Archive for August, 2010

Get ready for “Thrill the World” again this year!

August 31, 2010  |  Announcement, Event, PI  |  No Comments

Last year’s “Thrill the World” was a huge success, with close to 200 dancers showing up in Occidental Square to participate in Michael Jackson’s thriller dance.

This year will be the 27th anniversary of the “Thriller” video, and groups around the world will again try to break the world record for the largest simultaneous Thriller dance.

Rehearsals started August 15th, but there is still plenty of time to join in:

Sun, Aug 29th – 1:00 – 3:00

Sat, Sept 4th – 2:00 – 4:00

Sat, Sept 11th – 1:30 – 3:30

Sun, Sept 19th – 1:00 – 3:00

Sun, Sept 26th – 1:00 – 3:00

Sun, Oct 3rd – 1:00 – 3:00

Sun, Oct 10th – 1:00 – 3:00

For more information, or to RSVP for the event, go to

Pioneer Square in the News

August 31, 2010  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Back from vacation to sunny Santa Monica… and back to the rain. (sigh) Good thing I love Seattle.


‘Mediterranean Mix': Sensational specialties in Pioneer Square (Seattle Times)
Operated by the owner of the neighboring J&M tavern, Med Mix (as the locals call it) stays open till 3 a.m. daily, serving up heaps of sensational Greek and Middle Eastern food — gyros, kebabs, falafel, spanakopita and more, all swimming in hummus, tzatziki and other yummy sauces.

Emerald City Search medallion found (Seattle Times)
The Emerald City Search ended shortly after midnight Tuesday when the medallion was found by two Seattle residents in its Pioneer Square hiding place. More details coming soon.


The Power of One (Seattle Weekly – Bottomfeeder)
The 120-year-old Merchants Cafe is a hallowed downtown restaurant; the oldest in Seattle, in fact.

Looking for an art walk near you? This map can help (The Big Blog)
Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata unveiled an online tool Thursday that might help you get that out of your system. The online map tracks 13 art walks in Seattle, from Georgetown to Greenwood.

Capitol Hill resident activates community space off Hill with Seattle Square (Capitol Hill Seattle)
A resident of Capitol Hill is playing an important role in making sure the neighborhood survives the changes and thrives. The result is a one of a kind public market that we just might want to emulate back up here on Capitol Hill.

Speaking of supporting other neighborhoods…

August 27, 2010  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

The Chinatown/International District is hosting a night market this Saturday from 6pm – 11pm at Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave South and South King Street).

The evening features local vendors offering shoppers tempting foods, gifts, art and other must have accessories. Shop in the heart of the Chinatown ID; enjoy ongoing entertainment, games and movies at dusk. Experience the sites, the sounds and sizzles of the Night Market.

CID struggles with many of the same problems that Pioneer Square does, so be a good neighbor and stop by their market! (after stopping by ours first, of course)

Is it reasonable to ask for other neighborhoods to support Pioneer Square?

August 27, 2010  |  Fun, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

When a small group of volunteers started planning The Seattle Square market back in January, there was so much support; from the parks department, the neighborhood association (TAPS), DSA, business owners, and residents.

Last Saturday marked the halfway point for the market. I’m still wondering why more people didn’t warn us how crazy this idea was and how, as far as time commitment and stress, it’s pretty much the same as trying to start a new business.

With six Saturdays down, and five to go, we’re left asking ourselves “Why the #$^!^ did we decide to do this again?”

Take a moment and read the following post from a local blog, called “Urban Research”:

Last weekend Michelle & I went down to Pioneer Square to check out the new Seattle Square market that just opened up there. We both loved it and I plan on posting a few photos from it over the next couple days.

These are just a few from around the area though. I hadn’t spent much time in Pioneer Square and I’m not sure why – I guess I had always just associated it with tourists. We both had a lot of fun walking around though. The historic statues, potholes exposing old brick, faded vintage signs, and even the tourists were surprisingly charming.

We kept commenting throughout the meal that it felt as if we’d stepped into another city and were carefree vacationers. I regret not having spent more time in the area before.

There’s no way that I could say it better myself. (and I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that reading that post brings a hint of tears to my eyes)

Slowly, but surely, it seems like more of Pioneer Square has embraced the market as the summer has gone on. We’re seeing more residents sign up as volunteers, businesses that are willing to donate prizes to our different contests, and other residents that spend their Saturday in Occidental, activating and enjoying the park.

One of the kids of a Pioneer Square family (who host our “children’s area” every week)

With all of the neighborhood + city support for the market, there’s a question that still remains for me: Is it possible to revitalize a neighborhood when you have so few residents (not to mention residents that are actually stakeholders).

