Archive for July, 2010

Huge Crowds expected for Seafair Torchlight Parade this Saturday

July 30, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

From SDOT’s On the Move:

(image credit: Seattle PI)

Seafair Torchlight Parade: 7:30 – 11 p.m.
300,000 estimated attendance
Parade route: starts at Fourth Avenue N and Broad Street; south on Fourth to S Washington Street; west on Washington to Second Avenue S; south on Second to King Street; disperses in the north lot of Qwest Field;

No on-street parking will be allowed starting at 8 a.m. to accommodate parade staging on streets around the Seattle Center.  Streets will be closed at 3 p.m. in the staging area on the east side of the Seattle Center.

No on-street parking will be permitted along the parade route and on some adjacent streets beginning at 4 p.m.

The parade route closes from 5:30 to 12 Midnight: Starts at Fourth Avenue N and Broad Street; heads south on Fourth Avenue to S Washington Street; west on Washington to Second Avenue S; south on Second into the north lot of Qwest Field.

Expect heavy congestion in the Downtown area.

Metro buses will be rerouted away from the parade as early as mid-afternoon. A good option is traveling to downtown via the transit tunnel; but  plan your trip home before the last bus or light rail train leaves the tunnel that night.

After the parade is over, there will be a special boarding location, mid-block on Third Avenue between Union and Pike streets, for three Metro routes – the 7, 36 and 124 headed southbound out of downtown .

The West Seattle Water Taxi is a good alternative for people coming from West Seattle; the last return sailing leaves Pier 50 in Seattle at 10:30 p.m. Visit Metro Online at to access the online Trip Planner to figure out the routes that work best for you. Also, check the Alerts Center under “Construction & Events” for information about service disruptions and bus reroutes. Or, call Metro’s Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000 for assistance.

There will be no Sounder train service, but Sound Transit’s Link will run at 10 minute headways till the end of service at 1 a.m.

ArtSparks Program in Occidental Square

July 29, 2010  |  Announcement, Event, Fun, PI  |  1 Comment

I introduced the ArtSparks program a little more than a month ago here, but I also wanted to post the schedule of events so that you don’t miss anything — there are some really great installations this summer, and many of them are integrated into the new Saturday Market in the neighborhood. You can also check out 4culture’s Facebook page for pictures and updates.

June 19- end date TBA: Prismatic Landscape by MiLa
The installation includes strips of mylar-like material, strung on 40lb monofilament line, and suspended from the tree branches. Tree branches will be protected by black surgical tubing.

July 12 – end date TBA: Celebration and Fanfare by Celeste Cooning
Large “paper cutouts” made of Tyvek, strung between two trees and a lamppost at the west side of the plaza. An articulated boom truck will be used to install July 12 and de-install on Aug 9 or some later date.

July 24, August 14 and two weekdays TBDDriving a Sculpture by Sol Hashemi
This piece is a small, mobile “sculpture” made of a sapling strapped to a toy, gas or electric powered, remote-controlled truck. Artist will perform intermittently throughout the day.

[editor’s note: this was absolutely hilarious — I have videos of a kid “walking” the plant, the car/plant just slowly following shoppers, and more. Here’s a photo:

August 2-9 – Teahouse by Christopher Ezzell
Monday thru Saturday 12pm & 5:30pm and possibly also a 7 pm demonstration on First Thursday.
A teahouse (hut) constructed out of metal framing and soda-pop bottles will be placed in the plaza. The artist will carry out tea ceremonies in it, at noon and 5:30 daily. (DJC post)

August 9 to Aug 15 (or later) Accordion panels by Jonelle Johnson
A free-standing, accordion-shaped series of panels will be placed in the plaza.

August 16-22 Clay Lines by Ben Waterman (not happening during Seattle Square)
Artist will lay down lines of clay in various shapes and directions throughout the park, with changing patterns every day. Part of the performance is for the lines to be disturbed.

August 23-Sept 26 – Wind Map by Michelle Arab
Bells of different tones will be hung from the trees and will sound when the breeze blows.

All September weekends, Thursdays through Sundays, 6:00-11:00pmFire Barrel by Britta Johnson (not happening during Seattle Square)
A coin-operated “fire barrel,” like those used by people on the street in some cities to keep warm, will be installed somewhere on the plaza. Artist will either figure out a way to secure it or else remove it each night.

September 8 – 12 (Wed – Sat), Stimulate Dance
Preview Performance Wednesday September 8th Noon-1pm
Performances Thursday September 9th Noon-1pm, Friday September 10th Noon-1pm, Saturday September 11th 1pm-2pm. On the Saturday performance, they will locate the dance floor in the same area as the teahouse and the accordion-panel prints will be placed.

