Look, People — We Can Fix Downtown


Seattle Times’ columnist Danny Westneat has written about the exodus of citizens from Portland and concluded that it foreshadows Seattle departures. In the same issue, another columnist, Jon Talton, was busy decrying candidates who are “activists,” protesting permit review (just approve any ugly design) and longing to elect those with business credentials. An overdose of Babbittry.

Apparently it’s going to fall to those of us who see a future to pull Seattle off its deathbed. Look, people, we have a lot going for us: a compact city center with a fairy tale setting (Elliott Bay and the mountains beyond), almost ideal weather and 29 resident brain factories (Seattle University, University of Washington, Seattle Pacific and so on.) What we need are both visionary politicians and creative entrepreneurs to build on what’s out there. 

For starters we must rethink what draws people to an area. We should ask ourselves: Why would I want to go downtown?  What I want most is a safe place, one where I don’t need to worry about being mugged. I want a bustling place, people-filled streets, great things to gaze at and fun things to do. 

One way of remaking downtown might be to return to what once worked: closing the Pine Street block to cars between Westlake Park and Westlake Center. That closure would make Westlake a greater people area. I can see it ringed by small bistros that could spill out into the park while people linger over chess or board games, patronize a nearby news stand and listen to buskers. I have never understood why some people want to close the Pike Place Market to car traffic when this block makes far better sense.

Another necessity is reclaiming Third Avenue, which has been given over to buses and to crime, drug dealing, and other ills. We should try putting cars back on Third, beautifying the area with street trees and putting some bus routes on adjacent streets. The calamity that Third has become separates the city from the charms of the Pike Place Market and the Waterfront. Time to take our streets back.

There are other ways as well to boost Seattle’s vitality. Admittedly, they’re far-out ideas, but let’s toss a few out and see if anything resonates:

Books. We need a Seattle version of Portland’s legendary Powell’s Books. Ever since Barnes & Noble left Pacific Place, downtown hasn’t had a large general-interest  bookstore, nothing to rival Elliott Bay Books up on Capitol Hill. What’s required is someone with the vision of Ron Sher who spread Third Place Books across the region.

Team Spirit. Sports are a growth industry. We have a Mariners Store downtown, but what about our other teams? Sure there’s merchandise for Seahawks and Soccer fans at Lumen Field, and Kraken and Storm merch at Seattle Center. But wouldn’t it be great to have a downtown outlet filled with jerseys, hats and fan gear from our favorite sports teams?

Music. Seattle already has downtown music venues. For classics, it’s Benaroya Hall; for contemporary music, it’s the Moore Theater and the Triple Door. But never underestimate the draw of live performances. Think of refitted spots, like maybe the long shuttered Cinerama.

Pike Place Spillover. The city’s famed farmers’ market has powerful appeal. Why not spread the excitement into Seattle’s core? A flower seller on the corner of Sixth and Union? A Market produce stall in Belltown? A cheese vendor with free samples at Fourth and Pine? Artisan sales relocated into one of the empty storefronts?

Food Trucks. Fun fast food is always a draw. I could see half a dozen trucks lining parking lanes along a Second Avenue block, everything from breakfast burritos to cups of seafood chowder and sweet frybreads.

Pets. Seattle has more dogs than children but in downtown there’s only the one dog park, the one located in Denny Park. Why not another off-leash area at City Hall Park, that long debated and troublesome spot near Pioneer Square? Or even dog friendly spot at Jim Ellis Freeway Park?

Outdoor Theater. During New York City’s annual Easter Parade, the police block off city thoroughfares to allow for live theater performances on city streets. Wouldn’t it be great fun if on certain holidays (maybe St. Paddy’s Day or Lunar New Year) Seattle could arrange for local productions to showcase live theater.

Central Airport Lounge. Light rail as well as an airporter shuttle to Sea-Tac are available. However, that doesn’t rule out a comfortable airport lounge near city center where travelers could linger, confirm flights and get up to date information before boarding express transport to airport terminals.

