More than 40 people attended the Great City brownbag 2 weeks ago to share ideas for revitalizing Pioneer Square. The brown bag was kicked off by a presentation that shared some of the history of the square, and the future of the square (i.e. revitalization committee results, upcoming events, etc.). The room was broken up into tables of 5 – 7 individuals who were tasked with talking about the neighborhood and brainstorming ideas.
After 45 minutes of robust discussion, we came back together as a group and each table shared what they thought their best ideas were.
How they thought the city could help:
Heavier police presence / more foot patrols
Shelters and Services: Redesign entrances so they look safer, and request that queuing is formed away from the main streets
Connect the streetcar with 1st Ave, the waterfront, first hill, and capitol hill
Get rid of the sinking ship!! Replace with a triangular park opening up vista of Smith Tower from 1st Ave
Bring back the streetcar but in a modernized form (old on outside, new on inside)
More market rate housing (mentioned so many times and in so many different ways)
Internet: Wi-Fi in public parks, get people outside; free internet;
Have a percentage of the stadium money go to the historic district as an impact fee; Get sports fans logically in and out
Waterfront connection — connect with a canal or a natural beach; have a joint marketing + development plan with the International District and waterfront for when viaduct comes down
Streetscaping and activation; add food and music to the more problematic areas where people gather (i.e. corner of 2nd + Yesler)
Street food, mobile vendors, street food, kiosks, street food and more street food! (again, mentioned so many times)
Add an elementary school!
Car-free day – one day to say “no cars in Pioneer Square”
Movable awning so you can utilize arts in the park in bad weather
Have better signage at water taxis and ferries to guide people into the neighborhood; put ads in buses, bus stations, and light rail to tell people what the neighborhood has to offer.
How they thought the neighborhood could help themselves:
Unique alleys: green them up, add music, or add free-wall paint like post alley
More regular programming; Weekday night activation, bring people down midweek
Plan events that will keep day employees in the neighborhood; get them to bring their families down instead of leaving to go to their families
“Out to lunch” (mentioned a lot) – do this more frequently — encourage outdoor seating
Change the perception!!!
More residents with mixed income, need a BALANCE
Do a rebranding campaign — create a focused identity – right now it’s artists, clubbing, football fans, history and lunch crowd
Restaurants stay open later
Discourage panhandling through marketing parking meter program + tie in with the food program (donate at the food kiosks instead of giving money to individuals) [editor's note: or check out Bread of Life's incredible voucher program]
Lots of guided tours – art studios, “kick butt” loft tour, historic buildings, etc.
Farmers Market or P-Patch
PSCA offices should become a centralized location; maybe add an Espresso Cart where people will go, connect to the community
Host a Gamers Dating Convention
Make it a destination
Diversity of retail and commercial space so it appeals to: Families, Students & Seniors
Art School or community extension college – draw people in, change the demographics
And one of the most interesting suggestions from the event:
“Streets of Gold” — have lights shine up through glass in the sidewalks that takes people on a specific path/tour through the neighborhood.
I think that the event was a huge success and the group came up with some really great suggestions. What do you think?