the more than FIVE years Pine Street was continuously closed to cars, from 1990 onward. The only popular complaint was from Nordstrom, which blackmailed the city into opening Pine Street for cars again. Nordstrom offered to renovate the vacant Fredrick & Nelson space and to partner to build Pacific Place after F&N closed, but only on the condition that Pine was open to cars.

        Third, Pine Street from Fourth to Fifth is not at all a fair comparison to Pike Place. The only people who drive on Pike Place seem to be lost tourists looking for parking. If Pike Place was closed to cars tomorrow and became a pedestrian plaza (with delivery truck access), no hell would break loose, and I don’t think many would complain. Most people would think it would be much, much better.

    3. They have those at the Seattle Center, but the difference is that Pike Place is a street while the Seattle Center only allows cars in for setup/teardown at events or for deliveries to the various business within the grounds.

  6. I agree that cars should be allowed down Pike Place. I just think that parking should be restricted to commercial loading/passenger loading/handicapped. I also think there should be some sort of warning for drivers that they are about to enter SOV hell. Local access only signs? Pedestrian zone signs? Something like that.

    1. I agree. I would go further (as I explain below) but making it “local access only” (or something like that) might keep people from driving down the street (especially if the maps and GPS are updated as a result). Right now it looks just like a regular street until you start driving on it (I don’t blame the folks from out of town one bit for trying to go down there).

    2. The cars are usually benign but we could do with fewer of them. It doesn’t benefit anyone to have a bunch of cars trapped on Pike Place barely moving. Pedestrians have to be cautious and I’d bet 99% of drivers wish they had taken a different route. From what I can tell, many drivers are trying to get to the waterfront and have no desire to be next to the market.

      There’s apparently (from a cursory Google Street View investigation) “Yield to Pedestrians” signs on Pike Place at the foot of Pine Street, where Pike Street meets Pike Place, and WB Stewart as you go down the hill towards Pike Place. I never noticed those before while walking around.

      “Local Access Only” or “Not a Thru Street” (which might not be technically accurate, since it does go through, just not efficiently) signs at the access points to Pike Place at 1st/Stewart, 1st/Pine, and 1st/Pike might encourage some drivers to take a different path.

    3. I think the cobblestones (or bricks) make this clear to most drivers. When you’re turning onto a street with cobblestones you should know you’re in for a slow drive.

      1. By then it is too late. Really — you have the turn signal on, wait until the cars or pedestrians pass, then “Wait a second — cobblestones! This is weird. Oh well, keep going I guess”.

  7. Judging by the ‘WTF?!? How the hell do I get out of here!?!’ expression of most drivers I made eye contact with, many did not mean to be there and wished they were anywhere else.

    Exactly. That is your counter-argument. Let’s say I’m in a car on First and Union, and have no experience with Seattle. I call up Google Maps and ask for directions ( Next thing you now I have that look on my face. No cab driver would drive that way, but many an unsuspecting tourist does. This is via Google Maps, which in general is a lot better than your typical GPS, and better than your average guy who knows how to read a map. Generally speaking, there is nothing to designate this street as “special”, or a woonerf. It just shows up a street, then the drivers wonder why everyone is walking down the middle of it, and why it will take ten minutes to get to the other side. The street signs don’t say a thing. Everything looks normal, until you make that turn and wonder WTF happened. How is that good for anyone?

    A much more appropriate change is to basically make this “Authorized Vehicles Only”. Include the disabled within the authorization. But that will keep the folks who are lost out of there or even the cab driver who figures he will get a better tip if he drives the couple “right into the market”. The area is essentially a park, and should be treated that way.

  8. Good points everyone. Also, speaking as a former vendor who had meeting with the PDA about this, the vendors absolutely do NOT want the cars to go away. For several good reasons.
    1) it makes recieving deliveries much harder.
    2) It makes large orders harder to fufill
    and this is a big one…
    3) festival days reduced sales volumes (days w/o cars)

    #3 is because the carnival barker sales used in the market rely on proximity to people. The inside hallway of the market is small for that reason, and the cars effectively create a narrow pedestrian space on the outside too. When people can just walk through the market, taking it in, but not actually close enough to sell to…. well lets just say that if that happened all day every day the market would die off. The only way IMHO to close the street to vehicle traffic and still have good sales would be to tear up the street and make it much narrower by adding new stalls where the parking (+5ft) is now.

    1. Right, but the first two problems can be solved by simply saying “Authorized Vehicles Only”. I can’t drive through the park, but the park official sure can. Give all the venders a sticker. Give them authorization for a dozen customers. Just ignore enforcing the issue, because it really isn’t the issue. The problem is that some people use it a short cut, and others don’t know that it is special (a woonerf) since there is absolutely no designation (on maps, GPS, or street signs) saying it is. The only thing the cops would ever enforce is parking. You might get the occasional bozo who knows there is nothing stopping him from driving through there, but as I said (as Matt said) most of the people who drive there are there by mistake.

      The third problem is real, but may just be the problem with festivals. On a typical day, the folks that walk through the market are there to see the market (or they are regulars, who are cutting through). But on a festival day, a lot of people are on their way to see something else, and won’t necessarily stop and buy flowers or apples even if they are forced to smell them.

      1. I hear you, and agree on points 1 and 2. But your phrasing of the answer to point 3 is exactly the problem with point 3.
        “On a typical day, the folks that walk through the market are there to see the market (or they are regulars, who are cutting through)”

        They are there to see the market, not to actually buy the 6 apples or flowers or whatever I am trying to sell. If they can just use the street as a promenade and take it in, they will. And the vendors make no money. The “cutting through” people also arent there to shop really. They are just on their way to someplace.

      2. I disagree. The folks that are in a hurry to go through just walk the street anyway. The folks that are browsing browse. If you walk through the middle of the street (whether there are cars there are not) you really aren’t “seeing the market”. You are simply cutting through. It isn’t like Times Square (or anywhere in New York) — the architecture isn’t special and the park (at the other end) is hardly a big destination. the only thing that makes is special are the stalls themselves. I think it is quite possible that the vendors who hate festival days hate it for the wrong reason. I can think of several reasons why it would screw with sales (the regulars avoid it because it is too crowded, etc.).

        If anything, giving folks an enhanced walking experience might make it better for everyone. The people who just want to get to the other end, and are otherwise afraid to walk through the street now walk through the street. The folks that are there to see the market would simply do a loop (which is what I do every time I visit). Then you have the fact that some people would simply consider the whole experience more enjoyable.

        Just to be clear, a long time ago I would vote against such a change. The market wasn’t always bustling. When you don’t have enough people, the last thing you want is an empty street. But there is plenty of pedestrian traffic there (and on streets nearby) to benefit everyone with a change like this.

      3. Respectfully, you’re wrong about this, and I say that as someone who worked there for 6 years and worked with the PDA on this issue. They had some pretty great data collection that showed that during festivals, more people came to the market, but fewer people went inside and bought stuff. The market does festival stuff because it is good for the brand, not because they are more lucrative.

        Pedestrian traffic only matters if they are close enough to sell to. when there aren’t cars, people walk too close to sell to. vendors need the cars to scare-em close enough to sell to. You COULD get rid of the cars, but you would have to tighten up the street space to prevent it from being a promenade.

      4. Jon, are you really arguing that we should keep cars on Pike Pl to scare pedestrians closer to the hawker stalls? Or to continue to make the pedestrian experience outside unpleasant enough that patrons move inside the market buildings to shop? If so, I’m not really sure how to respond, except to say that I hope no one else agrees with this perverse logic.

      5. @Jason
        Yes that is exactly what I am saying. The only other option is to build out more stalls and tighten up the street scape.
        Pike Place is a weird place retail wise. People don’t go there to destination shop, they go there to see the “place”. Most folks are perfectly happy to see the “place” without spending a dime, and it is the job of the businesses there to convince them otherwise. That’s a doable job if the guy is 6 feet from you, but not if he is 24 ft from you. Making it harder for the vendors to get customers is not good for the market as a living breathing market. Most of the businesses there are on small margins, and would have a tough time absorbing a systematic decrease in sales. If people just walk by, the market will die off, and soon there wont be much to look at.
        My logic isn’t perverse, it just comes from the perspective that ensuring the business health of the market is more important than being able to walk down a wide street without getting honked at.

      6. He’s arguing against perversely trying to fix what isn’t broken.

        I’m frankly appalled that so many people refuse to learn a century’s worth of lessons about the unintended consequences of overdesigned, overregimented, and oversterilized civic spaces.

