Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Results Are In. Respondents Want Retail Areas on 35th Ave NE Designated as Pedestrian Zones.

(19) & (20) are proposed Pedestrian Zones
along 35th Ave NE.
As we wrote about earlier, the City of Seattle is considering designating retail areas within existing commercial areas as "Pedestrian Zones."  Earlier this year, 902 respondents completed a survey hosted by the City to collect data on whether or not these areas should be designated as Pedestrian Zones. Of those that responded to the citywide survey for 61 different potential pedestrian zones, 14% of the responses were for the Wedgwood-North area and 6% of the responses were for the Wedgwood-South area.  When these respondents were asked, "Should this ("Wedgwood - North" and "Wedgwood - South") area be designated as pedestrian zone," the results were:

Wedgwood - North 
Yes = 70%
No = 9%
Unsure = 20%

Wedgwood - South 
Yes = 69%
No = 17%
Unsure = 15%

This designation would include adopting rules that would only apply to those parcels within the Pedestrian Zone which would be enforced as those properties redevelop. The City has posted draft rules, intended to create a safer and more inviting pedestrian retail environment within the Pedestrian Zones, which include:

  • Require buildings to have pedestrian-oriented businesses (e.g., shops and restaurants on the ground floor)
  • Enhance pedestrian safety with rules on parking and driveway placement
  • Waive some parking requirements to encourage businesses to move into the area
The City is also considering rules that would:
  • Require overhead weather protection for new buildings
  • Limit businesses with drive-in lanes on the edges of  pedestrian zones.
  • Establish a minimum size for new development in areas designated as "Urban Centers, "Urban Villages" or "Station Overlay Districts" (Note: 35th Ave NE is not designated as such.)
No decision has been made by the City as the survey and its results are still only part of the public engagement process.  Over next couple of months, the City will be finalizing its analysis and recommendations.  But if the majority of those who responded to the Wedgwood - North and Wedgwood - South areas have anything to say, they may be designated in the future.

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