‘Let’s turn this thing into a party’: Should Pike Place Market become car-free zone?

Dec 28, 2021, 12:45 PM

Cars at Pike Place Market downtown Seattle foot traffic...

Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. (Flickr Creative Commons)

(Flickr Creative Commons)

Pike Place Market in Seattle could very well be free of cars by the end of 2022, as support for making it a pedestrian-only zone continues to grow.

Curley: Removing cars from Pike Place Market a step toward car-less Seattle

Discussing the proposal on Tuesday’s edition of the Gee & Ursula Show, guest host Draze said he is fully supportive.

“I like this idea,” he opined. “Trying to get through there is already a headache. You’re trying to drive through there, there’s people walking, you can’t get half a block without feeling like running over somebody.”

“Let’s just turn this thing into a party,” he continued. “Let’s block off one side all the way down to the other — no cars.”

For host Gee Scott, though, getting rid of cars entirely is something of a double-edged sword, particularly for drivers trying to park downtown.

“After taking the parking away for bike lanes, then we’re going to take away parking down at Pike Place?” Gee posited. “Look, I love the idea of of making it so you can’t drive vehicles down in Pike Place. I think it would be an amazing experience, and it reminds me of what you get to do down on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.”

“But Seattle, how are you going to do all of this stuff?” he asked. “How are you going to take away all the parking spots for all the bike lanes, and then you’re going to do this as well? This is the city of Seattle. This is not a small town.”

The market dates back to August 1907, when years of farmer complaints over price gouging by wholesalers saw eight farmers set up their own market on the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street to sell their produce themselves. Roughly a century ago, the street was opened up to vehicle traffic, and has largely operated that way ever since.

By next year, City Councilmember Andrew Lewis says that returning the market to a car-free area will be a “big priority” for his office.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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