With the transformation of 23rd and Union already underway, redevelopment is marching down 23rd Ave. Before it comes, community groups are seeking to ensure the redevelopment around 23rd and Jackson keeps a “main street” vibe.
Following a letter writing campaign by neighborhood activists, the City Council’s land use committee voted last week to add the “pedestrian zone” designation to Jackson between 23rd Ave and MLK Way as part of legislation that would expand the zones across the city. The full council is set to make a final vote on the legislation.
Here’s how the city describes what a pedestrian zone does:
- Encourage or preserve pedestrian friendly development in commercial cores.
- Requires specific commercial or institutional uses to be located at the ground floor—
- Uses that cater to pedestrians and are not residential uses
- waives some parking requirements to encourage businesses to locate in the area, recognizing that many customers will use means other than driving to get to the business
- limits driveways across sidewalks along principal pedestrian streets
Neighborhood activists have long sought a pedestrian designation for the section of Jackson, though the real concern lies in the two large shopping plazas, with even larger parking lots, that bookend the 23rd Ave side. It’s there that groups like the Central Area Land Use Review Committee fear new development, if done improperly, could kill the opportunity to create a thriving pedestrian corridor. Continue reading