      7. Why not focus on doing a better job attracting customers instead of relying upon the fear of being run over by tourists? Why not remove the cars and add more vendor space, especially since there’s already a long waiting list for new vendors? And honestly, most of the vendors at the market sell pretty inferior stuff, and I think that’s a big part of the reason why their revenues aren’t better. The ambiance is interesting in a decrepit sort of way, but people don’t go there to shop very often because higher quality products are available elsewhere in nicer surroundings.

        As Anton pointed out, the cars create an uncomfortable atmosphere for a lot of us, and they already have access to the rest of the streets downtown, so why not give this space to pedestrians? (I honestly can’t believe it’s even necessary to have this argument on this website, but here we are.) Doing that would revolutionize the market, and I’m positive that pedestrian traffic would increase. The current conditions provide absolutely nowhere to linger, chat, have some coffee, etc. They require you to hurry along on crowded sidewalks and get out of everyone else’s way. That unnecessary sense of discomfort and urgency is a big part of what keeps people moving and keeps sales down.

      8. So you’re basically saying that you enjoy neither the Market’s haphazard architecture nor its products, and that you don’t especially find it a worthwhile place to visit or give your custom…

        And yet it should be thoroughly revised to appeal to your particular 20th-century-addled desire for sterility and absolute spatial-use separation, on the off chance that you should then decide to grace the place with your presence?

      9. @Jason
        Sales arent down in the Market. Sales are fine, but margins are still small. Its like that for nearly any mom and pop retail. Its just that sales go down when the street is closed to cars, for reasons Ive been harping on. And thats not a good thing.

        Adding more vendor space is a great idea IMO. The hurdle would be getting approval from the historical society, which I believe to be impossible. Changing anything physical in the market is a nightmare. Those folks once told the owner of Shy Giant that she couldnt repaint her sandwich board, because it was “historical”. Keep in mind that she was the one who painted it originally!
        But closing the street to cars and not tightening up the space decreases sales. It might increase pedestrian traffic, but the market is not a traffic problem. It is a market. It needs to sell things to people to stay open.

      10. @d.p.

        I go to the market at least five days per week, as I made clear earlier, so please spare me the rant. I like the architecture, and love some of the vendors, but most are absolutely forgettable and are selling junk, both edible and otherwise. And what is the world does “20th-century-addled” mean?

      11. @ Jason
        “Why not focus on doing a better job attracting customers instead of relying upon the fear of being run over by tourists?”

        Trying to sell thinks directly to people nearby is how the vendors attract customers. They dont have ad budgets. If the people are too far away to sell to, they cant be sold to. The vendors aren’t “relying on fear”, they are relying on NEARNESS

      12. “Pedestrians over here (behind bollards), vehicles over there (in 14-foot LOS-A-graded lanes, and oh no I would never jaywalk (clutches pearls)” is precisely the 20th-century mindset that destroyed western cities.

      13. Sorry d.p., but I’m pretty sure creating pedestrian-friendly zones in dense urban areas isn’t what destroyed 20th-century cities.

      14. The desperate 1960s urban-renewal version of that trend was — and in a surprising number of proposals, remains — part and parcel of the code-reinforced ultra-separation of spatial uses that is 100% responsible for the terribleness of younger cities.

      15. >> They had some pretty great data collection that showed that during festivals, more people came to the market, but fewer people went inside and bought stuff.

        I’m not disputing that. I’m disputing the idea that this was only because of the lack of car traffic. As I said, off the top of my head I can think of several different reason (“Hey, want to stop by the market and grab some food? No way man, the festival is going on — I don’t deal with that mess”).

        As for putting up signs that say “Authorized Vehicles Only” somehow destroying the intrinsic character of the place? Don’t be ridiculous. As the author (the one defending the idea said) many (if not most) people are simply lost. They have no freakin’ idea that the street is so hard to drive through. Google doesn’t say otherwise. Garmin doesn’t say otherwise. Your map doesn’t say otherwise. So why wouldn’t you drive through there?

        Meanwhile, a sign like that wouldn’t discourage the vendors or customers. If that is too vague, how about “Customers and Vendors Only”. Even that would be a huge improvement, and probably legally enforceable. Some bozo drives through and gets a ticket (or a warning if he is from out of town). You could cut down on 90% of the car traffic through there, and still keep the vitality of the street.

      16. Roughly 200 North American cities have seen their pedestrian malls fail.

        With about 10 exceptions, the ones that remain should go away too: Ottawa’s remaining mall is a notoriously vacuous-feeling drain on it’s remaining retail presences.

        Boston’s Downtown crossing, which sees so many commuters that it makes 3rd & Pine look like North Dakota, nevertheless turns into an abandoned shitshow after hours or on weekends, and is broadly avoided by the populace even on days when Tremont Street — one block away and with cars and urban cacophony — is teeming with pedestrian life. Never mind Newbury Street a mile away, still the jewel in the city’s retail crown and with a walker-to-car ratio of about 100:1, despite never having disallowed the latter.

        Pike Place is not broken. You can only do it harm by trying to significantly realign its bustle and balance.

      17. Hahahahahahaha.

        At the height of the craze, U.S. cities installed just over 200 of them.

        Fewer than 70 remain.

        Fewer than a dozen of those are considered “healthy” environments — proportionally high pedestrian activity, healthy business environments.

        Of those, precisely one is not in a college town with a captive audience. And even that one (Santa Monica) has had some trouble sustaining itself over the years.

        Oh, and I’m a native Bostonian. Pedestrianized Downtown Crossing is about the only totally dead zone to be found in that city after 6pm.

        So yeah, it’s safe to say I’m not the one opining from ignorance here.

      18. d.p.

        Agree, pedestrian malls are typically huge disasters. The handful of exceptions I can think of are more narrow alleys and only a block or two long. (See the pedestrian only part of Post Alley)

        Not sure closing Pike Place to traffic would create the problems of pedestrian malls, but outside of peak hours/days in the summer I’m not sure you’d have enough pedestrians or enough vendors willing to have outside booths to keep it working.

        Also commercial access in the morning and at close is important. All those things in the shops and the stalls need to get in and out somehow.

    2. Replying here since there’s the “most pedestrian streets are failures” comment. Absolutely true if there aren’t true cross-streets every block like Boulder, CO and Burlington, VT. Pike Place is essentially a cul-de-sac, and I think prohibiting cars would not be a net positive.

      The Seattle street that needs some more traffic to add vibrancy and make it less of a walled-garden is 2nd Ave N through Seattle Center… it’s so utterly dead as a pedestrian mall, except for during events. I believe that the 95% of the time it’s not vibrant, cars there would be a net benefit for making it a more vibrant & multipurpose space… vs totally dead.

      1. The thing with Seattle Center is that there aren’t any destinations open most of the day. 2nd Ave N within Seattle Center is flanked by two park lawns (one with a fountain), Key Arena, the back side of one theatre, and the front side of another.

        People in Seattle don’t know the difference between commercial streets and parks (see the utter confusion of Bell Street “Park”). They are different things. RossB says that Pike Place is basically a park. Pike Place is emphatically not a park, it is a commercial street! You want to treat Seattle Center like a commercial street. It is not a commercial street, it is a park! Car traffic through it would add hardly more all-day life than it does at Volunteer Park! Or than it does on the destination-less street on the other side of Key Arena! If you want to see more all-day life there you’ll have to start with other uses for some of Seattle Center’s sparingly used buildings. Of course, if it’s businesses, they’ll have to be able to survive the Center’s seasonal ebbs and flows and festival schedule.

      2. Al, I more or less agree, but it’s a park stranded in a moat of commercial/event space and isolated from the anyone except those people who have already decided to go to Seattle Center. I tend to believe the *park* would get more use the times when tourists are not around in droves if it were more accessible, and that includes cars for dropoff/pickup from 1 lane 1-way southbound on the 2nd Ave N alignment. I used to bike through there frequently and it was distressing how dead it was. There are parts of Woodland Park (W Greenlake W) Discovery Park (West Point Light House) and Seward Park that do not suffer from having some limited roads open to cars within their bounds… those roads make them accessible to more people at more times.

        I know it’s never going to happen, but I do think the space is devoid of people most the year because the car prohibition in the Center megablock went too far, so I find it related to car prohibitions elsewhere as it’s one that went too far. You make the space enough like a park, and it turns into a museum and not a city. Seattle Center is just too moated. A Woonerf on 2nd Ave N and some additional work to make Thomas St a clearer bike&pedestrian thruway would help to reintegrate it with the surrounding city and make it less of a walled garden.

      3. Seward Park has roads far enough to reach its parking lots. Discovery Park has roads to park parking as well as various utilitarian functions. Woodland Park has roads to its parking lots; it’s also cut in half by Aurora (that wasn’t always the case, and it was controversial when it happened) and has a through-arterial separating it from Green Lake, which is necessary for transportation but isn’t exactly what makes either park.