Sportswear. Seattle can rightfully claim to be the sportswear style capital. Recreational Equipment Inc. (aka REI) and a few others like North Face and Patagonia are within strolling distance, but it’s more of a trek to places like Filson’s Seattle and Eddie Bauer. Gathered under one roof, our outdoorsy look would be a popular draw.

Downtown Food Court. There are vacant and underused spots in Seattle’s downtown that could be retrofitted for a food court that emphasizes the region’s fabled cuisines. I can envision stopping at the Uwajimaya stall for humbow, at Communion for shrimp and grits, at Pho Bac for a steaming bowl and finishing up at Molly Moon’s for a dish of salted caramel.

Indigenous art. Seattle, we must always remind ourselves, was built on native land. We were invited here by Sealth, the Chief who gave us our name. Seattle’s center city needs a native art gallery, a sampling from establishments like Stonington Gallery, Steinbrueck Native Art, Northwest Tribal Art, the Burke Museum and United Indians Native Art.

There probably is no end to possibilities. We know we’ve got a dented downtown; but what this city has always had are great, innovative ideas and people who can make things happen. When candidates for office solicit your vote, be sure to ask how they’re going to make Seattle an exciting place again.

Jean Godden
Jean Godden
Jean Godden wrote columns first for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and late for the Seattle Times. In 2002, she quit to run for City Council where she served for 12 years. Since then she published a book of city stories titled “Citizen Jean.” She is now co-host of The Bridge aired on community station KMGP at 101.1 FM. You can email tips and comments to Jean at jgodden@blarg.net.


  1. Bravo Jean,
    This makes a lot of sense (also the far-outs). I have been fortunate to live in beautiful Montclair, NJ. I say have been, because we are rapidly changing from beauty and charm to city type large blocks of highrises downtown. Our utilities and traffic and parking infrastructures are problematic. We have many sensible citizens here, but lately developers have been winning.

  2. Closing Pine Street didn’t work. That’s why it reopened. We need better traffic flow, not worse. There are too many bus lanes, too many bike lanes, confusing street signage, no place to park. Restaurants are generally not very good, and few in number.

    Parking cost is a serious deterrent downtown. University Village and what was once called Bellevue Square have free parking and greater shopping variety.

    Empty buildings yield empty parking. These stalls should be much cheaper or perhaps free.

    The convention center is a killer. Lost, bored one-time visitors jamming Pike Place alongside their summertime counterparts off the cruise ships. No rest rooms. The tunnel has no downtown access or egress.

    Yes, crime, drugs, fear, sidewalk campers, assaults, guns, civility in short supply.

    Revitalization? Spend more money, dream on. Even worse, the evil First Avenue Streetcar looms.

  3. Granted. Some ideas won’t fly. But having no ideas is even worse.
    Rethinking Pine Street closure can’t be all wrong. The old argument that it made it harder to get to the 3rd Ave garage and connect to the Bon (later Macy’s) is no longer valid. But that’s only one thought. Please entertain others.

  4. Jean Godden’s reference to Danny Westneat and Jon Talton’s writing as comprising “Babbittry” is a colorful and thought-provoking jab, but one that misses its mark. George Babbitt was a character who represented, as I understood him, the dull and narrow-minded nature of America’s early 20th century consumerist society; conformity with convention that suppressed innate human desires for individual freedom.

    When did Seattle’s downtown become an undesirable work, shopping and recreational destination for Seattle’s middle-class “normies”? I’d relate it to the appearance of homeless’ tent encampments, graffiti-covered walls and street signs, open-air drug markets in city parks and street corners, and fewer police patrolling the streets and neighborhoods. And, of course, the clown show that is what the Seattle City Council became over the past decade.

    I like the way ideas popped up like popcorn in Jean’s piece, but have to agree with the previous comment that any “fixes” to downtown need to avoid making traffic flows worse.