Sept 20 11:30-1:30: Red by Joan Laage
Two pick up trucks loaded with bricks will be driven into the park from the SW alley entrance. Performers will build a wall within a cordoned-off area, audience members will write messages on small pieces of paper that will be inserted in the wall and, at the end of the performance, burned. Performers will then remove all the bricks.

Patent Pending retrospective gallery show

July 28, 2010  |  Announcement, Event, PI  |  No Comments

Patent Pending will have a retrospective poster show at the Design Commission Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Digging deep into the archives, this will be the first time their 11 year body of influential poster work will be seen in its (near) entirety. They are most famous for a lot of the Sub Pop covers in the grunge heydey — and one of their designers is listed as one of the top 100 graphic designers in the world.

Public Opening:
August 5, 2010 – 5 PM – 10 PM
Design Commission
310 S. Washington St.
Seattle, WA 98104

For you out-of-town folks coming to Seattle for Flatstock, this is actually a two-month show so it will be up during Flatstock (Aug 5 – Oct 1). So mark your calendars, book your tickets and tell your friends — you won’t want to miss it. They also hope to do some other “stuff” surrounding the show.

Pioneer Square in the News

July 26, 2010  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Elliott Bay Book Company’s move was a blessing in disguise for Pioneer Square (Crosscut)
The Main Street program is coming to Seattle, and a new move to revitalize the neighborhood puts the onus of success on the Square’s little guys, which some argue is right where it should be.

More police hit street to tame Seattle’s rowdy night scene (Seattle Times)
In an effort to quell the alcohol-fueled violence in Belltown and Pioneer Square, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz announced a plan June 22 to keep more officers on the streets until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through the summer.

Rangers make downtown parks safer, but by how much? (Seattle PI)
New city report says crime and aid calls have fallen in Westlake, Victor Steinbrueck and other parks

‘Incubator,’ a petri dish to grow small businesses (NWCN)
This weekend the non-profit officially opens a “small business incubator” — a store called “Ventures” in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Part boutique, part petri dish, the store is a space where dozens of budding entrepreneurs can grow their businesses by having a place to sell their stuff at no cost to them.

Seattle police shut down Naked Bike Ride (Seattle Times)
A group of about 15 bicyclists in various stages of nakedness rode through Belltown, Pioneer Square, and the Pike/Pine area on Friday night, where they were stopped by Seattle police, according to one of the organizers.


The Line at Tat’s is Ridiculous (The Turkey Sandwich Report)

The Food at the Elliott Bay Books Cafe Cafe is Consistently Excellent (SLOG)
They were out of arugula so I couldn’t have the pear-and-arugula salad. I reluctantly ordered the greek salad—I’ve never had a greek salad that didn’t taste like a cliche—but this thing is amazing. That is all.

Elliott Bay Cafe (The Green Den)
When I was in Seattle recently, I came across a very good example of sustainable business in action. The historic center of Seattle in located in Pioneer Square and tucked away in a little corner is the Elliott Bay Café – which is most commonly linked to the TV series Frasier, great coffee and good food. It can be very easily missed if you don’t actually look for it. Luckily for me, I was.

Bodytonic Pilates, Seattle Wa

Main Street Training for Pioneer Square

July 26, 2010  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

**Update — Just found this great article written by Knute Berger (crosscut) on the new Main Street Program:  Elliott Bay Book Company’s move was a blessing in disguise for Pioneer Square

The Alliance for Pioneer Square is hosting a Main Street Training July 26-29 (this week). This training provides a framework for economic and neighborhood development based upon the rich history and assets of our neighborhood. With so many different groups in the neighborhood, it’s going to take all of us to accomplish great things in the neighborhood. The Main Street program relies on volunteers (including residents, business owners, other interest groups) who are willing to step up and participate in the neighborhood.

DATES – Monday July 26 – Thursday July 29
PLACE – Marriott Courtyard Hotel, Pioneer Square
COST – no-cost for participants

Participants are encouraged to attend 1 or all 7 training sessions, led by National Trust Main Street Center trainers, Lauren Adkins and Joshua Bloom. Both have extensive experience in helping communities become more prosperous and sustainable.

Session Topics & Schedule (4 Topics, 7 Sessions)
Business Development/Economic Restructuring: Redefines the district’s niche in the marketplace and sharpens the competitiveness of existing business, while nurturing new enterprises that respond to today’s consumer’s needs.

Design: Targets infrastructure and building improvements that lay the groundwork for a physical transformation that will be both functional and attractive.

Promotion: Focuses on authentic community assets, with high-quality image development campaigns and events that will attract new shoppers, visitors, and residents.

Organization: Builds a pathway to leadership in local efforts by launching community-based, volunteer-driven nonprofit entities that empower residents and investors to collaborate for sustainable revitalization.