        Seattle Center has loads of parking, along and near its exterior; if you’re suggesting more parking, on the interior… how about no. It actually has a lot of driveways for drop-offs: cul-de-sacs by the Space Needle and EMP and a driveway by Pacific Science Center; public streets around each of the four corners; and the bike lane in front of Key Arena, which is routinely used as a dropoff zone. It’s not that big of a park, there’s no part that’s more than a block or so from a car dropoff. A road going through would only be busy when the park is already busy — the reason people don’t go to Seattle Center off hours is not because they can’t get there, it’s because there’s nothing to do there!

  9. Watching cars on Pike Place is comedy gold. Don’t ever take that away from us. Someday when I have an hour and a half to spare I’m going to fulfill a lifelong dream and drive it myself, just so I can say I did it. It’s the best street in Seattle, by a wide margin, or should I say a narrow one.

    Urban thinking is so often based on making everything as huge and empty as possible, it’s nice to have a little bit of compact, crowded city life to put it into perspective. Seattle’s streets are mostly impossibly wide. Even when we try to adopt compact ideas, we end up with fake “woonerfs” like the one up in Greenwood that’s actually just another parking lot.

    I’d like to see them turn every alley in downtown into a street like this, including cars (maximum speed, one MPH).

    1. That Greenwood pass-through is everything that’s wrong with letting real estate moguls rewrite codes by rewriting the dictionary. It’s just “Redmond Towne Center” writ small.

    2. Where’s the Greenwood non-woonerf? How many others are there besides the Bell Street Park?

      1. I don’t think anyone thinks it’s a woonerf, and… I guess it probably is more of a pass-through to parking than the public-street infill it impersonates (unconvincing as it is). I can’t hate it that much, despite the trite architecture and design and the ambiguity between public and private space. Redmond Town Center and U Village are actually more palatable writ small than large. If this was bowling over something great it would be a tragedy; as it is it’s only disappointing.

      2. I agree that the street isn’t the worst thing in the world.

        But letting developers hijack the meaning of words has been pretty disastrous. See also: the four-pack “town house” (back turned and often nowhere near anything resembling walkable parts of town). Or anything advertised as “urban living…reinvented” that turns out to be an entire block of blank concrete with three or four garage-vortex holes. And don’t get me started on the aforementioned “town centers”.

        And for the record, a quick search finds copious circa-2008 ballyhooing on the “woonerf-ness” of whatever the Greenwood thing is. One example:

  10. I agree… BUT how much of this is the presence of pedestrians and how much is the actual construction of the street? The cobblestones and the narrowness (and lack of striping) forces drivers to slow down, don’t you think? How do we transfer that to “new” streets elsewhere in the City?

  11. My experience with Pike Place is different.

    a) Pedestrians only “dominate” on weekends. The rest of the time, it’s a regular street. Drivers (often out of state) would in no way think it is a woonerf and often do not slow down and just honk at you.
    b) Even during heavy pedestrian usage, some cars still honk at pedestrians to keep moving.
    b) Close calls between pedestrians are not uncommon.
    c) You cannot walk the opposite direction of car traffic.
    d) You cannot stand, consume what you bought from the market and have a chat with somebody. You absolutely have to keep moving.

    None of these problems exist in a pedestrian space. So we are trading them off – but for what? So out of state tourists get stuck in agony in 10 minutes? Who benefits from that? Not the drivers and not the walkers.

    When I was in Barcelona 2 months ago I saw pedestrian zones that are of course accessible to cars if needed, but you’d see maybe one car per hour. It’s incomparable to Pike Place. The point is not to allow or disallow cars, the point is what experience you deliver.

    Moreover, Pike Place does not compare in any way to car-accessible European pedestrian areas or woonerfs. Wooners are usually low traffic streets. Pike place is not.

    1. Bingo. And just wait until the first road-rager or elderly person mows down a few pedestrians, then let’s see what people think of this shared space.

      1. Well that one happened not in the market, but close to it. Perhaps luckily so, as if he had gotten onto the market he could have hurt more people.

    1. As I said, the street does not have to be closed. The streets I saw in Europe were not closed to vehicles, but just didn’t see any for very long periods of time. People just knew that driving there was only when no other option exists and most vehicles actually were taxis.

  12. Here’s something interesting I just found. Anton (above) claims there are many close calls for pedestrians being hit. Knowing that speed is the primary factor when it comes to injuries, and knowing how slow people drive there, I wondered how many injuries there have been.

    This data seems to imply the answer is zero.

    1. I specifically said close calls and that it makes it uncomfortable. I didn’t say that there were actual hits as I am well aware of the stats.

      Just because nobody gets hit doesn’t mean it’s a good experience. Again, who benefits from the current situation – not the drivers and not the walkers?

      Deliveries can be allowed with a giant sign “Delivery Vehicles Only”. As I said, the street does not have to be closed, but the current situation is not acceptable either.

  13. I disagree. I find it annoying and at times awkward to have to walk in the street w/ cars, even if they’re going slow. I think deliveries should be relegated to before or after Market hours. I even think Stewart and Pine should dead end at the Market (Pike could remain a through for deliveries but make it Autorized Vehicles Only), end with a cul-de-sac. I think those Stewart and Pine blocks b/t 1st and the Market should then turn into 30 min (maybe even 15 min) parking so people can be close for pickups during the day; that is plenty close enough. Since the Market is going through a huge remodel soon w/ the waterfront I think this should be addressed; they could even make easier pickup areas on Western by chance.

    1. but the akwardness isnt a bug, its a feature. The vendors dont want you to walk down the street, they want you to walk by their shop.

      1. This awkwardness makes it harder to shop. Why don’t shopping malls allow cars to drive through the hallways?

      2. And yes, there is a difference between good entropy and bad entropy.

        Bad entropy — like, say, Westlake Park — is a thing you can create by closing through streets, tearing out the interestingly-shaped buildings, and pretending that people want to hang out on broad expanses with ugly committee-approved sculpture for any reason other than doing drugs.

      3. This awkwardness makes it harder to shop.

        Yeah, no one uses Pike Place anymore. It’s too popular.

        Why don’t shopping malls allow cars to drive through the hallways?

        Because shopping malls are predicated on the idea of total environmental predictability, for undiluted corporate-to-cortex messaging.

        They are also dying off at an alarming rate.

      4. Shopping malls have confined and out of the way entrances and exits. They basically make it hard for you to leave, thereby ensuring that you go to stores. Also, malls are much more “destination shopping”. You go because you need a tie from Nordstroms, but once there it is hard to leave so you go in a couple other places too. As a contrast from the Market, no one goes to Bellevue Square to “see it”.

        The akwardness makes it slower to shop, true. But speeding up the pedestrian flow doesnt really make more shoppers. The akwardness also makes it harder for you to only buy what you came there to buy, because it gives the salespeople time to pitch you and have a go.

        Dont underestimate how much retail sales are driven by advertising (media and in person) and salesmanship. The small businesses at the market cant do media ads, so they have to do in person advertising.

      5. Guys, what you are saying goes absolutely against everything Janette Sadik-Khan said last week at Town Hall. She showed so many examples of places where they created pedestrian plazas and retail sales increased with much higher pedestrian traffic.

      6. Great for them, but I don’t like being crammed onto a tiny sidewalk full of fat tourists from the Midwest, buskers, and strollers. There is no logical reason to allow tourists to drive down this street. It does not help business.

      7. I don’t know the last time I went to a mall. Probably been a couple years. I’ve been to the market twice in the last 3 weeks.

      8. No, she absolutely did not.

        Janette Sadik-Kahn is a tireless and brilliant advocate for multi-modal access, and for vibrant urban places created by balancing the needs of many types of users and designing for the specific circumstances, rather than flogging ideological absolutes and one-size-fits-all design panaceas.

        She uses math, rigorously, to justify removing parking spaces or removing lanes in places where pedestrians already congregate. And she has never advocated for entirely restricting a mode from an area that was already functioning well, as you are doing here.

      9. Many people don’t think the area is functioning well as you can see by the many comments. When Murray asked where the next pedestrian plaza should be Pike Place was one of the most common answers of people. If there was no problem they wouldn’t be saying it. This article wouldn’t have even existed.

        Moreover, I advocate for making it delivery vehicles only. The people in cars do not stop at the market, they just spend a couple minutes driving at 1 mph, taking up space and then eventually being glad they came out of it. If the point is to take away space, let’s just add tables to the middle of the street and leave just enough space for deliveries to come in and out.