The actual number of residents in Pioneer Square is so low (estimates range from 1200 – 1800) that even if we wanted to, it feels like we couldn’t activate this neighborhood on our own.

Back in 2009 at the Pioneer Square Revitalization Steering Committee, Donovan Rypkema said that “we need to get Seattle residents to Pioneer Square – it is dreadfully underutilized by the surrounding City.”

But is it reasonable to ask for the support of residents in other neighborhoods?

I had originally drafted a post demanding that those of you who routinely criticize Pioneer Square, actually come down and be a part of revitalization efforts. In a conversation with a coworker, however, he asked me how often I go to other neighborhoods (like Georgetown, Columbia City, Renton, etc.), to support their efforts.

And I don’t. My entire focus has been on what I can do to make my neighborhood better. When I lived in the middle of downtown, I never ventured down to Pioneer Square. But I also never made a concentrated effort to go to neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Belltown, or Fremont, either (unless, of course, there was a specific event that sounded interesting).

So I realize that while I can’t expect Greater Seattle residents to come and support efforts in Pioneer Square, I’m hoping that we can create reasons for some of you to give this neighborhood a try, even if you don’t live or work here.

Because without the help of the rest of Seattle, it seems that Pioneer Square is on a very long road to recovery if it has to do it alone.

What Pioneer Square brings to the City of Seattle
In a recent Crosscut article, Knute Berger stated that the departure of Elliott Bay Book Co seems to have lit a fire under the residents in Pioneer Square. Not only is there the Saturday market, there is also:

  1. urban soccer being played in Occidental Park every Thursday night
  2. a blitz chess tournament coming up this Sunday
  3. talks of a one-day music fest in October
  4. a loft tour in November
  5. a holiday market in December
  6. a vacant storefront activation program that is already under way

And that doesn’t even get into all of the other activities to do here, like the underground tour, the klondike museum, and all of the regular programming that the neighborhood association organizes.

The people that I would love to see coming to the neighborhood are the ones who experience it and then say “I hadn’t spent much time in Pioneer Square and I’m not sure why,” because with all of its faults, maybe they get a glimpse into what the rest of us see every day.

Updated Map of Crimes in Seattle Neighborhoods

August 26, 2010  |  Drugs, PI, Violence  |  No Comments

Last month, the City of Seattle added crime mapping to their “My Neighborhood Map” on

The “crime types” that are broken out on the map include the following;

  • Crimes Against Persons
  • Drugs + Vice
  • Property Crime/Theft
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous (false alarm, disorderly conduct, treaspassing/loitering, etc)

By clicking on a symbol, you can get information on the date and time of the incident, as well as view the police report.

To read the FAQ’s on the site, such as “why are certain types of crimes not shown,” and the ever important “If a report about me is online, can it be removed,” click here.

Incentives + Opportunities to take Transit

August 26, 2010  |  Announcement, PI  |  No Comments

This post goes along with my comments from yesterday about going carless in downtown Seattle. We’re officially on our fourth day and it’s (mostly) been great. In case you’re already a transit lover, or planning to go without a car in the near future, check out the info from Commute Seattle below:

Share the Ride. Track Your Savings.
WIN an iPAD or a TRIP!

Carpool or vanpool at least 2 days/week by September 19th and you could win a luxury getaway or an Apple iPad from!

Log your trips to the tracking calendar in for a minimum of one week during the promotion period (08/09/10 – 09/19/10) and you’ll be eligible to win some fantastic prizes.

Five people will win an Apple iPad or three days, two nights, dining credits for two and a $50 gas card for travel expenses at one of the following luxury hotels.

  • Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria, BC. Includes high tea, and round trip transportation from Seattle
  • Coeur d’Alene Resort, Idaho. Includes a lake view room and $150 dining credit
  • Hotel Pan Pacific, Seattle. Includes $75 dining credit at the SeaStar restaurant
  • Hotel Davenport, Spokane. Includes $50 dining credit and $100 spa credit
  • Hotel Murano, Tacoma. Includes tickets to the Museum of Glass and breakfast for two

PLUS – Each week, one lucky person will WIN $50 just for registering at or running a ridematch during the promotion

Register today and WIN! at, or call 888-814-1300 to get started in a carpool or vanpool.

Commute by Water Taxi to and from West Seattle

Want to get around the traffic delays and detours that will be part of the Spokane Street Viaduct construction? There’s smooth sailing with no traffic jams on the West Seattle Water Taxi!

Seasonal service began Monday, April 5 between Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Pier 50 on the downtown Seattle waterfront. The 2010 season ushered in a new vessel and improvements at Seacrest Dock including a wider, longer gangway to meet accessibility guidelines, new concrete floats, a change in docking orientation, and a new fare structure and policy.

