Curley: Removing cars from Pike Place Market a step toward car-less Seattle
There has been a recent push, led by Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, to take cars out of Pike Place Market in Seattle and “pedestrian-ize” the area.
“You can tell they don’t want any cars over there at Pike Place because driving on those cobblestones, [it’s] horrible for my car,” KIRO Radio host John Curley said.
The question is whether removing cars would change the energy of the market or impact deliveries, though most agree it would be safer without cars driving through the area.
“How safe it is, is just determined how many people get hit by a car — that’s a pretty easy number to run. And then there are a lot of trucks that have to do all the deliveries, and some people that want to be able to go visit the market might not be able to get in there close enough, I know there’s a lot of good handicapped parking in there to be able to go around,” Curley said.
“It’s just part of it. You’re always sort of crossing there and you look out for the cars that are backing up. They go slow enough through there because you really can’t move very quickly,” he added. “There is not a lot of parking on the right hand side; there’s plenty of commercial parking and stuff. But they want to get rid of the cars through Pike Place Market because, ultimately, to be able to say, ‘I got this done.'”
Co-host Shari Elliker says they made a similar change where she lives in Alexandria, Virginia, along the Potomac River.
“What they did was they took about two blocks and blocked it off to only pedestrians,” she explained, because there were too many people driving down to the river. “Well all it really did was then make it almost impossible — the bottleneck that happens before you get there is worse now. So there are people parked on the side streets along the way.”
“Like you were saying, there’s a rhythm there. There’s a routine to what happens all the time, so people were used to that and when they tried to change it, it wasn’t a good experiment,” she said. “But they can’t move it back now — once it’s done, it’s done.”
Curley says making a space like Pike Place Market pedestrian-only because you want to cut down on accidents is “perfectly fine,” but there are other ways to do that.
“You could slow it down even more, you could [add] speed bumps, whatever, but really are there that many people being hit by cars there at Pike Place Market? I don’t know,” he said. “Seattle is a city that doesn’t want to have any cars anymore so this is one more way to make that all happen.”
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