      10. Yeah, what Anton said. Deliveries only. Even Deliveries and Customers Only would be a huge improvement. This would make it function like every similar street in Europe. The streets are considered “Pedestrian Only” despite the fact that they allow cars (Venice being the one exception — no cars in the city). This would allow people to change their maps and change their GPS information. Right now, why would they? How is Google or Garmin or every map maker supposed to deal with the fact that if the weather is bad, or it is late in the day, cutting through there is perfectly fine — it will save the driver a few seconds, especially if the driver is aggressive. It is no surprise that this shows up as a regular street — technically it is.

        But again, the idea that this will somehow look like a suburban mall once they remove the cars is ridiculous. Maybe forty years ago, but not now. Somehow every farmers market in town survives just fine when the close the street (every week). Somehow the street fairs do OK, too. It’s not like everyone who goes to the farmer’s markets is doing so for the market either. A lot of people (myself included) just happen to find ourselves in Ballard the day of the market and spontaneously buy some produce. The same thing happens at Pike Place.

        You have to roll with the times. Mixed use is probably a good idea when a city is small — the last thing you want is an empty street. People feel it is creepy. But we are way past that point. The cars are simply an annoyance most of the time (for the drivers as well as the pedestrians). Restricting the vehicles would help the problem immensely.

      11. Actually, Ross, I was pleasantly surprised to see the first half-dozen comments agreeing with Matt’s assessment — Pike Place is vibrant and hectic and exciting and merges interior and exterior bustle and basically works — before just two or three Seattle Wheel Reinvention ideologues came plowing into the fray with their overwrought

      12. d.p., I’ll ignore the name calling, but would like to point out that, if my argument amounts to “Cars…why?!,” I don’t see how that’s any different than casting your argument as “Cars…just because!” or something equally ridiculous. You’re arguing for the status quo, and I’m arguing against it. Deal with it, and at least engage in a constructive dialogue. You haven’t backed up any of your contentions or provided a single example to support your argument in favor of making folks dodge cars for all eternity in our central city’s most popular tourist district. And again, we’re talking about two blocks of one-way street.

        (As an aside, I honestly don’t recall you ever saying anything constructive anywhere on STB. You just criticize and attack, rinse, repeat. I don’t understand the motivation, but can assure you that life’s a bit more enjoyable when you exchange ideas instead of obloquy.)

      13. d.p. you are the one reinventing the wheel. How many more examples of successful pedestrian streets should we give you? How many times should we mention the broader Seattle public which lists Pike Place as one of the top places they want to see a pedestrian plaza.

        It’s not like we are arguing for a street where helicopters can land right next to catapults…

      14. Every success or failure is about math and siting circumstances. European thoroughfares on the way to everywhere? Yes. The occasional college-town commercial area? Maybe.

        But something on the order or 90% of American or Canadian pedestrianization schemes of the last 4 decades have failed either in whole or in part. Take it from an author who actually still wishes to amend and revive the concept — — but who can’t gloss over their disaster rate when seen as an all-purpose solution regardless of location or width or hours of activity.

        The author’s main takeaway perfectly comports with the advice not to mess with what isn’t broken.

      15. Sorry d.p., but I’ve actually read that paper before! And you’ve absolutely misstated the author’s conclusions. From page 179: “Ideally, pedestrian malls should be created in areas that already function as community gathering places. It only makes sense to block cars out in streets that naturally belong to the pedestrians, where pedestrian activity dominates the urban scene even if cars are present.” She’s making the exact argument that Anton, RossB, and I are making.

      16. No, you are explicitly misreading her.

        Pike Place is an active, commercial market designed for slow-speed and only semi-planned consumer explorations and engagements. That is its defining purpose and dominant character. It is explicitly not a “community living room” for lollygagging about (though even that cannot be the sole purpose of an urban pedestrian space that you wish to see succeed).

        As a marketplace, Pike is functioning as it was designed and as it has always functioned: there are labyrinthine interior corridors, but the outdoor space is permeable to both deliveries and consumers of all sorts, regardless of mode. Only ancillarily does it have any room for commerce-neutral “gathering”, and you seem unable to grasp that distinction.

      17. d.p., is there anywhere you would personally support a pedestrian-only (save for deliveries, etc.,) street in Seattle? Should we add cars to Occidental Sq, which is dramatically less busy than Pike Pl?

      18. Most of the tourists driving through Pike Place spend 5-10 minutes slowly going through it, do not stop, and when they get out are finally relieved it didn’t take an hour. That’s not how it is supposed to function at all. It just doesn’t work with the high pedestrian and car volumes we have.

      19. Look guys, you are all great transit advocates, and it is clear that everyone wants a more vibrant city. However, the retail reality should trump public comment periods.

        @anton people wanting PPM to be a promenade will not make that vision a success. The purpose of the market is not to make sure that people get maximum enjoyment, it is to get money out of their pockets. The market is not a “old west town” style attraction. All those people actually work there, they dont pretend to do business in an old fashioned way, they do it. And they are there for the money. The tight quarters are essential for this. Your tabling idea is a good one, and if done right could be great. But promenade with no new stalls to tighten it up? Revenue would take a big hit.
        @ RossB those street markets have tight spaces to ensure access to customers. Next time you are at the Ballard or Fremont or whatever think about this… are you ever more than 10 feet away from a storefront?

      20. @Jason, allowing traffic on Occidental south of the park isn’t a bad idea. I work a block away and as far as I’m concerned the pedestrian-only block is totally dead despite a number of places opening nearby.

      21. @Jon — You are kidding, right? All those streets are pretty much identical from curb to curb:

        Really, the argument that you are too far from any stall on any of those streets is laughable. It is all the same. You walk down one side, then walk down the other. It is the same with every market in the U. S. (as well as Europe) that I’ve ever been to. Nobody walks down the middle and looks both ways (unless business is really, really bad).

      22. >> Every success or failure is about math and siting circumstances

        Exactly. OK, I won’t do the math, but the citing circumstance simply kicks ass. Want to know why most of those examples you mentioned failed d. p.? Because they had no soul. There was nothing there, and if there was, the folks in charge destroyed it. You can’t just make a little promenade in, say, the middle of South Lake Union and expect it to become wonderful. Bulldoze Pioneer Square and put in new concrete and you should expect a ghost town. But Pike Place is Pike Place. Even if the city screws it up royal, it will still be the premier place in the city. Of course it is — where else do you send tourists? Unless you want to go for a hike or ride a ferry, or otherwise experience what *surround the city* you are going to Pike Place. It is one of the few places in this Podunk town that people from other parts of the world admire — it is both touristy and real. Removing half the cars — which as mentioned don’t even want to be there would not hurt in the least.

        Seattle is a boom and bust town. Get used to it. We are booming right now. I say roll with it. This is one of the few areas in Seattle that is really urban. You’ve got Belltown to the north and boatloads of shops and businesses nearby. Try and reproduce the European flavor, and get rid of the non-working cars. See if we sell a few more trinkets and food along the way. Oh, and how about the fact that one good thing about blowing billions on a tunnel is that we will get a world class park out of the deal. That will only add to the greatness that is the market. Worse case scenario, we go back to allowing cars.

      23. Ross,

        Ballard Ave is, in fact, wide enough that it would be a total disaster if pedestrianized outside of farmers market days. Which is proposed by well-meaning Ballard activists on an alarmingly frequent basis.

        But pointing out the similar widths of those streets to Pike Place, you are in fact making Jon’s point for him.

      24. Jason,

        I would argue that, no, Seattle’s streets as a rule are simply too wide, and that there is nowhere routinely packed to enough of a human critical mass to make a case for successfully pedestrianizing.

        Someone I follow on Twitter makes a point of regularly pointing out cars that park on Occidental and the lack of police interest in removing them. The truth is that it makes no difference — even with both its flanks revived and filled with happening restaurants, the street is still shockingly wide and windswept. This is in part because street furniture has been actively removed to shoo away the area’s bums. So lingering isn’t possible; it isn’t on the direct route to enough places to attract a ton of pass-throughs; and it doesn’t have enough variety of destinations to keep masses of people criss-crossing as they head in and out of the mere four restaurants and handful of galleries

        If the Matt Dillon restaurants ever decide to make a serious go — all at once — of outdoor dining, that is about the only thing that could significantly alter the experience of the Occidental Mall. It isn’t a terror presently, but it’s no sane person’s idea of thriving urban outdoor life.

        The block above it, as part of the wider and grosser “Occidental Park”, should frankly have buildings built all over it. Because right now it is a disaster to look at, to walk through, to experience on any level.

        Seattle has exactly one workable pedestrian-only street. It’s called Post Alley, it is tiny, and pedestrian-only it already is.

        We also have one street best primed to be a “woonerf”. It’s called Pike Place, it is a roaring success, and a woonerf it already is.