    Perhaps ‘boosterism’ requires a touch of Babbittry in the ability to close one’s eyes to the shortcomings of a place, while extolling its virtues, but is that a bad thing?

  5. Jean is spot-on, with the exception of the swipe at Jon Talton. We need dreamers who dream of something besides more “progressive revenue”, more programs enabling addicts, and more regulations on small landlords. Too many of our dreamers have either died (most recently, sculptor Peter Bevis) or been priced out of town (Dick Falkenbury). We need to look at ideas killed (like the closure of Pine Street at Westlake Park) and why they were killed; the reasons may have changed in recent years. Likewise, we need to reexamine all kinds of failed policies, like handing over 3rd Avenue to Metro and junkies, and make changes. Voters showed in the 2021 election that they want change. Exiting City Councilmembers saw the writing on the wall (commonly called “polls”) and, finally, made good decisions. We will have a significantly new Council, and yet the current one lacks significant institutional memory, with the exception of Councilmember Lisa Herbold (yet even with nearly 30 years at City Hall, she led many of the really bad changes). We who do have the institutional memory are not just seeking “the good old days”, but missing strong, ethical, and civic-minded public servants in our elected officials, our businesses and corporations, and our nonprofits.

  6. At the risk of sounding naive and out-of date, I wonder why ‘traffic,’ in and of itself, without details, seems to be a driving factor. What about usable and affordable and safe transit — that goes where people want to go (or will want to go)? It seems to me that making cars and parking the central issue won’t work and that large buses only may not work, either. I occasionally go to Benaroya Hall because I’m lucky to (still) have my choice of two bus routes that work, with some walking required to get to them. The negativity about downtown isn’t helpful, even though the downtown area has problems. It seems easier for leadership in this city to just think in either-or terms or be negative. I don’t have answers, though I think thoughtful leaders and newspaper columnists have roles to play, along with ordinary and concerned citizens.

  7. All of these suggestions start and end with public safety. As long as the streets are teeming with people openly buying, selling and using drugs, people passed out or spinning around screaming, bus shelters taken over by drug addicts, etc., nothing will change. I lived in Seattle proper for 25 years and saw the ups and downs – including a protracted up period in the late 90’s and 2000’s, when downtown attracted tons of new residential developments, stores, and restaurants. It was an exciting time. Then a slow decline in the Twenty-teens (too much aggressive panhandling, increase in open drug use, rise of the encampments), to the roller coaster drop in the 2020’s.

    While I moved out of the city then, I still visit frequently, and walk all over greater downtown (SLU to the CID). Denny Triangle looks and feels pretty normal – people working, people at restaurants, people at shops. Belltown is hit-or-miss. The condo canyon area seems fine, but 2nd, 3rd and 4th are like a TV show about East Coast drug-filled neighborhoods. The former retail core is a disaster. Boarded-up stores, sidewalks blocked by crowds of drug addicts, little to attract anyone – 5th Ave where Banana Republic used to be is a prime example of how bad it is. I’ve walked there many a time when I and the multitude of private security guards are seemingly the only normal people out. The rest of them are drug addicts. Even when Westlake had the holiday light display up and security “ambassadors” watching things, there were people smoking fentanyl right outside the fence. The financial district is at least reasonably clean and orderly in most places, but devoid of life most days. Poor Pioneer Square – this is now our version of the Tenderloin. Hardly any shops or restaurants still open, drug addicts everywhere, boarded-up shops, graffiti. It’s become a sketchy and uninviting area. London Plane is the latest to leave Occidental Park, and there’s almost no reason to visit the neighborhood these days. It’s a sad place.

