Downtown Seattle back to nearly half of pre-pandemic foot traffic

Jun 15, 2023, 12:32 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2023, 10:32 am

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

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

(Flickr Creative Commons)

Workers are coming back to downtown Seattle according to new numbers released by the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), which shows that downtown is slowly recovering.

In a new update from the DSA, more than half of all workers have returned to the office for at least half of the work week. According to data from Placer.ai, 48% of worker foot traffic returned to downtown in May compared to 2019.

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When compared to total foot traffic, though, the city is most of the way recovered, with 82% of pre-pandemic levels o the number of people visiting the downtown corridor.

The number of occupied apartments has actually increased downtown, with 112% more occupied apartments than before the pandemic.

“We’re excited to welcome thousands of office workers back to downtown, where DSA/MID teams are out every day ensuring a safe and clean city core filled with activity,” DSA President and CEO Jon Scholes said. “Street-level businesses are bustling, and we’ve set the stage for a great summer season of events.”

A survey of Seattle’s likely voters in the 2023 election ranked public safety and downtown revitalization as top priorities, but 65% think that Seattle is going in the wrong direction, and 53% are pessimistic about the future of downtown.

In a survey on MyNorthwest, 50% of respondents said that the downtown corridor has actually gotten worse over the past year.

“Seattle voters overwhelmingly recognize how critical downtown recovery is to both our economy and our quality of life and they are sending a clear message to city hall — and council candidates — that downtown recovery must be a top priority,” said Senior Researcher Andrew Thibault. “Voters have also been clear that for them, addressing public safety — including illegal drug use — is central to downtown recovery.”

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced his Downtown Activation Plan to try and boost the recovery of downtown, saying the city has an “obligation to do more for those suffering from substance use issues and for all neighbors.”

Harrell is working with the DSA to address safety concerns in the neighborhood and bring back events to downtown to further increase foot traffic.

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Downtown Seattle back to nearly half of pre-pandemic foot traffic