      25. Why don’t shopping malls allow cars to drive through the hallways?

        I am glad Pike Place doesn’t more closely resemble an enclosed suburban mall. Are you?

  14. That unnecessary sense of discomfort and urgency is a big part of what keeps people moving and keeps sales down.

    Except that according to JonCracolici the data shows the opposite to be true.

    1. According to all the examples from NYC where they closed street ROW to make it a pedestrian plaza sales increased with the closure. More pedestrians = more sales. Look up Janette Sadik-Khan. e.g.

      1. That might be true in NYC, but it is not true in the market. Im not making up having had those meetings with the PDA. We actually kept track of that stuff, and it wasnt true in this particular case.

      2. So, Jon, let me get this straight. You closed the street for a period of time (how long exactly, what hours, what time of year) and you saw sales decline – compared to what – prior week(s), same time prior year?

      3. For the umpteenth time, Sadik-Kahn closed off or slimmed down a number of awkward triangular junctions that created excessively wide rights-of-way, and where enormous numbers of pedestrians already criss-crossed every hour of the day.

        She also managed to improve traffic flow on nearby major boulevards by doing so.

        But she did not — and never desired to — “wholly pedestrianize Broadway”. If you walked away thinking that, then you clearly went to her talk looking for confirmation bias and never heard an actual word she said.

      4. Neither did I suggest fully pedestrianize the market. I suggest delivery and other commercial vehicles only.

        Again, Janette is taking her cues from Europe. What do you have to say about the pedestrian streets of Europe – often in 2-3x wider rights of way?

      5. Well, you can (weirdly IMO) track both the number of bodies and large shopping bags in a space using cameras and some software I don’t understand. You can also track sales numbers for the market on an individual business basis, or as buildings, or as a whole. That happens all the time, as part of how leases are structured. You can see patterns in sales data pretty easily, though the more recent stuff is more relevant to this than data from last year. Its more, are we where we should be given general trends AND last weekend?

        During festivals the number of bodies went up, but bags went down. This was borne out by the sales numbers, with vendors in certain areas taking big hits. Business went way down for folks in the underground, on the street, and in the buildings between Pike Pl and 1st.

        They do festivals because they are a blast. I loved working them. They are also great for the brand of the market and for advertising. They would not be a good idea for an everyday thing from a money perspective.

      6. Festivals are events, right? It makes sense they detract from sales as some people come only for the festival. Closing the street with no festival is different.

      7. I have to say that 99.9% of the world’s pedestrianized streets are skinnier than Pike Place, and that 100% are skinner than Broadway in Manhattan.

        And that the wide-ish pedestrian-only boulevards, be they in Rome, Istanbul, Shanghai, or Buenos Aires, possessed a level of preexisting non-stop pedestrian activity an order of magnitude greater than anything you’ll ever see in a mid-sized North American city with an otherwise terrible track record on pedestrian form or culture outside of those zones. And that even then, the only successful pedestrianizations have been at the cross-roads of daily movement patterns, and not even a few blocks off to the side.

        Sadik-Kahn was taking her cues from Europe when she crunched the math and decided not to overreach.

      8. d.p. That’s not true. See my pictures below. I have pictures from other cities too, but don’t want to dig them up now too.

    2. We have no data on limiting the street to local access for an extended period of time, as it has never been done.

    3. Jon didn’t provide data; he provided an anecdote based on his experience at some unnamed business an uncertain number of years ago. There’s no data because the street is open to cars 99 days out of 100 and we won’t know what will happen until the city finally closes the street to most car traffic. We can guess that it will work well, based on what has happened at other similar markets around the world.

      1. So, as Janette Sadik-Khan said, let’s prototype it. It doesn’t have to be permanent. Let’s put giant signs “Delivery Vehicles Only” at Pike Street that actually narrow the entrance to the market so they cannot be missed.

        For further 2 weeks, let’s close the street altogether from 10am-6pm.

        All of this, done in July or August when it will have the most effect.

      2. I don’t own the data, and AFAIK its not public. You *might* be able to request it from the PDA. I worked in the market from march 2008 to september 2014 at choice produce. I loved it there.

      3. Closing it for the summer would cost vendors a fortune. I know you think it would be cool, and from a walking perspective it would be, but when the street is ped-only, the value/ped drops off so much that vendors make less money than normal. Thats nuts right?! Its also true. And that info is coming from days where the market is creating a major attraction for peds. What would the numbers be like w/o the festival? If the value/ped stays even close to festival level, revenue would be way down for the entire moneymaking season.

      4. Festivals are separate from the merchants and can detract from them. You only have so much attention to divide between everything offered. In effect festivals compete with the merchants.

      5. But all the numbers go down. The total shopping goes down. It doesnt go up near the festival. It also didnt go up including the festivals sales numbers. It was just down. the total number of shopping bags went down.

        The problem wasnt competition. It is that people dont really like being crowded up, or being sold to. And so they will avoid it if possible. Which means they will just walk down the center of the street and not buy anything from anyone, and not even give vendors the chance to sell em on something.

      6. Jon and d.p., you’re both relying on the same flawed logic that business owners have used to argue against removing parking to add bike lanes. Cars take up too much space already, and for every car we remove from Pike Pl, there will be room for a dozen pedestrians. The people in cars don’t buy anything, but pedestrians do. If you make the space conducive to slowing down and lingering, sales will absolutely increase. There will be even more year-round pedestrian traffic once all of the new apartments and hotels in the area open.

        And Jon, please stop acting as though you speak for all market vendors. I happen to work with some of those vendors and tenants and know that there’s a definite split of opinion on this issue, with some vendors seeing increased sales during festivals. Furthermore, only a very small portion of business are located directly on Pike Pl in the limited retail frontage of the Soames-Dunn Bldg, the Triangle Bldg (directly opposite your produce stand), and so on, with the vast majority being located inside the various market buildings. Your argument really only applies to perhaps 10% of market businesses. I also think you dramatically overstate the desire of pedestrians to wander down the middle of Pike Pl away from the businesses. Pike Pl offers a view of the back side of the Main and North arcades, which are completely unadorned, and a view of the stores along Pike Pl. In the absence of festival booths set up along the back side of the arcades, pedestrians will naturally walk as near to the east side businesses as they can.

      7. No, we’re not.

        I can’t speak for Jon, but I am relying on the superlatively simple urban planning doctrine of “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”.

        As well as the astounding historical rate of backfires and unintended consequences from ill-considered or unnecessary “single use” schemes.

      8. Because many people think it is broke. You can see many comments here from people who do not agree with you. When Murray asked where the next pedestrian plaza should be Pike Place was one of the most common answers of people. If there was no problem they wouldn’t be saying it. This article wouldn’t have even existed. The truth is, people are divided many people don’t see the need to remove vehicles, and many people do.

        Also, d.p. as RossB said, single use failed 40 years, but things have changed. Crime in cities is way down (not perfect, but much much better) and population in cities is way up. The flight to the suburbs has reversed. That’s why now is actually a good time to prototype this.

      9. Sorry if I am coming across as “speaking for everyone”, I just remember those meetings and discussions as coming to the conclusions I’ve been talking about.
        My basic point is that pedestrians dont just “spend money”. They are sold things. if they are too far away to sell too, they mostly dont buy anything. As for lingering, the cars cause pedestrian bottlenecks, which forces them to slow down. Next to businesses. Or to turn to an interior space to find a way around. Which leads them to businesses. All street markets need the tight spaces to slow people down and give salespeople a chance.

        This is a hard conversation to have here, because people here are transportation and “ride quality” oriented. But the market isnt about moving people, or making the ride smooth and nice, it is about selling people things.

      10. @JonCracolic”people dont really like being crowded up, or being sold to. And so they will avoid it if possible. Which means they will just walk down the center of the street and not buy anything from anyone”

        Hm. So we should keep cars on the street so that people will be forced to do what they don’t want to do? This is odd reasoning.

      11. Eric, its not odd reasoning. Its not quite that nebulous and general either. It is that people will spread out if you give them space. That has two consequences; they are almost impossible to sell to, and they move faster. Both of those consequences are bad for the market as a market.

  15. Here are a few pictures I took in Barcelona and Madrid of streets that were mostly pedestrians but rarely saw a car (often a taxi) drive by. They look very different than Pike Place.

    There is also one very wide right of way that did have vehicles (the one with the blue bus) but most of the space was dedicated to pedestrians. No need to squeeze people into a tiny space to create “urbanity”.

    1. And the Barcelona ones were taken on Sunday when most businesses on the street were closed (religious reasons).

      1. Image the 1st: Skinnier than Pike Place. Really. Also benefitting from Barcelona’s legendary (and plainly visible) built density, which results in human density. That’s math, not culture.