Bus and Shuttle Connections
Two free Metro DART shuttles operate between local neighborhoods and the Water Taxi. Route 773 serves West Seattle Junction. Route 775 serves the Admiral District and Alki Avenue SW. When the Water Taxi is running, you can find schedules for both of these routes on Metro Online.

Join Zipcar’s Low-Car Diet

Zipcar is currently seeking participants for this year’s Low-Car Diet, a challenge in which Seattleites turn over their keys, and Zipcar gives them taste of what low-car living is all about. The Low-Car Diet kicks off on September 24 and ends on October 12.

Interested participants should apply at Be sure to mention Commute Seattle on the application!

Calozzi’s Famous Cheesesteaks moving into Tat’s old location

August 25, 2010  |  Announcement, Business, PI  |  No Comments

It looks like Tat’s Deli may be getting some competition from a business moving into its recently vacated location. About a month ago, Tat’s moved around the corner to a larger shop and extended its hours. A sign has popped up outside of their old location announcing their new tenant: Calazzi’s Famous Cheesesteaks.

According to a recent post in The Slog, Calozzi’s used to be a food cart in Belltown before opening up “Calozzi’s Italian Kitchen,” in the Belltown Billiards. I haven’t talked to the owner yet, but will update you with details when I know more.

As both claim Eastcoast Philly Cheesesteak fame, it sounds like we may need to do a taste-off between Tats and Calozzi’s!

(Thanks @secretsouth!)

Seattle Bike Count Volunteers Needed

August 25, 2010  |  Call to Action, PI  |  No Comments

PubliCola has a post calling for volunteers to help count downtown bicyclists:

The Seattle Department of Transportation needs volunteers for their 2010 citywide and downtown bicycle counts on Sept 15 from 6:30-9:00 am.

SDOT is ramping up its data collection efforts for 2010. Previously, the agency alternated between doing a citywide count and a downtown-only count every other year. They now plan to do a downtown count every year, with citywide counts every other year.

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board Chair Blake Trask says the downtown count is what the city uses to measure progress on its Bicycle Master Plan. “Annual counts will help SDOT better chart the growth of bicycle use and whether or not the city is moving toward its stated goal of tripling the rate of bicycling by 2016,” Trask says.

The increased bike counts will also help SDOT do outreach to the public. Because the agency doesn’t always have hard bike count numbers for roads they plan to redesign (most recently with the 125th St. road diet), it’s hard to quell suspicions that the city is catering to a few cyclists at the expense of everyone else.

Interested volunteers can contact SDOT Bicycle Program Planner Gina Coffman at 206/684-3902 or

I’m going to be posting more about biking in the city because the husband and I just decided to go carless! It’s only been three days, but with all of the transit options and close proximity to stores, Pioneer Square is pretty much the easiest place to be without a car.

I’m in the process of looking for a good woman’s road bike (or cruiser), but I’m cheap, so I’m not sure where to get that in the city (you know.. now that I don’t have a car to drive somewhere to buy one). Anyone know of local bike shops that have inexpensive or used bikes?

You can also join in the current “road diet” debate happening over at PubliCola, or at the Seattle Times, or on the Seattle Transit Blog.

Vegas Style Weddings in Pioneer Square

August 24, 2010  |  Business, News  |  No Comments

If you are looking for non-traditional weddings, mock weddings, commitment ceremonies, or even ceremonies “just because you’re hot” (yes, their ad really says that), look no further.

Pioneer Square is getting its very own “Shotgun Ceremonies” in the former retail location occupied by Synapse206.

Following the motto, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” I’m going to leave you with their website and images from the outside of their new shop (opened on August 16th), and will let you draw your own conclusions.

Website: Shotgun Ceremonies

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

August 24, 2010  |  Announcement, Event, PI  |  No Comments

The Downtown Seattle Association, Seattle Police Department and the American Institute of Architects, will join Mayor Mike McGinn to host a free two-hour seminar on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design at 6:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday, August 25) in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall (600 Fourth Avenue). No advance registration is required.

The seminar will be presented by Art Hushen, of the National Institute of Crime Prevention, who will be in Seattle to teach a class to members of the Seattle Police Department and other city agencies.

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) encourages change in the physical design of buildings, streets and parks to enhance safety in communities and to minimize the opportunities for crime to be committed.

CPTED practices have been used for more than 20 years in cities around the world.  Cities that have implemented CPTED practices have seen a dramatic reduction in crime.  Those cities have also seen significant improvement in their business climate as CPTED principles foster increased pedestrian activity and awareness.