    What is missing in Seattle:

    1) We have no cheerleaders. No civic leaders that have a vision. Remember in the 90’s, we had both private and civic leaders that had a vision of a greater Seattle – the Harbor Steps, Benaroya Hall, SAM expansion, Pacific Place, Convention Center expansion. There were people from the public and private sectors WORKING TOGETHER. It’s precisely this that laid the groundwork for Seattle to attract major employers to downtown. Former mayor Murray and the council bear the blame for severing ties with the business community and people who wanted to invest in Seattle’s future.

    2) No political willpower to deal with the public drug use and addiction. Everyone wants a ‘compassionate’ response, but surprise, drug addicts don’t care. They largely don’t want treatment, or your housing that you keep offering. They want to do drugs and destroy things. They will steal from you, and trash your neighborhoods, for as long as you let them. Seattle’s so-called compassion is literally allowing people to publicly kill themselves, in the most degrading way possible.

    3) The people of Seattle that keep electing these buffoons. There have been some encouraging steps, I think Harrell gets it and is making some good moves. Seattle chose a city attorney willing to actually do the job instead of a possibly clinically insane person/anarchist. The coming city council elections will say a lot. Is Seattle actually willing to elect people that care about the mundane day-to-day things like potholes, public safety, clean parks, etc? Or keep electing people that want to spend their time issuing non-binding proclamations about things that absolutely do not concern Seattle city government, and who claim to focus on things like “ending racism”. I’m not so sure. People in Seattle seem pretty content to ignore the day-to-day degradation of the city, while electing virtue signalers to parade around like peacocks flashing their high-minded ideals.

    Until the people of Seattle collectively come back to Earth and deal with what is around them, nothing will really change. The “progressive wave” experiment has been a complete failure, and has left the city with huge problems and a $220M budget deficit. Maybe they’ll wake up, but I have little hope.

  8. Pike Place spillover … is the mini farmer’s market in front of city hall gone? (I mean, during the summer when there’d be farm produce.) It has been a couple years, but it looked viable when I was there.

    Among the commenters on one of the Seattle Times articles, was a small business owner who departed from the thematic obsession with law and order to talk about the cost of compliance with all the city’s permitting requirements. Some of that cost may be necessary, but insupportable by a truly small business that already is looking at formidable startup costs, inadequate prior experience with city regulations, not native speaker of English, etc.

    So small businesses gradually give way to big businesses that can send a lawyer and whatever other skills they need. (This will also be an advantage when renting storefront from another big business, who will be reluctant to even talk to someone who doesn’t have a business office.) The effect on the city as an interesting, engaging urban experience should be obvious, as the streets become lined with big business façades.

    Rather than the tax breaks that someone like Talton will be happy to recommend for his big business acquaintances, how about some kind of permit concierge, for small businesses starting up within the downtown area?

  9. How about a PNW version of NYC’s Photoville, held maybe in late summer or early autumn along a designated stretch in downtown? Maybe not far from the Market but not right at it either in a share-the-wealth and spread-the-crowds spirit.

    The Pacific Northwest region has many terrific photographers. It might draw tourists from British Columbia and Oregon as well who could also participate and showcase their work. It might inspire a lot of young people as well with a creative venue to participate in. We live in a new age of photography and storytelling these day.


  10. “I want a bustling place, people-filled streets, great things to gaze at and fun things to do.”

    The “9-5, M-F” office workers were supposed to provide the bustle and the discretionary spending downtown to justify lots of restaurants, shops and attractions. Office workers are a species that kind of went extinct. Without them the entire area from Lake Union through Pioneer Square is struggling and that entire area needs a new mission statement. Apparently office skyscrapers can’t be repurposed easily — I have not heard of success stories upcycling them in other cities.

  11. Repurposing downtown’s excess office space is going to require brainstorming since converting to condos as sometimes suggested is almost as expensive as tearing down and building anew.
    One suggestion I’ve heard is to persuade the UW to open a downtown campus, housing some of its tech classes. More UW biomedical might also set up in South Lake Union.