        Image the 2nd: Slightly wider, still not “wide”. Obviously a major pass-through promenade, i.e. on the way to myriad other places (which Pike Place isn’t). There is little lingering happening in the photo, and if it weren’t a major through-route, it would tip into palpable bereftness very quickly.

        Image the 3rd: Take away the plaza café tables, and this one becomes a fucking ghost town. Even in sunny Spain.

      2. Take-away the plaza tables – that’s the point. Let’s put some tables in, if that’s what it takes. Sadik-Khan did in many of her projects… Of course I am not advocating for creating empty concrete space.

      3. Also if there is one place that has the pedestrian volume for a 99% pedestrian street, that will be Pike Place.

      4. Again, those are the major pedestrian thoroughfares for entire, broad contiguously-built areas. Am I right in guessing that they are also the primary walking routes from their respective major transit portals to pretty much everywhere else?

        And although I doubt that the built area around that UK town (is it a “New Town”?) has a density figure remotely as low as you cite, which is a problem with taking averages, I would note that the UK has a much higher rate of US-like pedestrian-scheme failures than the Continent does. Thanks to the same separation-ideology-based design overreach that I was taking about.

      5. That picture from Bad Homburg looks pretty dead. But then again they don’t have to worry too much about it falling into a dilapidated state – a sufficiently high concentration of millionaires and the prohibition of greenfield shopping keep squalor away. Meanwhile elsewhere the idea of pure pedestrian zones fell out of favor 20-30 years ago. They came about as a counter movement to the most brutal aspects of postwar motorization and urban destruction. The lesson that came out of its failures was that the car has to be disciplined in a predominantly pedestrian environment – not eliminated. Fewer lanes and/or low speed limits are enough. Unless there are extreme levels of foot traffic (see the Times Square project which also had more pressing efficiency and safety aspects) you don’t have to explicity forbid cars.

      6. Sorry, I forgot to put the name of the town. It’s Burgas, Bulgaria. The street is in downtown, but not more of a connection between things than any of its parallel routes which allow cars. It’s more a destination in itself. You will find these pedestrian streets in both high and low density European towns and in both Western and Eastern Europe.

        I agree, partially it’s cultural – Europeans just walk much more – but Seattle also has much more density than many of the smaller European towns like my home town above. So what I am saying is, Pike Place is narrow, centered amongst one of the densest parts of Seattle and already sees lots of people walking to it filling up most of the space anyways.

        So why would it fare worse than a pedestrian street in a 200,000 people, 2000 people per square mile European town?

      7. mobilitor, I am not saying we should pedestrianize every street, not even remotely. In fact one of my favorite Seattle streets is Terry Ave – which does allow car traffic but has tamed it quite well and has ample seating and green space. I really want that to be the model for neighborhood commercial zones.

        But Pike Place is different. It does have tremendous pedestrian volumes to the point that they end up on the road and the cars are just in the way. It gets really really crammed with the cars in there and as I listed above they create a lot of different discomforts for pedestrians.

      8. Again, Burgas appears to be a city of relatively high population density and exceedingly high usage/built density, as long as you ignore the miles and miles of farmland within the formal municipality.

        I do find it super odd to be lecturing someone about their own place of origin, but if you have such a blind spot in your use of statistics then I guess I have to.

        And this is one of my particular pet peeves. There is a prominent Fremont-based NIMBY activist who loves to argue that we can support great European-style transit without an ounce of growth, because (he claims) we are “already denser than Prague”. [eyeroll from someone who lived in Prague]

        Averaging densities is dumb.

      9. Ok, no large averages.

        So using Google Earth to measure the area of the Burgas city proper I get:

        15,000 people/sq mile in 12 sq miles.

        Then for downtown Seattle using the sum of the zip codes that make it up I get:

        21,362 people/sq mile in 1.7 sq miles

        And this is based on downtown residents, saying nothing of the 200,000 jobs, the tourists and the people coming in by transit.

        So the area of Pike Place Market is much denser than Bogoridi Street in Burgas that is pictured above… Again I see no reason why it would fare worse.

      10. Oh and if you say something like, why don’t you measure downtown Burgas – because it isn’t the densest part of the city. The ring around it has more density than the core.

        Also expanding beyond downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill is also at 20k people/sq mile, so also denser than Burgas.

      11. Again, finding the apples-to-apples comparison between a city a significant generally built around densely clustered people and buildings (Burgas) and one that plainly isn’t (Seattle, including downtown) is a bit of an impossible exercise. Am I correct in thinking that Burgas’s “old town” isn’t the densest part, but that the grid that fills everywhere else between бул. Demokratsia and бул. Todor Alexandrov is? Because that is a significant hunk of building and population density, of which central Seattle has no equivalent.

        But as I’ve said above, pedestrian-scheme success rates have as much to do with form, placement, and function than they even do with immediate population-shed. The street in question, бул. Aleko Bogoridi, more than just a tightly-packed commerce center, is the only east-west through street across the old town. It will thus appear along the desire path of a massive number of pedestrian routes. Probably as important (or more so) to its success than anything about the street’s vibe, architecture, or contents.

        Furthermore, you might be shocked to realize that Aleko Bogoridi is actually skinnier than Pike Place. By quite a bit! 40-45 feet wide at most, according to Google Maps. Pike Place, once you’ve removed the parking and merged today’s vestigial sidewalk with the rest, is closer to 55 feet from building to building.

        Yes, that makes a difference!

      12. As I already said, central Seattle is quite a bit denser than any part of Burgas at 20,000 people/sq mile vs 15,000 people/sq mile.

        But you know what, for downtown this is just based on the residential population of 36,312. If you add the roughly 200,000 jobs you get a daytime population of 236,000 or a density of 130,000/sq mile.

        Seattle is much much denser in its core than Burgas. That you just can’t argue with. As I said, I’ve looked up the zip codes, summed up their population, divided over their area, and Seattle is simply denser. It may not be denser in Shoreline, but in the center city it is.

      13. My quick calculations say something entirely different. I found roughly half of Burgas-proper’s 200,000 population are in the in the roughly 3.5 square miles closest to the city center.

        That would be like more than 1/7 of Seattle living just in downtown/Belltown/the Denny Triangle.

        Never mind that it those 4 square miles also contain the bulk of all commerce and culture in the your town, as well as literally any place anyone would ever recreationally hang out. And the built form within those well-contained 3.5 square miles is infinitely more pedestrian-encouraging than our wide boulevards and megablocks. (That’s the cultural influence you mention, which again, is actually just the influence of built form.)

        But please, continue to look cockeyed at statistics in order to claim that the idea that fails on every wide U.S. non-through street ever is somehow a good idea in ours. You’ll still be wrong.

    2. Thats awesome that you went to Spain. Super jealous.

      I promise you that the folks at the market don’t care about urbanity. They care about their bottom line. That’s the deal with it being a market first, and a public attraction second.

      1. There hasn’t been a true closure of the market with actual data measurement. Festivals are different because they can detract from the regular merchants.

      2. I dont understand what youre saying here. Why dont the festival days count? Tons of people come to the festival. The problem isn’t their reasons for being there, it is that they are too far away to sell to. Let me put it this way, on a normal day, I try to sell apples to everyone within 10 feet of me. I try to sell to 100 people and 65 say no and 35 say yes. On a festival day I try to sell to everyone within 10 feet, and this time only 80 people are around. 30 say yes, 50 say no. It doesn’t matter that there are 300 people in the market if only 80 of them walk by the stand.

        People dont like walking all crowded up. But that is what a market like Pike Place needs, so you have to create that nearness with the geometry or people will just spread out out of reach.

      3. It’s a good theory, but an actual test with no festival may still produce a different result. Again, my point about the festival effectively competing with the vendors which you are actually supporting.

      4. I think I follow what you’re saying. You are saying that people arent spending money on XYZ because they would rather spend it on A. But thats not how the market works. Oh my gosh the upselling that happens. Oh my gosh the barking. The sales dont go down because of consumer choices, the sales go down because all of a sudden no one is around. It is suddenly decidedly less crowded everywhere, and in some places almost empty. People take all those wierd routes through the market because they are trying to get to a less crowded place, and that brings them to businesses. When the street is less crowded, they just stay there, 15 feet from everything. Un Sellable To

      5. Seattle Center was full of people every weekend when I visited it. Last weekend people were playing Native American music and dancing near the fountain, for example, all while kids were playing around it. The area around the Armory and the Needle was full of people. I even ran into a friend completely randomly…

  16. The only thing that could make it better would be to use pollution free Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles there.

    That would require a hydrogen refueling network in Washington State.


    Good idea!