Mon 7/26
1-4pm   Promotion

Tue 7/27
9-noon   Business Development/Economic Restructuring
5:30-8:30pm   Design

Wed 7/28
1-4pm   Design
5:30-8:30pm   Business Development/Economic Restructuring

Thur 7/29
1-4pm   Organization
5:30-8:30pm   Promotion

For more information contact

Is there enough parking in Pioneer Square?

July 23, 2010  |  News, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

SDOT announced this week that they will be adding 20 on-street parking spaces to Pioneer Square. The parking spaces will be in two locations:  on the north side of South Main Street between 1st Avenue South and 2nd Avenue South and on the north side of South Main Street between 4th Avenue South and 5th Avenue South.

Pioneer Square currently has ~700 on-street parking spots, shown in the map below:

(click here to view the full sized pdf)

SDOT’s press release says that the addition of parking is “in response to a recommendation from the recent Pioneer Square Revitalization Project, a city-community partnership, to free up parking spaces for shopping and visitor use.” When I read that, I went to check the report that came from the city-community partnership because I didn’t remember parking being a part of the conversation.

Sure enough, it says that the City will “Effectively Manage Parking Supply and Demand,” which includes reviewing the quantity and location of on-street parking spaces.

But it begs the question — is there enough parking in Pioneer Square and do we need more?

I did some checking (contacting developers, parking garage owners, and even counting open lot spaces in google earth) and came up with the following map of private parking in Pioneer Square:

(click the map or here to view the larger PDF version)

I was shocked when I tallied the number of parking spots:

5,233 private
700 on-street
20 new on-street

Ever since we moved into the neighborhood, I’ve wanted to count and map out the parking, but have been reticent to do the leg work for it. When I finally started to research this, I never thought that we would be close to 6,000 parking spots in our small neighborhood. But is it enough?

There seems to be a perception that parking is hard to come by in Pioneer Square. Peter Aaron, the owner of Elliott Bay Book Co, has stated multiple times that parking was one of the reasons that they had poor sales. Commenters on Pioneer Square articles frequently mention a parking problem.

Pioneer Square has worked to change the misperception of parking, including offering free parking at First Thursday with a Parking for Peanuts program. The new Saturday Market partnered with Diamond Parking to offer free parking to vendors, as well as with the Merrill Place Parking Garage to provide free parking for market volunteers, and shoppers. It seems to be successful, with the parking garage being utilized at every event.

Mayor McGinn’s proposal to increase the parking tax and to add a $20 car tab fee has been controversial, and people are beginning to question if such actions will hurt downtown Seattle and possibly lead to more people and businesses to Bellevue (where, for example, you can find free parking at Bellevue Square and many other businesses).

But if you look at just the Pioneer Square neighborhood, it really is  “one of the city’s most accessible neighborhoods.” (link) If you look on the private parking map above, you can see all of the different transit methods individuals can use to get to the neighborhood — Pioneer Square has light rail, the bus tunnel (in the free bus zone), many bus lines, the West Seattle water taxi, ferries, a connection to the waterfront (including the free Waterfront “Streetcar” Bus) and is within biking and walking distance to other downtown neighborhoods. Not to mention that it will soon be services by the First Hill Streetcar.

So I would question those of you who live, work, or visit Pioneer Square — is it that we don’t have enough parking spaces, that people want free (or cheap) parking spaces and can’t find them, or is it that not enough people are utilizing public transit?

Favorites from the Seattle Square Photo Booth Contest

July 21, 2010  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

During the Seattle Square market last Saturday, there was a Facebook photo booth set up that had different costumes that people could try on. The result is a humorous group of photos of market attendees, vendors, and volunteers. Once the individuals tag themselves in the photos, they will be eligible for a prize every week (announced the Friday following the market) — this week, the prize happens to be a $50 gift certificate to FX McRory’s (!).

So if you haven’t done so already, go tag your photos! And if you weren’t at the market this last Saturday, hopefully we’ll see you this Saturday or sometime before September 25th.

You can go to the Facebook Page to see all 99 photos, but here are some of my favorites:

And last but not least, my very favorite photo booth feature from the market:

Ventures Grand Opening Party this Saturday

July 21, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

From Greater Seattle on the Cheap:

Join us for Ventures Grand Opening Day Party! Ventures officially opened for business on June 1st, and the buzz is beginning to build! If you haven’t yet heard about Ventures, it’s Washington CASH’s gorgeous new retail store that gives local entrepreneurs a chance to directly sell their products and services in the marketplace. The store features the works of over 40 Washington CASH clients, ranging from one-of-a-kind jewelry to Native American wood carvings.

Celebrate with us at our day-long Grand Opening event on Saturday, July 24th from 11 am – 5 pm. Bring your family and friends, and enjoy the face painting, coffee tastings, and other exciting activities planned for Grand Opening Day!