  12. Before the pandemic and the outmigration of office workers, downtown Seattle had created plenty of problems. Crime, of course, and the high cost of parking. Tourism drives up the prices to that brief, captive market. The cost of babysitting (now $25.24 an average hour, second highest in the land) is another factor discouraging a night on the town. The retail mix is driven by developer and tourism economics and is too generic and oversized. The worst mistake was to greenlight all the office towers rather than developing a residential base. We shot ourselves in the foot.

  13. Hi Jean, You inspired me to write of the downtown Seattle that welcomed my family in the Spring of 1982, when I joined the opening management team of the grand renovation of the Olympic….The Four Seasons Olympic! Sending to your email.
    Your editorial also reminded me of the famous, Keep America Beautiful commercial with the famous crying Native American, which could be filmed in some parts of the metro Seattle area:
    Regards, Victor

  14. The war on cars and parking has not been helpful. The political class that dominates discussions puts the word “equity” in every sentence, yet somehow never stops to think about the class bias in a city that makes it impossible to drive or affordably park. Downtown, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne real estate is some of the most expensive in the city. The people who can afford to live there may be able to easily catch a bus, or take a Lyft to downtown events for $12. For the rest of the city outside the golden circle a trip down town by bus is 1 to 2 hours with up to two transfers. Light Rail actually took away many of the efficient bus routes directly downtown — (I know people whose work commutes are three times as long using Light Rail and they now drive.) A Lyft or Uber, $40-$50 each way. Parking downtown, if you can find a lot in the maze of bike lanes and one-way streets, can easily be $30 for an evening.

    The emphasis on biking, bussing and walking favors the fearless and the young, ignoring generational equity. I know few people over 40, much less in their ’60’s, who will go downtown at night, or who will take the buses at any hour, given the lack of safety on the buses and streets. The one bus that serves my North End neighborhood to downtown requires that I get on and off on Third Avenue. I will only do that now in broad daylight, and in trepidation. Please no more street closures! Eliminate the bus-restricted streets and confusing one-ways. Think, for a moment, not like an Evergreen graduate who still doesn’t have a driver’s license at 35, but like a prospective shopper, arts patron, — or someone in the working or business class trying to make a delivery. You can’t have a thriving downtown of retail and entertainment unless all citizens, including people outside the downtown core, can easily and safely get there.

    Much as the city bureaucracy ignores public safety, it also is afraid, and refuses to re inhabit the city in a normal way. I recently attempted to reach someone at the DCLU for information, and it was impossible. Everything was reduced to automated chat bots online, with no one answering phones, much less returning calls. After I expressed my disappointment to my SCC representative I received a startling letter from the head of DCLU:

    “Ultimately, the decision to maintain the closure of our floors to the public was made by the Facilities and Administrative Services (FAS) department, who manages the Seattle Municipal Tower on behalf of the City. All floors within Seattle Municipal Tower have moved to a more secure system which restricts access to badged employees or those escorted by employees. If you need to meet with a staff member you would need to make an appointment with them and have them meet with you in the lobby of SMT on the 4th floor.”

    Why would anyone have faith in Seattle’s rebirth if the city employees themselves are hiding behind locked doors with security guards or refusing to leave the pajama comforts of work-from-home? Only two City Council people have yet to go downtown to their offices. They need to lead by example.

  15. As a pedestrian I have been struck twice by bicycles downtown on sidewalks. One biker advised me to watch where I was going. I have never been hit by a motor vehicle.

  16. The downtown of yore was great because it was pedestrian scaled and focused. Adding capacity for *more* cars is not the answer (it’s already got the benefit of the best mass transit in the city). Adding capacity for making this a more livable space – literally, housing units – would put eyes on the street, more foot traffic for businesses, more voters to nudge our policymakers in the right direction. It’s time to stop building office towers.

  17. It’s encouraging to see so many comments; that speaks well for the odds of downtown resurgence. Gordon Bowker’s reality-pessimism is not the way to nourish energy and support.