  17. Surprised nobody has mentioned my favourite benefit of the cars on Pike Place: Providing an express lane for pedestrians who don’t want to navigate the congestion of Bailo’s lollygagging herds. Remove the cars, and that street becomes a larger spread of photo-snapping, stroller-pushing, starbucks seeking, obstacles to those of us who use the market a shopping tool.

    I’m sure the tourists open their wallets, but I’m there every few days stocking up, and am perpetually thankful for the suckers that chose the windshield tour. It’s much easier to dodge a 2-MPH lumbering prius than it is a haphazard flock of sightseers.

    And hell, it’s not as if driving there is particularly insane. I walk nine times in ten, but have driven for the odd trip, and its not especially onerous to find a spot. Turnover seems quick enough.

    Lose the cars, and you lose the one example in the city where the pedestrian environment sets the example for its rightful precedence over the automobile on the city street. Axe the wheeled traffic, deliveries or otherwise, and the place is a giant sidewalk. We’ve got those, and they’re hardly the example the ‘woonerfing’ of Pike/Pine nightlife blocks should look to for ‘solutions’.

    1. THIS. I worked in the market from 2010 to 2013. The fastest way to navigate the market, during those busy summer months especially, is on the cobblestones, and this is because the cars thin the crowds there. If I was hauling a load on a hand truck from one end of the market to another, I’d take the rickety but fast route on the cobblestones of Pike Place rather than the smoother sidewalks or covered walkways any day. It’s a working market, and the cars and trucks on Pike Place help make it work better, not worse.

    2. This was my immediate first thought as well. Those of us who know and understand the cars are effectively tamed here and we need not fear them can navigate the market far more successfully. Pedestrian express lane for locals. As a local who actually likes to do some grocery shopping there from time to time, please don’t take away my express lanes!

      Lose the cars, and you lose the one example in the city where the pedestrian environment sets the example for its rightful precedence over the automobile on the city street.

      Exactly right. If I’m going to put my energy behind a project to ban cars from a particular place, it’s going to be a place where other efforts so far to tame the automobile and render it less a menace for pedestrians and/or bikes have not been successful. The geography and use patterns of Pike Place have successfully triumphed over the tyranny of the ‘streets are primarily for cars and secondarily for anyone else’ assumption that’s come to dominate American life. The joy of strolling in front of a moving car because I feel like it with confidence it’ll yield to me is a precious and rare one.

      1. This is a huge part of what I’ve been trying to say!

        The notion that we need to “formally” kick the last trickle of vehicles off of Pike seems deeply rooted in the idea of “putting things safely in their respective places”. Which as the entire 20th century has shown, isn’t actually safe.

        Seattle has an virulent anti-jaywalking culture, and drivers are mostly on autopilot. So why does it have a pedestrian fatality rate far higher than Boston’s, where the streets are for crossing wherever is convenient and whenever you get a window, and the famously aggressive drivers are forced to both pay attention and share the road? (Which are respectively not the same as walking in front of cars willy-nilly, or slamming on your brakes the moment anyone approaches the curb, as sometimes seen here.)

        A little bit of spatial loosey-gooseyness goes a long way toward making a city both more interesting and better-functioning. But too many in this town remain governed by the idea that absolute separations — including, at worse, overpasses and detours and lots of places that one mode or another is banned — will magically return us to the pre-auto age. In fact, it is the exact opposite. They’re doubling down on auto-as-default!

  18. All this being said, in Germany at least, vehicles in pedestrian zones (Fußgängerzonen) need to comply with a lot of restrictions as to when they can enter and why. Typically, only delivery vehicles may enter during times when one would most likely encounter pedestrians and even they may only be able to enter before ofr after business hours.. I’m imaging the vehicles in the foto are permitted delivery vehicles, not just some random person who entered the zone to enjoy afternoon coffee.

  19. This thread reminded me to walk over to Pike Place for groceries on my way home from work instead of going to the Safeway near my house. I have never regretted moving away from Belltown, but it sure was nice having the Market as my local grocery store.

    Don’t mess with the market if you can get away with leaving it be: Pike Place is the healthiest, most vital part of our city, and it would be a shame to disrupt its magic with some well-meaning “improvement” that doesn’t actually improve.

    I walked down the cobblestones for half a block because it was quicker than pushing through the sidewalk. A car slowly idled by. A couple of delivery trucks parked or departed. People shopped, browsed, hung around. It was perfect. Don’t change anything about it.

    1. Well, some people enjoy it the way it is, but some people don’t. Given how many people voice their concerns (also on other place) it may well be one of those 50/50 lockdown situations.

      1. Im not sure people are unhappy with it. What was the Q and A? I think you said earlier it was:

        Q: What place in Seattle would be best for a pedestrian only street.
        A: Pike Place Market

        Thats really not the same as people saying they dont like the market now. It starts with the premise that some place will be ped only, and asks what place they would choose, not if they feel that the market needs to make a change to become better.

      2. And moreover, after looking at densities of other regions the numbers definitely seem to support the case that Pike Place can become a mostly-pedestrian area. The failed pedestrian malls of past times failed under very different conditions – e.g. dropping densities, rising crime and do not apply to today. In fact Pike Place fits the criteria under which the few pedestrian malls of past times succeeded.

        Some people expressed that the cars make it more vibrant and are just a part of its fabric. I take that as a personal preference, more than a scientific argument (also Pike Place predates personal cars). It’s absolutely ok to have this personal preference, but let’s call it out for what it is.

      3. Anton, the problem isn’t density, it is geometry and the limits of the human voice. The space has to be tight in order to sell things. The cars are helping tighten it up right now, in the future it could be other shops. But it has to be something. You cant run a market where it is possible to easily and quickly walk the whole thing and see the sights without ever getting closer than 15 feet to a storefront.

      4. I dont know if I can embed pictures, but here are some links that illustrate my point about markets.

        Edit, no I cant. But look up “bazaar” or Tokyo market, or farmers market, or anything like that. The successful ones have tight throughways, so that people are always close to several stores and within earshot of an offer from a worker.

      5. I get the space argument, but do note that farmers markets here in Seattle actually do lead to road closures… and as I said below, you can have both. For Pike Place – just allow new vendors (already coming with build-out) to be in the street with just enough space for deliveries.

  20. Talking to a buddy about this thread gave me an idea about the crux of this conversation, and I think it sums up everything Ive been trying to say. Here it goes:

    The central tenet of Urbanism is supporting uses, not simply the promotion of walking.

    1. Yes, but nothing says it has to happen on the same corridor. Recently I took an urbanist friend of mine from San Francisco to Vancouver. He remarked along the lines of:

      “In the US, complete streets that support all the modes are all the rage. But here we are on this car-free waterfront right in downtown and it’s much more activated and more pleasant (read: quiet) than the Embarcadero which has light rail lanes, bike lanes and car lanes.”

      He really questioned the complete streets model at that time without me saying anything.

      Vancouver also has a downtown street that is commercial vehicles only (bus, taxi, delivery) – 5 blocks of Granville from Hastings to Smithe. Since they changed it to that in 2010, pedestrian volumes have significantly increased, undesired behavior has decreased and bunch of building renovations have kicked off to create new retail space.

      So in Vancouver these single or limited use corridors really work and its culture is very similar to Seattle.

      1. Im not saying anything about modes of transportation at all anywhere, which is why it is hard to talk about this topic on a transit blog with fellow transit nerds (much love). I just am arguing from this stance

        mode aside, does an option support the use of the market or not?
        Opening up a promenade space does not support the use of the market.
        Opening up more stores where the parking spots are would probably work ok.

      2. Well the reconciliation of your “need to hustle customers” and “walking with a bumper 2 feet behind me is uncomfortable” is putting tables and chairs or more vendors in the middle. The market is already expanding so more vendors are coming regardless – here’s one place they can occupy before the build-out is complete.

      3. Robson is 100 times the interesting and successful street that the Granville Transit Mall is. And on weekend evenings when even the transit is confusingly kicked to the curb, the only activity one finds in the center lanes is drunken college-age kids puking.

        Granville Street is not going to bolster your argument. Especially with pedestrian-charmed complete-street Robson just around the corner.

      4. Robson always did well, that has nothing to do with Granville.

        Before 2010 Granville looked like Robson function-wise but fared worse.

        So in 2010 they kicked the cars out, left only 2 lanes for commercial vehicles with no parking and generally redesigned it to look like a pedestrian street.

        Since then pedestrian volumes have increased, redevelopment has kicked in and it’s starting to compete with Robson. It’s getting more restaurants and more retail than before. All of these changes to Granville happened because of its redesign.