Ventures is located at 314 1st Avenue South, in Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104. Tel. 206-508-1342

Ice Cream Social (Fundraiser) this Thursday

July 20, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Ice Cream Social!

Just in case you’re having trouble seeing the image above, here’s the information:

WHAT: Join us for a day-long gala to raise support for hungry children + families. Satisfy your taste buds with great treats of local ice cream and gelato:

WHEN: Thursday, July 22nd

11am – 2pm
Ice Cream Social – lunch on ice cream in the Globe Building + Elliott Bay Cafe
Ice Cream Alley – watch the final mountain stage of the Tour de France in HD in Nord Alley

5pm – 7pm
Pre-Mariner’s Game Ice Cream Social! Join friends, neighbors and fellow Mariners fans in the Globe Building to sample a variety of local ice creams

WHERE: Corner of 1st + Main in Pioneer Square (Globe Building + Nord Alley)

All proceeds go to

Pioneer Square in the News

July 19, 2010  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Market hopes to reinvigorate area (Seattle Times)
Shannon Carney of Seattle looks through screen-printed patches at Kitchen Ink during the first day of Seattle Square, Pioneer Square’s new outdoor market. Between 1,200 and 1,500 people came throughout the day, organizers said.

Pioneer Square supporters debuting outdoor market Saturday (Seattle Times)
The latest wave of reformers in Pioneer Square will debut a Saturday market this weekend that’s meant to bring more visitors to a neighborhood they say is misunderstood. Called Seattle Square, the market will include a couple dozen vendors of crafts, housewares, clothing and furniture, along with a handful of food trucks and disc jockeys spinning music from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Storefront art project aims to revitalize Seattle (King5 News)
The Storefront Project is accepting applications from artists to decorate empty storefront windows and occupy empty retail spaces in Pioneer Square and the International District.

King Street Station work unveils hidden beauties (Seattle Times)
Hanging wires show where 1,600 tiles were suspended in a false ceiling that was removed recently, revealing the original, ornate plaster in the waiting room at King Street Station. The city is renovating the station, built in 1906.

Seattle store helps low-income entrepreneurs launch businesses (MyNorthwest)
At first glance, Ventures simply looks like a nice boutique, tucked into Seattle’s Pioneer Square. You’ll find unique jewelry there, as well as handmade garments, artwork and specialty foods. But the Seattle store also serves to help low-income entrepreneurs launch their own businesses.

Accused attacker of homeless man pleads not guilty (KOMO News)
One of three men accused in a brutal beating of a homeless man in Pioneer Square pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Free fun during the Seattle summer (Seattle Times)
Seattle is known for its outdoor markets, notably the ones in Ballard, Fremont and the University District. But a new one just cropped up at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, featuring locally designed clothing, vintage wares, housewares, mobile food and DJ music.

Pioneer Snare: Occidental Park’s Summer Music Series (Stranger’s – Line Out)
DJ James Grindle has organized a weekly series of DJ and live sets called Music In Seattle Square; it starts July 17 and will run every Saturday through Sept. 25 in Pioneer Square’s Occidental Park.

Hidden challenges of Highway 99 tunnel (Seattle Times)
For the past year, “overruns” has been a buzzword in Seattle politics because of worries about the cost of the tunnel to replace the Highway 99 viaduct. Worldwide, tunneling projects routinely come in about a third over estimates. Will Seattle’s? The answers mostly wait underground.


Another Cutie Pie in the City (Captured by Emi)
Pioneer Square Photoshoot of a… wedding party? engaged couple? Nope, an adorable little girl.

Beer Blotter: Delicatus. (Beer Blotter, Seattle PI)
If you are walking through Pioneer Square and you spot that sign…go in and eat…no matter what.

Elliott Bay bookstore owner: ‘We were dying in Pioneer Square’ (Big Blog)
The Elliott Bay Book Co. was troubled one year ago. So troubled that owner Peter Aaron thought he’d have to close its doors for good. Now, his thoughts are a little different. He’s thinking the store will be OK.

Two downtown markets debut this week (Big Blog)
Olympic Sculpture Park (Thursdays through Sept 9) + Seattle Square Market (Saturdays through Sept 25)

Hopefully a Reason to Visit Pioneer Square (SLOG)
No, it’s not a huge cash injection or a bunch of growth initiatives, but you have to start somewhere: Starting July 17th, Pioneer Square will be hosting an outdoor market on Saturday afternoons.

Police May Have Nabbed Prolific Downtown Taggers (Seattle Crime)
Seattle police say they have arrested three people believed to be connected to a prolific graffiti group, which has plastered the tag “Zeb” all over numerous buildings in Downtown Seattle, Belltown, and Pioneer Square over the last few weeks.