    Re crime and disorder: when United Airlines brought me here to join Westin in 1985, I lived in the Westin for over a month. I shocked my new associates when I pointed out the urban blight of 3rd and Pike/Pine. It was dirty, under-policed, drug and scumbag afflicted then. It could have been cleared up easily back then. Now the decay has metasticized. The lesson, Mayor Harrell, is move quickly to snuff out gathering spots of disorder.

    Later on, I lived at Market Place North, in the townhouse section along Western Ave. Post Alley was charming with its antique (junk) stores inviting browsing and its food offerings. We need to encourage those kind of restaurants and shops that attract the flaneur in all of us.

    Rental rates force those kinds of small businesses out of the area. To attract and hold them will require some form of subsidy from the city or county. Such an idea is heresy to many, but the city and all of us would benefit from their presence; that is what must be sold.

    (Jean, you didn’t mention the new Chamber Music Center at Two Union Square; that is fast becoming one of Seattle’s cultural gems.)

  18. I believe that what you describe as “reality-pessimism” is exactly what is needed to recognize the enormity of what Seattle and other large cities face today. Band-aid solutions, however well-meaning, are expensive, diversionary and ultimately futile.

    Addictive drugs are an international growth industry, supported by multinational pharmaceutical companies, international cartels with unlimited resources, and easy money to be made by middlemen along the way, devolving to individual transactions at Third and Pike or on public transportation.

    The Covid pandemic, in tandem with astonishing advances in technology, have made office buildings largely obsolete. The term “Central Business District” is an anachronism. Home entertainment choices are increasingly comfortable, varied, and economical.

    Our downtown is a Petri dish for these intractable societal forces. Small, walled off by topography, Interstate 5, Athletic stadiums and the Fortress Convention Center, it is left to fester.

    What to do? Wait and see? Spend more money so a few diehards can watch outdoor mime shows while sitting in the rain? I don’t think so. This is change on a massive scale.

    As the great Twentieth Century American philosopher John Belushi put it so well: “Wise up.” Of course he should have taken his own advice.

  19. I second Fletch Waller: it is heartening to see people engaged and passionate about the city. I have felt very lonely in the depth of my worry about the city. My perception is that during pandemic people put blinders on, out of psychic preservation, but also out of a kind of cultural/political hubris. I have many friends who are long-time leftists, and very involved in politics. 100% of their energy has gone towards the national stage. They will spend hours writing postcards to try to win one more Democratic voter in Alabama, but mention the fentanyl death rate in Seattle (tied with Covid) or the number of encampment fires per day (average: 4) and I get a blank stare. It is a relief to see people finally look at what is in front of them.

    I was part of Allied Arts for several years when my design studio was on Western. I miss that group, and the inspiration for change that comes from people, meeting in person, and exchanging ideas. I have tried for two years to see if another long-time organization I shall not name might become a similar space, but have given up. If people were interested I would love to have a Seattle affairs breakfast club. Or, a more formal monthly evening happy hour with speakers and topics. Proposed starter panel discussion: Does Broken Windows Theory Work? (And what does it mean when plywood is the new “window?”)

  20. Best discussion yet on Seattle’s downtown, and a vivid example of a coming chance to actually begging to do something — the city council campaigns and a November election. As a contributor wrote above:
    “Is Seattle actually willing to elect people that care about the mundane day-to-day things like potholes, public safety, clean parks, etc? Or keep electing people that want to spend their time issuing non-binding proclamations about things that absolutely do not concern Seattle city government, and who claim to focus on things like “ending racism”. I’m not so sure.”

    Nor am I, but a chance is coming. Let’s not miss it

    • Revitalizing downtown will require something more enticing than an expanded pedestrian area at Westlake. Revitalization will mean more traffic — think, cars, not simply mass transit depositing pedestrians — and blocking off a section of Pine would likely increase congestion in our already fraught downtown traffic flow, in my opinion.