      5. I was there just a couple of months ago. Despite all of the money pouring into downtown Vancouver, Granville is a puke-stained shithole where no one in their right mind lingers. It is quite possibly the least pleasant place to be on the entire downtown peninsula, and the sidewalk volumes elsewhere confirm that the vast majority agree.

        If I’m getting off a train under Granville or leaving a concert located along it, the very first thing I do is to go anywhere else.

    2. Yeah, I totally agree with this sentiment. All the things we spend the most time arguing about on this blog aren’t ends unto themselves.

      The “uses” of Pike Place are complicated. As you point out, people mostly don’t come there just because they need something, a lot of them come to be in a special place. But the kind of place it is is a commercial place. It’s a place that isn’t made special by architecture and design but by the presence of people, vendors and sellers. It’s a place you go to without needing anything but expecting to walk out with something, and of course it needs its vendors to succeed to be that place.

      Pike Place is still a public street. It would be absurd for the city to manage it solely to maximize commercial profit, or only to the wishes of its merchants, as with any other public street. There are often conflicts between a status quo that works for some and our stated public aspirations. I don’t think that’s seriously the case on Pike Place — the status quo isn’t broken. If cars dominated the space maybe I’d say it’s broken, but they don’t.

  21. Thank you for calling out how great Pike Place is as a street. Pike Place is a real woonerf unlike that joke of project Bell Street that some people like to call a woonerf but is in no way a woonerf. Pike Place might be one of the best examples of a woonerf in the US. Looking at old photos from the market, it appears it was asphalt and stripped lane wasteland in the mid century only to be fixed up in the 1970s remodel bringing back the brick street and shared street design.

  22. I love this thread! We all get to watch three [ad hom] beat the crap out of each other over minutiae! Three people… more than 50% of the comments in this thread:

    JonCracolici: 21
    d.p.: 24
    Anton: 38

    It looks like Anton has won the prize for most replies EVER in a STB thread. But d.p. has tied his record for the most bold font lines ever in one topic, and possibly exceeded his record for browbeating anyone who disagrees with him.

    1. Nope. Just refusing to let the same old bad ideas and poor understanding of how cities work and what they are for flare up again unchallenged!!!

      1. You all know that not accepting the weirdly west-coast “right to your own facts” ≠ personal enmity or “browbeating”, right?

      2. d.p. I normally agree with you, probably 95% of the time (not this time though). However, your style of argument isn’t east coast. It’s always passionate, but sometimes its borderline bullying, and sometimes it passes that line. You have a lot to contribute but sometimes you just don’t let go until you’ve consumed all of the oxygen in the room.

      3. Most of what I’ve been replying to has been the suggestion that all a 100%-pedestrian-all-the-time scheme needs to succeed is an iconic location (no matter where situated, no matter the dimensions or specifications or raison d’être) and strong enough faith.

        Where I have become a little more oxygen-sucking is in response to having listed hundreds of failed precedents, only to be told such failures didn’t exist. Or that the cities in question failed because they didn’t have the inherent awesomeness of Seattle.

        That math is more important to street-level outcomes than urbanist zeal — as is similarly true with transit — is really not up for debate.

      4. d.p. You did not list hundreds of experiments, you listed a few and pointed us to a study which was done a long time ago when the flight to the suburbs was in full swing, crime in cities was rising and I can fully understand why these ped malls failed. You cannot ignore the socio-demographic changes that have happened since then. Seattle is growing faster than the suburbs, crime in cities is falling much faster than in suburbs and has been in decline for tens of years.

        And based on your own study, Pike Place actually is likely to be a successfull pedestrian street.

        When you run out of comments you have repeatedly expressed that the vehicles and messy movement patterns create a form of good urban entropy. You have said that this is part of the character of the place and something you dearly love.

        I completely understand that and see that this is the main thing you don’t want to lose.

        My view, however, is different. I see this as negative urban entropy that has so far always made the place uncomfortable for me. So do many others.

        It’s a personal choice – some people love cities to be a messy mix of everything, some others prefer more order. So my vote goes to more order. And just to clarify – by that I mean, like in Europe, not like in Bellevue. You can choose to cast your vote for more messy, your complete right, but be honest about that.

      5. You keep claiming that because people [heart] cities better than a few decades ago, that facts of geometry cease to matter.

        And you’re just. plain. wrong!

        That’s why there have been (and in some cases) still are failed pedestrian malls in the UK, Canada, and Australia, where urban flight never happened. In the UK in particular, “new towns” were built statistically dense, yet but with excessive modernist deference to broad open spaces and lower permeability.

        But the U.S. remains king of the broad-streeted city. And of 200 attempts at “pedestrian revivals”, about 190 were disasters. Including in places like Boston with virtually zero city-center crime or regional urban-phobia.

        Math doesn’t care how much you personally love pedestrianism. Successful pedestrianizations in broad urban spaces are nearly nonexistent for a reason.

      6. Oh, and that paper was from the late 2000s, and is merely the easiest to find and most concise of the hundreds and hundreds of published analyses of how the spatial theories behind the pedestrianization craze defied the facts of math and human attraction to bustle, and thus rendered failure the most likely outcome.

      7. I understand that people are attracted to bustling areas more than anything else, but

        1) Pike Place is packed to the brim today and if you disallow cars it won’t automatically become empty. In fact, it would merely become a little less packed, but still pretty packed and a whole lot easier and comfortable to navigate. Last summer it was closed for vehicles on many Sundays and it seemed just as packed during those times.

        2) It is a popular tourist destination and people will visit it regardless of bustle just like they do Seattle Center.

        3) And speaking of math, I already calculated densities of surrounding areas to show you that they are higher than the densities of specifically mentioned successful pedestrian malls.

        You want your argument to be math, because it’s something one can’t argue with, while personal preference is a matter of votes. But math is not the issue in this case.

        This is a case where all involved parties lose – too slow for drivers going through, too uncomfortable for tourists. Unless you just like the cars for “vibrancy” as you’ve said, I see no reason why you so fervently defend your case.

      8. Anton, Are you free next weekend for a couple hours? I live in the market. You could come over and have a beer or coffee and we could walk and talk about it.

      9. I do hope you get together for coffee with Jon, Anton.

        Please do it at one of the many hours of every weekday when Pike Place crowds fall far short of the critical mass that would spill more than a trickle of short-cutters into the roadbed. Now imagine the moderate crowds that hew to the sidewalk spread out across the 55 feet of the roadway, and you’ll start to understand why what today feels like a moderate crowd could suddenly feel painfully sparse on all but the busiest days!

        I still don’t understand how anyone from a highly compact Old World city — Burgas fits 4 whole blocks into ever downtown Seattle block — could think our downtown experience high levels of pedestrian density. There are hours and hours in the middle of every workday when half of our downtown streets will be all but abandoned. But the painful reality remains that you can’t miraculously impose one city’s spatial doctrine on another in the absence of myriad other beneficial ingredients.

        Z7 brilliantly contrasted the segregation of spaces in Bellevue. Bellevue too can make the case for nominal residential, employment, and visitor density. Did you even know Bellevue has a lame and underutilized fully-pedestrianized pass-through block on the way to the transit center? No? Must have to do with more than just nominal density.

        Pike Place has the “destination” foot traffic. At some hour. What it lacks — emphatically — is the pass-through traffic. It simply isn’t on the way to anywhere! And if you want an all-hour influx of pedestrians to reach the critical mass that lets you block off all other comers without making the street feel sparse, that is a necessary ingredient.

        İstiklal in Istanbul, Nanjing Road in Shanghai, State Street in Madison — all of them offer a variety of commercial activities, plus other forms of urban business within their multi-story and highly permeable facades, plus they offer the most direct path across their respective cities, plus they intersect the paths to many others.

        Pike Place, hanging off a hill at one edge of downtown and a partial cul-de-sac, is a single-use place. An awesome and very successful one, but not one with a permanent critical mass.

        Meet up with Jon. 11AM on a mid-spring Tuesday. The excesses of space will be obvious.

  23. I’m not going to try to be a subject matter expert or pretend I know anything about how removing cars would affect the financials of the market. As a pedestrian though, it is an incredibly unpleasant experience mixing/trying not to be hit by the cars. I get that people that have been here longer than me have a more emotional connection the Market, but as someone who has only been here for 5 years, I’ve over trying to enjoy it. Remove the cars and I’ll come back but that’s just me.

  24. I have gotten THE dirtiest looks from people when I’ve driven down Post Alley (i.e. past Market Theater, to Union St… rather than drive up to Madison and down and then back up Western, or worse, going through the nightmare that is Pike Place and Virginia). But it’s a goddamn actual street, people. It’s not my fault people don’t use it much outside of delivery vans. Don’t let the cobblestones fool you.

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