      Of course, bringing more people downtown will result in more vehicular traffic, but let’s not add to the problem by pedestrianizing major streets: bring ’em in, get ’em to parking’ get ’em out of their cars, walking around and buying stuff.

      My suggestion: First, make 3rd Ave feel safe for all our citizens; then provide assistance to struggling downtown businesses — something more than just PR and ad blitzes, but involving subsidized street cleanup and perhaps tax abatement for downtown businesses.

      Once that is underway, work on a communication campaign to draw in retail customers: maybe game-day specials, “night on the town” specials of dinner and hotel room aimed at suburbanites who want a bit of culture, discount cards for patrons of local downtown eateries and retailers, along with encouraging messaging from City Hall and civic leaders, banging the drum of “Seattle is back”. Or whatever slogan the marketing folks come up with.

      But please, no more handwringing about how things have gone downhill.

      We could start by making Seattle a clean, safe place once again. Scrub off and paint over every last @#$% bit of graffiti from I-5 and downtown buildings, move vagrants off the streets and into alternative housing (whether they like it or not: vagrancy and street camping should no longer be legal or turned a blind eye to), and for heaven’s sake, figure out what it takes to get police out on patrol, on the streets and make them a visible presence in downtown businesses to deter rampant shoplifting.

      Let’s just get on with it.

  21. Rick, you’re right on about 3rd Avenue and safety. But I beg to disagree over the suggested closure of a block of Pine Street. It was done pretty successfully in the past and was only a thorn in the side of those who wanted to park cars in the Bon/Macy’s garage & access the store via the skybridge.

    • Thank you, first of all, for having posted your article which got this discussion started. On the subject of an expanded Westlake park, I am not convinced of the value of pedestrianizing, but you have obviously given more thought to this issue, and I haven’t. I cannot cite any facts or figures to support my opinion. IM rationale is very simple: if our main purpose is to achieve a revitalized downtown, then we must anticipate having more traffic and demand for parking. Blocking off that part of Pine St to vehicular traffic seems (to me, at least) likely to hinder that purpose to some extent.

  22. The thrust of the Godden remarks are solid, but I disagree with a few. The 1980s Pine Street closure was bad for business and transit. Pine Street should not be closed; in contrast, it should have a transit emphasis; Councilmember George Benson had two great concepts. When the DSTT was being designed, he suggested that Pine Street could be transit only; the Roosevelt hotel objected; the couplet with Pike Street was retained. Later, after the Pine Street closure, Benson suggested the Westlake block be reopened for transit only; the Benson compromise passed the Council 5-4 but was vetoed by Mayor Rice and Pine Street was reopened to all traffic and the city subsidized the Pacific Place garage. Today, with the Pike Pine Renaissance, we could have specialization with two one-way PBL on Pike and two-way transit on Pine. Instead, the PPR will provide slow transit on Pike with a 400-foot transfer walk and force westbound cyclists to shift to Pine from Pike via Melrose.
    Seattle will consider the DSA 3rd Avenue vision. The issues of 2019 should not be conflated with the issues of 2023; they are quite different. In 2019, there were too many routes and buses in downtown and on 3rd Avenue; the capacity crisis was the fault of several agencies; Metro and ST were conservative in network design; SDOT was focused on the foolish CCC Streetcar; WSDOT had closed the AWV and the deep bore was not yet open. So, the CBD choked. But in 2023, the sidewalks are not crowded with intending riders but with tents and too much drug and criminal activity. Transit is not to blame. All the issues much be solved simultaneously. Some routes could be shifted to 1st Avenue from 3rd Avenue; we need not have large capital projects (so, software, not hardware). Intending transit riders are better off on two-way streets. With the AWV gone, the blocks west of 1st Avenue have development under way.
    I doubt downtown needs food trucks; they would be competition for the brick and motor restaurants that need customers.


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